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  • 10,000 protest in Tel Aviv for a just peace, end to occupation

    Under a coalition of Israeli left-wing political parties and organizations, thousands gathered in Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square in the largest anti-war demonstration since the outbreak of violence in Gaza. (Moriel Rothman-Zecher and Haggai Matar contributed to this report) Some 10,000 Israelis flooded Tel Aviv's Rabin Square under the slogan “Changing direction: toward peace, away from war” in the largest anti-Gaza war demonstration in Israel since the outbreak of hostilities more than one month ago. The protest was scheduled to take place last week, but was postponed after the police and Home Front Command revoked its permit, ostensibly to stop large gatherings during…

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  • In ceasefire talks, Netanyahu is letting Hamas win Gaza war

    The great mystery is: Why? In the Cairo ceasefire talks, Netanyahu is snatching diplomatic defeat from the jaws of military victory. I have no explanation for why he’s doing this and I have yet to hear a convincing one. There must be something Netanyahu knows that no one else does. Otherwise his concessions at the Cairo talks, after blitzing the Gaza Strip for five weeks, leaving Hamas able to do no more than fire short-range rockets over the Israeli border, and being hailed in Israel as a warrior king, make no sense at all. Meretz leader Zahava Gal-On gave an…

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  • Who are the Israelis refusing the call of Protective Edge?

    On Saturday evening, another anti-war demonstration was held in Tel Aviv. A few hundred people marched and chanted and hoped that rumors of a drawdown were true. With minimal numbers and attention, the demonstrations have had little impact. But there doesn’t seem much else that those opposed to the war can do. Soldiers and reservists have another option: civil disobedience, refusal to participate. It is a huge taboo. The idea of avoiding IDF service in a society whose mythical founding narrative is about protection from existential destruction is anathema even in normal times. To refuse a draft order in wartime…

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  • When the canons roar, the Israeli Left remains silent

    It appears not much has changed since Operation Cast Lead, when opposition leader Haim Oron tragically decided to support the military offensive. Rather than apologizing and giving evasive answers to the media, the Left, led by the failed opposition leader, should be standing up to yell 'enough!' By Elinor Davidov It took seven days of "Operation Brother's Keeper" for the leaders of the Israeli Left in the opposition to say, sofly, that there is a problem with the current military operation, with its goals and with its implementation. For the first time, a week of collective punishment, a closure on the…

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  • Public reading of soldier testimonies to be held in Tel Aviv on anniversary of occupation

     Avner Gvaryahu, spokesperson for the anti-occupation group Breaking the Silence: 'We want as many public figures as possible to assume responsibility, in broad daylight, for the kind of stories every soldier knows to tell.' Breaking the Silence, an organization made up of ex-IDF soldiers that seeks to expose the reality of the occupation, is organizing a public reading of soldier testimonies from the West Bank and Gaza in central Tel Aviv's Habima Square. The event will mark the 10 year anniversary of the organization, which has taken a leading role in documenting Israel's control over the Palestinians in the West Bank…

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  • Shulamit Aloni, 1928-2014: Mother and prophet of the left

    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…

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  • Meretz: We won't oppose annexation of Jordan Valley

    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…

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  • Tel Aviv, Jerusalem mayors keep posts; right-wing populists register successes

    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…

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  • Israel 2013: Netanyahu preaches the lessons of Rabin's murder

    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…

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  • Israel responds to EU: We only accept charity on our terms

    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…

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  • Final elections results posted; settler party rises to 12 seats

    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,…

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  • The ethnic vote and the 'white coalition': 7 takeaways from Israel's elections

    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…

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  • Israeli elections: Netanyahu scrapes by despite major blow in polls

    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…

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