At least two new parties could enter the next Knesset, but polls show that the most important figure - the split between the two major blocs - is surprisingly static. It's official: The coalition has decided to call early elections, which are to take place on September 4, 2012. The final confirmation of the date is expected next week, once the Likud's bill on early elections acquires the necessary Knesset votes. Benjamin Netanyahu enjoyed a rather stable coalition, yet the government expected major hurdles in the coming Knesset session – most notably, the need to come up with a new…Read More... | 38 Comments
The Israeli government is looking for ways to avoid evacuating a settlement built on private Palestinian land. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has until the end of the month to try and solve the political crisis over the evacuation of Ulpana Hill, a neighborhood built on private Palestinian land in the settlement of Beit El. Netanyahu has made it clear that he will do everything in his power to keep the settlers on site (though he didn't rule out moving them to a nearby hill, to which there is no private claim). The Supreme Court ordered the evacuation of Ulpana Hill several…Read More... | 11 Comments
"The Crisis of Zionism," appears to be a book about politics, history and ideology, but in fact it is a research into identity; the identity of a community and the identity of the author. It is a book about the construction, the de-construction and the effort to reconstruct an identity; it sheds light on forgotten historical political facts, while leaving out others; it invents a new narrative, but is by no means false, since such is the nature of all identity projects. In his groundbreaking work, "Imagined Communities," Benedict Andersen quotes French author Ernest Renan: "The essence of a nation…Read More... | 21 Comments
UPDATE (Wednesday, 1:45 p.m. local): The Hebron police and the IDF evacuated this morning a house in Palestinian Hebron that had been occupied by Jewish settlers since last Thursday. The evacuation was preceded by a political back-and forth between government officials on the issue. Leading Likud members, including deputy Prime Minister Moshe Ya'alon have accused Defense Minister Barak of not respecting government policy. Some Likud members demanded that Prime Minister Netanyahu stop the evacuation. Earlier today, security sources told Israeli media that the evacuation would take place only after Passover. Around noon the army made the settlers leave the house, located near the Cave of…Read More... | 23 Comments
The Knesset committee in charge of organizing the torch-lighting ceremony for Independence Day has come up with this year's list of participants--and it doesn't include any Arabs. While Knesset members criticized the exclusion of minorities, the move reflects reality of life in Israel. According to Ynet, a Knesset committee's exclusion of Palestinian citizens of the state from the torch-lighting ceremony that takes place on Jerusalem's Har Herzl and marks Israel's independence drew sharp criticism from a number of Knesset members. Reuven Rivlin, Speaker of the Knesset and a member of the Likud party, remarked: In Israel, there are groups that…Read More... | 11 Comments
Signs that the ultra-Orthodox Shas party might return to its dovishness of the 1990s could mean a moderate partner in a right-wing coalition. A left-wing coalition is possible only if Arab parties are finally brought in. By Daniel Easterman A few weeks ago, listeners of the popular Kol Rega radio station heard the startling revelation that Shas Knesset Member and Deputy Speaker of the Knesset, Yitzhak Vaknin, would support a peace agreement based on the 2003 Geneva Accords. Can this be? After all, the non-official Geneva Accords, signed nine years ago by Yossi Beilin and his Palestinian counterpart, Yasser Abed-Rabbo,…Read More... | 9 Comments
I have a piece on Foreign Policy's Middle East Channel on the next elections in Israel, scheduled for the end of 2013 but more likely to take place in the coming year. The bottom line: Of all the major parties, none is expected to run in the next elections under a peace platform. Labor's new leader, the ex-journalist Shelly Yachimovich, prefers to concentrate on the economy and distribution of wealth. In a recent interview she even spoke of her sympathy to the settlement movement. In Kadima, the hawkish Shaul Mofaz is considered the front-runner in the coming primaries against current party…Read More... | 19 Comments
