The woman who made human rights the central issue of the left's political agenda has died at 86. Fearless and true to her values, Aloni stood up to Israel's generals and rabbis until her very last days. Shulamit Aloni, founder of leftist Meretz party, former minister of education and the legendary mother of the Israeli civil rights movement, died Friday at the age of 86. Aloni served 28 years in the Knesset. She was elected for the sixth Knesset with Labor, but later left the party and established Ratz, an avant-garde party focused on civil rights. In 1984 Ratz became…Read More... | 22 Comments
Far-right politicians prefer it when their more outlandish proposed laws are shot down prudently from across the aisle. One party on the Left now tries to edge out of that role. Meretz chairwoman Zehava Galon on Monday declared that her party will no longer rescue Israel's ruling coalition from itself, and will not vote against an annexation bill proposed by Miri Regev (Likud). The bill, endorsed by the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday, would apply Israeli law to much of the Jordan Valley - effectively negating the possibility a future Palestinian state that might share a border with any…Read More... | 12 Comments
The municipal elections in Israel yesterday brought no major surprises. In the most interesting political fight this year, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat beat Atty. Moshe Lion, whose candidacy was backed by Shas's Aryeh Deri and former foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman. The defeat has implications for the political futures of both politicians: Deri is weaker without the support of the late Rabbi Ovadiah Yossef and a split in Shas seems more probable than ever. Lieberman's fortune has been in decline for a long time. His fate will be determined when the verdict in his trail is handed down, but even if…Read More...
And nobody objects. I was listening on the radio to the prime minister's speech in the Knesset on Wednesday for the 18th anniversary (on the Hebrew calendar) of the Rabin assassination, and it just struck me how far we’ve come in this country. Bibi Netanyahu is now preaching to Israel the lessons of Rabin's murder. And nobody says anything. Members of the Rabin family sitting in the Knesset, whatever they were thinking, didn’t say a word. Neither did the MKs of the Labor Party or Meretz, or MK Ahmed Tibi or anybody else who lived through that time and understands…Read More... | 11 Comments
Europe says it doesn't want its largesse to be funneled over the Green Line - Israel screams anti-Semitism. Despite all the outrage and charges of Nazi-style behavior (here and here) that Israeli patriots are leveling against the European Union, the EU's new guidelines concerning the occupied territories don't take anything away from Israel; they just place conditions on the EU's enormous charity to this country. The EU isn't saying it's going to stop buying from Israeli businesses or bar Israeli ships or planes from entering European territory; it's saying that when it gives grants, prizes, awards or support to Israelis…Read More... | 9 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
The last polls ahead of Tuesday’s election have been published. Netanyahu’s Likud-Beitenu joint ticket could lose as many as eight seats, but the right-wing coalition he is projected to lead is still strong. Meretz is trending up, while Livni is losing support. We have updated out Poll Tracker with the surveys published over the weekend. Election laws forbid publishing polls in the days immediately prior to the vote, so this is likely the last round of numbers we will see from the various polling firms, at least publicly (the parties continue to conduct internal polls sometimes). This pie represents the…Read More... | 5 Comments
The absence of the occupation - the single most important issue which dominates life of Jews and Palestinians in this country - from the Israeli election campaigns, reflects a national existential crisis, and could render the entire democratic process meaningless. Israelis will go to the polls in four days to determine their future, along with that of several million Palestinians who are under Israeli control. This is the inherent paradox in the Israeli system: a majority voting again and again not to allow a very large minority to participate in its political system. One can view Israel as a democracy…Read More... | 17 Comments
The actual right-wing bloc looks set to win over 100 of the Knesset's 120 seats in Tuesday's election. There's only one reason to vote against it: the future. "Right-wing bloc's majority slashed," read the headline over today's election poll in Haaretz. "The gap is closing," according to the poll in today's Yedioth Aharonoth. Both surveys showed the right-religious bloc getting 63 Knesset seats and the center-left-Arab bloc getting 57, and both showed the steadily weakening Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu down to 32. Even if it is still clear to everyone that Netanyahu will lead the next government, many people will likely gather…Read More... | 54 Comments
Just as an American wouldn't imagine voting for a party that does not accept blacks, progressive Israelis should only consider voting for parties that challenge the separation between Palestinian and Jews. This is a translation, with minor changes, of my weekly column for Time Out Tel Aviv. The Hebrew original can be read here. A couple of weeks ago, the Knesset's Central Elections Committee forbade media outlets from referring to Hadash, Balad and Ra'am-Ta'al as "Arab parties" in their polling results, and called on outlets to refer to each party individually. Nobody would think to publish a poll in which…Read More... | 31 Comments
The party's new proposal effectively says the unsayable: that on the occupation, Israel is wrong and the Arabs are right. There are so many people out there, in Israel and overseas, who know that this country has gone wrong and that Netanyahu and the right are leading it to hell. Yet they end up giving their tacit support to the worsening status quo because they don't have the courage to follow their thoughts to their logical conclusion: that Israel is at fault for the occupation, and that the occupation is at fault for the conflict with the Palestinians. Not Israel…Read More... | 36 Comments
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Palestinians go three days without water in united Jerusalem, by @MairavZ: http://t.co/wVo0X1GhXx
On Int'l Women's Day, meet the Israeli women who have stood up to the occupation for 26 years: http://t.co/6gqhfVUalz http://t.co/BYOMVadhIb
PHOTO: Hebron's settlers declare, 'Palestine never existed,' by @activestills http://t.co/yCAqGMphn1 http://t.co/XQRiY97VoF
Israeli govts have argued for years that settlements are not an obstacle to peace. The data tells a different story: http://t.co/PSfkgirYJr
Israeli prime ministers say 'settlements aren't obstacle to peace' while tightening grip on occupied territory: http://t.co/PSfkgirYJr