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
This week she lost the leadership of Kadima, but Livni lost her voice when she supported Operation Cast Lead - and she wasn't alone. In the euphoria immediately after Obama's election night in 2008, and with Israel's own election four months away, I wrote that "if there's any Israeli candidate who can catch the fire he lit, it's Livni." While granting that she wasn't a true "peacenik," meaning she didn't seem too bothered by the immorality of the occupation, I called her "a woman of integrity, a woman of justice...[and one] who appears sincerely eager to make peace with the Arabs." My opinion was based on Livni's having been the only member of Olmert's cabinet…Read More... | 13 Comments
In a conference in Berlin on Israeli-German relations, Israeli speakers ask Germany to become the 'true' friend that Israel needs. (Berlin, GERMANY) - “No self respecting democracy in the world can accept the current wave of anti-democratic legislation in Israel,” said New Israel Fund President Naomi Chazan in Berlin this weekend. Chazan, a former Meretz MK, spoke at a conference held by the Heinrich Böll Foundation titled “Estranged Friends? Israeli and German perceptions of state, nation, force - a comparison.” (Disclaimer: The writer was a guest of Heinrich Böll Foundation. +972 Magazine received a grant from Heinrich Böll Foundation, and is due to…Read More... | 25 Comments
The left-wing liberal party Meretz elected MK Zehava Gal-On this week as its new leader, following the retirement of former MK Haim Oron. Gal-On, representing the left flank of the party, won against MK Ilan Gilon. She is expected to place greater emphasis on opposition to the occupation. In her victory speech, Gal-On said: "Under my leadership, Meretz will bring social protest into political power. It will be a true social-democratic party that supports dividing the land (of Israel)." Meretz has only three seats in the current Knesset, and while polls indicate that the party could double its power in the…Read More... | 2 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
This post has been updated, Sunday, 24 July, 2011 The race is on to de-legitimize the housing protestors this week, a group of youngsters camped out on Rothschild Boulevard angry about the high cost of housing. Rothschild is the tony downtown of Tel Aviv, which was renovated some years ago, and now apartments there net a pretty penny. The renovation also made it into a social hub for the whole city, with inviting cafes, benches, fountains and periodic art installations. When I moved here, it was full of sand and flies. I quite like the change, even though I recognize…Read More... | 13 Comments
Front-runners for leading Kadima, Labor and Meretz in the next elections are all women. Could Israel's next government be led by a Livni-Yachimovich-Gal-On trio? Israel is far from being the model for the advancement of women, and discrimination is evident in any field of society. All major media organizations are controlled and run by men; there are only 23 women in the Knesset (and this is an all-times record); and even in Israel's high-tech industry there is a salary gap of 24 percent in favor of men [Hebrew]. Last week, however, brought an unexpected sign of hope: For the first time…Read More... | 8 Comments
"Did I tear the screen that separated between my ordinary life and the backyard of the country I live in? I only know that what I have seen before my eyes will never disappear" I live in a decent apartment in a popular city, or at least you can say a city that is expensive to live in. I live in the holy city. Jerusalem. I work. Not for minimum wage and not below the poverty line. I manage to float somewhere between being poor and belonging to the middle class. Ok, lets say lower middle class. Yes, this is…Read More... | 21 Comments
"Knock on any door in this street and ask who would be willing to rent an apartment to Arabs and I'll bet you no one will," says an Arab student from Safed By Daniel OZ In the public park adjacent to the Zefat (Safed) Academic College, all the stone seats and wooden benches are adorned with black marker writings such as "no sitting for dogs, pigs and Arabs", "life is beautiful without Arabs" and "death to the Arabs! Who doesn't agree?". The question is rhetorical, of course, leaving little room for doubt. Its author is confident that everyone in Safed…Read More... | 7 Comments
Last week, I was invited to a bloggers meeting with the heads of Meretz. The invitation stated that all three Meretz's MK will be there, but only Haim "Jumas" Oron, the current head of the party, showed up, accompanied by former MK Moshe (Mossi) Raz (former chairman of Peace Now) and Yifat Solel of Meretz leadership. The event itself turned out to be a sort of a roundtable. Haim Oron opened and said that Meretz is looking for ways to be more effective after the blow it suffered in the last elections. Meretz got an all-times low of three seats…Read More...
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New on +972: Silence is no longer an option: A call to action from an #Israeli professor http://t.co/mmZvVhWwmb
via @_Jpost_: Enraged by kidnapping, #Egypt police keep #Gaza border closed http://t.co/zqdLNyRLHu