American Jewish liberals who use it do so in bad faith, and what they mean by the term is not what Americans hear Even though the term "Israel-Firster," taken literally, is a fair, accurate description of any number of American Jews - those whose main concern in American politics is its effect on Israel - it shouldn't be used. There are a couple of reasons why. For one, when American liberals, almost always Jews themselves, use it to slam American Jewish Likud types, they're using the term in bad faith. They're not honestly bothered by Americans whose chief political interest is the welfare of another country; neither Ireland-Firsters, nor Mexico-Firsters, nor Southern-Sudan-Firsters, nor Palestine-Firsters upset them, and neither do Israel-Firsters. They're…Read More... | 52 Comments
Yair Lapid left his position in Channel 2 News and announced his intention to enter politics. He is likely to split the secular vote in a way that won't allow anyone but the Likud to form the next government One of the questions that has dominated the political landscape in Israel in the last couple of years received an (almost) definite answer this week, when the most popular journalist in Israel, Yair Lapid, resigned from his post as Channel 2's Friday evening anchorman in order to enter politics. If he had it his way, Lapid would have waited for new…Read More... | 7 Comments
One would be hard-pressed to name a dull year in the history of the Middle East, and 2011 was no exception. It shares its beginnings with a domino effect of popular protest, sparked in Tunisia, which would ultimately see the fall of regimes whose iron fists had been decades-old fixtures. Even Israelis suddenly seemed to share grievances with their neighbors, with hundreds of thousands joining the largest protest movement in the country’s history. But the hopes voiced in the streets of the world have been matched by crackdowns – notably in Syria, to this day – and diplomatic deterioration. Europe…Read More... | 2 Comments
We are now marking three years since the day the centrist Kadima party, with the cheerleading of the left-wing Labor party, embarked on a murderous and completely unnecessary war in Gaza, which saw nearly 1,500 people killed. Some 18 months earlier the same liberal parties went to a similarly unnecessary war in Lebanon, which saw nearly 1,300 people killed. In-between the two wars, the two parties engaged in every kind of political debauchery, including smaller incursions into Palestinian Territories, extrajudicial executions, artillery and aerial bombings, spectacular corruption and rampant settlement construction, all the while enjoying the international aura of a…Read More... | 8 Comments
"We don't have to be more liberal than Europe," says Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. Believe it or not, Bibi wants to prohibit mosques from using loudspeakers to broadcast the muezzin's daily calls to prayer - which, as everyone knows, is the identifying sound of the Middle East, where Israel reportedly is located. According to Haaretz, Netanyahu told Likud cabinet ministers on Sunday: The same problem exists in all European countries, and they know how to deal with it... Such a ban "is legitimate in Belgium; it's legitimate in France, why isn't it legitimate here? We don't need to be more liberal than Europe." He said he'd received "numerous requests from people who are…Read More... | 29 Comments
Latest blow: Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein tells Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu he won’t defend anti-NGO bills in Supreme Court. In all the (well-placed) wailing over the totalitarian legislation being pushed in the Knesset by the Likud and Yisrael Beitenu, the good guys don’t seem to have noticed that all their wailing has had a tremendous effect. I’m almost afraid to say it, but the Left, together with its centrist and old “Jabotinskyan” Likud allies, seems to have turned the tide against the neo-fascists. The latest and possibly most decisive evidence was reported today: Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein wrote Netanyahu a…Read More... | 15 Comments
SUBSCRIBE TO OUR WEEKLY NEWSLETTERSubmit
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.
- MOST READMOST COMMENTED24 HOURS|WEEK|MONTH
Is a binational identity possible in Israel? http://t.co/yFmq5vBPGV
The unwitting common ground in the debate over binationalism in Israel http://t.co/qDoWMqR8fO by Jeremiah Haber
VID: Former female Israeli soldiers break their silence http://t.co/2H7V47Cj9I by @MairavZ
Israeli MK's 'sexy' pose goes viral on Facebook http://t.co/vktM2Rk4OH by @AmiKaufman
The soldiers' stories that Israel lacks the courage to hear http://t.co/rlleFPDVVq By Larry Derfner, cc @ShovrimShtika