More and more, members of Israel's ruling parties are matching their public statements to the reality they are implementing every minute on the ground: Israel's opposition to the establishment of a viable Palestinian state and a negotiated two-state solution to the conflict. Economy Minister and Jewish Home Chairman Naftali Bennett is the latest MK to join a robust list of Israeli government coalition members who have publicly stated that the two-state solution is dead and that the notion of a Palestinian state is a thing of the past. Although it's no new position for him, Bennett is making it clear that no…Read More... | 11 Comments
Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Ofir Akunis took Netanyahu's position that settlement construction is not an impediment to a negotiated solution with the Palestinians to a whole new level. According to a report in Haaretz Tuesday: ... [Akunis asserted] that past experience has shown that a halt to construction has only driven the Palestinians away from negotiating with Israel. "The Likud policy is very consistent. Our call to the Palestinians to enter into direct peace negotiations without precondition is in effect," he said. (Emphasis mine) Akunis, the same Likud lawmaker who in the last Knesset proposed a bill to limit all foreign…Read More... | 14 Comments
What will the third Netanyahu government look like, and how will it deal with the Palestinian issue?
Netanyahu would like to include some centrist elements in his government in order to present a more moderate face to the world. However, any meaningful effort to end the occupation is not very likely. The Israeli post-election routine is under way, and tomorrow (Saturday) night, President Shimon Peres will officially ask Benjamin Netanyahu to try and form a new government. Netanyahu will have 28 days for his coalitions talks (which are already underway), and he may ask for an extension of 14 days. While I do not have high hopes from the new government regarding the Palestinian issue, it is enough…Read More... | 9 Comments
If Yair Lapid's party takes over the Education Ministry, it could bring an end to the Greater-Israelization of the country's schools and universities. After 45 years of occupation and no end in sight, it would be better for Israel to have a completely right-wing/ultra-Orthodox government than a right-wing/centrist one with Yair Lapid, Kadima and possible other fig leaves. A purely hardline government would attract more opposition, especially abroad, while a right/center amalgam will fool a lot of people into thinking things aren't so bad. In short, a Bibi/Lapid government is more beneficial to the occupation than a Bibi/Yishai government -…Read More... | 13 Comments
The counting of the votes has ended, and we now have the official results for the 2013 Knesset elections. In the last 24 hours Naftali Bennett’s Jewish Home party has won one more seat at the expense of the United Arab List. The rest of the map is unchanged. Here are the full results: Likud Beitenu 31; Jewish Home 12, Shas 11; United Torah Judaism 7; Yesh Atid (Yair Lapid) 19, Kadima 2, Hatnuah (Livni) 6; Labor 15; Meretz 6. Hadash 4; United Arab List 4; Balad 3 Notable changes from the previous elections: Jewish Home, associated with the settlers,…Read More... | 6 Comments
Netanyahu is most likely to form his next government around the religious and the secular middle class, represented by election victors Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid. The coalition will concentrate on domestic reform and will only strengthen the status quo on the Palestinian issue. Also: Did Israelis really move left? Seven takeaways from the elections. 1. The future government At the time of writing, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s base of Orthodox and right-wing parties has 60 Knesset seats – the same as the potential opposition. Estimates are that the Jewish Home party will finish with another seat at the expense…Read More... | 22 Comments
With almost all the votes counted, it is clear that support for the prime minister's party has collapsed, journalist Yair Lapid has led his new centrist party to second place and Meretz has doubled its strength. With roughly 98 percent of the votes cast in the Israel's elections counted, Netanyahu’s Right-Orthodox bloc appears to have captured 61 seats out of the Knesset’s 120 (as opposed to 65 in the current Knesset). The prime minister's joint ticket with Avigdor Lieberman’s faction – called Likud-Beitenu – has 31 seats, as opposed to the 42 the two parties together hold in the current…Read More... | 16 Comments
Bibi will be the lamest of ducks in his next and last term as PM. Hold the applause, though – what's rising up to take his place is worse. If, as expected tomorrow, Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu gets in the low-30s in Knesset seats, this election will mark the beginning of the post-Netanyahu era. Bibi will remain as prime minister as long as the new government survives, but he will be a lame duck, helpless to rein in the demagoguery and wild initiatives of the quasi- and not-so-quasi-fascists in his coalition. He will watch the chasm widen between Israel and the West, Israel…Read More... | 55 Comments
Recent attempts to form an 'anti-Bibi' bloc among the centrist parties may very well drive right-wing voters back to the prime minister's hands. One outcome of the unusually short election cycle that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu imposed on the Israeli political system – in an attempt to prevent any serious challenge to his position – is the rapid developments and changes we have been witnessing in the last few weeks. I will deal with some of those issues in this round up, but it is important to note first that nothing too major has actually happened: our poll tracker, which…Read More... | 10 Comments
It's an extreme long shot. Probably impossible. But Tzipi Livni's comeback may be the only way left to change the balance between the blocs, especially if she and Labor’s Shelly Yachimovich distance themselves from each other A few thoughts on Tzipi Livni’s comeback, announced yesterday. This move, mocked by everyone all over the map, is actually the only chance the Left has. A Hail Mary of sorts. Right now, and judging by the Haaretz poll published today, it’s a move destined to fail. The gloomy data even says the left-wing bloc is actually shrinking more, and that Livni “only” grabs…Read More... | 20 Comments
Knesset members behind attacks on the left, Arabs and asylum seekers won the day at the Likud primaries. All moderates but one were pushed down the list, and probably won't serve in the next Knesset. The Likud, Israel's ruling party the last four years, and the one expected to win the next elections according to every poll I have seen since 2009 (!), held its primaries on Sunday and Monday. The outcome was somewhat expected but is still stunning, and more than anything, it reveals the deep change Israel is going through. The top of the ticket will be held…Read More... | 32 Comments
Jewish nationalism, in its belligerence and paranoia, is watching the world pass it by - and the overwhelming majority of Jews in America, Israel and elsewhere do not want that to happen to them. The split between humanistic Judaism and nationalistic Judaism goes back a very long time, but in recent years, the complete takeover of both Israel and the Republican Party by nationalist radicals has obviously sharpened that split, nearly creating schism within Judaism. (By "Judaism," I don't mean just the religion but all of Jewish civilization.) Every Israeli election is a battle between these two opposing Jewish camps,…Read More... | 13 Comments
As Israeli elections approach, are you considering voting for a party you don’t really like, merely to prevent Bibi-Lieberman from winning? Here is a piece from a friend active with the Da’am Workers Party on the importance of voting not just for the lesser evil, but for a party that offers a real alternative to exclusive nationalism and unbridled capitalism. By Yonatan Preminger By tactical voting to block the worst candidate, Israel’s left wing perpetuates the status quo. In order to enter the Knesset, a political party must garner a minimum percentage of votes (currently 2%), but our reluctance to support…Read More... | 7 Comments
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Last Metro to Taksim
Yuval Ben-Ami reports from Istanbul.
Reports, maps, infographics and other documents on human rights and democracy.
Children under occupation
The effects of occupation on minors.
On the challenges facing a growing population of asylum seekers and refugees in Israel.
A series of striking infographics.
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