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  • Likud minister: Drowning of migrants justifies Israeli policy

    Just one day after 950 asylum seekers drown on their way to Italy, Israel's transportation minister praises the government for preventing migrants from entering the country. Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) sees lessons for Israeli policy in the tragic massacre of 700 asylum seekers who drowned when their vessel capsized on Sunday in the Mediterranean Sea. Posting a photo showing rows of corpses brought to shore by rescue workers, Katz wrote the following caption, which is translated here from Hebrew: "Hundreds of migrants from Africa drowned to death close to Italy in a disaster that horrified all human beings. Europe is…

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  • It's time for a one-state solution

    There is no use convincing the Jewish public to support the two-state solution, especially when over 500,000 settlers live beyond the Green Line and there is no guarantee that a Palestinian state will not be the source of terror against Israelis. The only way forward is to grant full equality to all. By Yonatan Amir Every time I say that the two-state solution is no longer realistic, and that we need to think about new approaches to solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, center-left voters respond with anger, condescension and pity. They claim that this is a far-fetched idea, not to mention…

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  • The one thing that could have defeated Netanyahu — hope

    There was a sense of misplaced joy on some parts of the Israeli Left as Netanyahu's carefully crafted messaging began to unravel in the days leading up to elections. Finally, the world would see his true colors. But the same thing that keeps Netanyahu in power is the same thing that perpetuates the occupation: lack of an alternative vision. It would have been pretty tempting to write a headline along the lines of, “Netanyahu rules out two-state solution, Israel votes for him anyway.” But that would have been silly. First off, Benjamin Netanyahu didn’t support the two-state solution when he…

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  • What now, Bibi? — Early election takeaways

    Netanyahu picked a fight with a sitting U.S. president and declared there will never be a Palestinian State. It might have helped him squeeze out another election victory, but where is Israel heading? The Likud and Labor (The Zionist Camp) are tied with 27 seats, but Benjamin Netanyahu has way more paths to bring together the 61 seats necessary for forming a government, and another term for himself. That’s the bottom line of the exit polls published by the Israeli TV channels as the polling stations closed on Tuesday night. Netanyahu and his party members are celebrating, and Bibi is…

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  • [Updated] Netanyahu soars ahead of Zionist Camp

    Netanyahu has best chances to form a government but President Rivlin says will work for a unity government. (Updated below with 90% of votes counted.) Update (4:30 a.m. local, 10 p.m. EST): The following is the expected distribution of seats with over 90 percent of votes counted as calculated by Nehamia Gershuni, who runs independent polling site Project 61: ±93% of real results. 04:21 pic.twitter.com/JTa5ui4PwK — Nehemia Gershuni A. (@Nehemia_G) March 18, 2015   *** Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and challenger Isaac Herzog came out tied with 27 seats out of 120 in the first exit polls in Israeli elections on…

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  • How the 'selfie campaign' failed Israeli voters

    Digital media has dictated the agenda of this election campaign. The parties flooded the web with funny videos, hoping to go viral. Media strategists know how to make their audience laugh, but they failed to establish a meaningful discourse with the electorate. By Angela Gruber Noy Alooshe is a sought-after man these days. His Youtube remixes mash up short bits of politicians' speeches with catchy beats, creating viral music videos that make sport of the featured candidates, crossing all party lines. But instead of hating Alooshe for mocking them, he has politicians calling him up after their speeches, suggesting sound…

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  • Election preview: Netanyahu's moment of truth

    The Israeli prime minister called elections hoping to strengthen his coalition, but he underestimated the personal resentment many Israelis feel toward him. One shouldn't, however, confuse the fierce competition for power with a battle over ideas: even if Labor wins, the end of the occupation is not around the corner. When Benjamin Netanyahu decided to fire Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and send Israelis to the polls for the second time in a little over two years, many people (myself included) defined these elections as “a referendum on Netanyahu.” Final results will only be in on…

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  • [VID] The Bibi circus rolls into town

    'Anyone who isn't jumping is a leftie,' chant the settler youths at a right-wing election rally in Tel Aviv, the site of a larger anti-Netanyahu rally a week earlier. Netanyahu the ringmaster is in control of his audience, and the rally itself has the quality of a victory parade. Text by Natasha Roth Video by Camilla Schick They came, they saw, they cheered. Around Rabin Square Sunday evening, the streets of Tel Aviv were unrecognizable: thousands of settlers, hilltop youth and national-religious had come from across the country (and from over the Green Line) in order to attend a right-wing rally…

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  • The paranoid ramblings of a leader who's lost his grip

    Days before national elections, incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lays out an elaborate plot to unseat him, which he claims is being run by foreign liberals who want peace. 'They’ll withdraw to the 1967 boundaries and they will divide Jerusalem — just as Tzipi and Buji promised they would do. They know that unlike Tzipi and Buji, the Likud and I will never surrender to pressure,' Netanyahu writes in a long Facebook status. Benjamin Netanyahu's recent Facebook status, posted on Friday in Hebrew, is distinctly odd. It makes him sound like a rambling paranoid who's off his meds, and local reporters have…

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  • Final polls show Zionist Camp with biggest lead yet

    Herzog and Livni may have the upper hand over Netanyahu, but even if they win the election, they won't have an easy time putting together a coalition. The latest election polls published Friday show Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni's Zionist Camp leading Prime Minister Netanyahu's Likud party by four seats. According to Project61, an independent polling project that aggregates and attempts to correct biases in the major pre-election surveys, the Zionist Camp is currently polling at 24 seats as opposed to Netanyahu's 20 seats. According to Israeli election law, polls are not allowed to be published after Friday. While the polls…

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  • Behind election lurks Israel's ethnic divide

    The use of racially loaded code words at an anti-Netanyahu rally highlights the inter-Jewish racism that has plagued Israeli society and politics since day one. A look at the correlation between ethnic background and voting patterns. The anti-Netanyahu rally in Tel Aviv Saturday night was meant to be a high point of the campaign to oust Israel's prime minister in next week’s general elections — a last hoorah before a triumphant storming of the polls. But as such events go, it left a lot to be desired. The turnout was unimpressive, the speakers predictable, and the mood, attendees reported after the event,…

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  • Poll: Israelis don't believe either candidate will make peace

    Six days before Israelis head to the polls, Prime Minister Netanyahu and his challengers, Herzog-Livni, are closer than ever. According to a new survey, most Israelis support a continued peace process, but don't think it will succeed — regardless of who is at the helm. The past two-and-a-half months of campaigning leading up to next week's elections have been cast as a choice between “us and them,” between the stability of an incumbent and the change offered by his challenger. While the latest polls show Israelis almost evenly split — both among so-called Left and Right blocs, but also among…

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  • Does Herzog have a chance at unseating Netanyahu?

    While Herzog’s chances appear to be higher than they have been for most of the campaign season, he still faces an uphill battle to unseat Netanyahu in an election almost entirely devoid of debate on the issues. For one of the first times in the current election campaign, the centrist "Zionist Camp" actually has a chance of ousting incumbent prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. In Israel’s parliamentary system, the premiership is held by the Knesset member who is able to form a coalition around him or herself. Almost no single party has been able to form a government without a coalition…

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