Netanyahu's crushing victory wasn't so much over the Left, which never stood much of a chance to begin with. His true and ruthless triumph was over the Right, and especially over one man — his closest ally, Naftali Bennett. It is difficult to describe Netanyahu’s victory in Tuesday’s elections as anything other than stunning. Stunning not so much for the fact that he had won — this much was reluctantly accepted among most observers throughout the election season. The true shock came as the sheer scope of Netanyahu’s victory was revealed - 30 seats to Herzog’s 24, dramatically strengthening the…Read More... | 6 Comments
Digital media has dictated the agenda of this election campaign. The parties flooded the web with funny videos, hoping to go viral. Media strategists know how to make their audience laugh, but they failed to establish a meaningful discourse with the electorate. By Angela Gruber Noy Alooshe is a sought-after man these days. His Youtube remixes mash up short bits of politicians' speeches with catchy beats, creating viral music videos that make sport of the featured candidates, crossing all party lines. But instead of hating Alooshe for mocking them, he has politicians calling him up after their speeches, suggesting sound…Read More...
The Israeli prime minister called elections hoping to strengthen his coalition, but he underestimated the personal resentment many Israelis feel toward him. One shouldn't, however, confuse the fierce competition for power with a battle over ideas: even if Labor wins, the end of the occupation is not around the corner. When Benjamin Netanyahu decided to fire Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and send Israelis to the polls for the second time in a little over two years, many people (myself included) defined these elections as “a referendum on Netanyahu.” Final results will only be in on…Read More... | 12 Comments
'Anyone who isn't jumping is a leftie,' chant the settler youths at a right-wing election rally in Tel Aviv, the site of a larger anti-Netanyahu rally a week earlier. Netanyahu the ringmaster is in control of his audience, and the rally itself has the quality of a victory parade. Text by Natasha Roth Video by Camilla Schick They came, they saw, they cheered. Around Rabin Square Sunday evening, the streets of Tel Aviv were unrecognizable: thousands of settlers, hilltop youth and national-religious had come from across the country (and from over the Green Line) in order to attend a right-wing rally…Read More...
The 20-kilometer road from “Israel proper” to the West Bank settlement of Ariel used to be narrow and slightly risky, running past a few Palestinian villages where teenagers might want to throw a rock at a passing car with yellow Israeli plates. But no more; now there’s a wide, sleek, protected highway that doesn’t pass anywhere near a Palestinian village, and on whose lanes not a single green Palestinian license plate can be seen. No, the status quo is not static. Ariel itself seems much bigger than I remember, with wide boulevards swooping up and down the rim of the…Read More... | 13 Comments
A group of ex-generals is warning Israelis that another Netanyahu-Bennett government will mean being stuck with the Palestinians forever. But no matter what happens, Israelis and Palestinians will always be stuck with each other. "With Bibi-Bennett, we'll be stuck with the Palestinians forever." I noticed a billboard carrying that slogan the other day and was immediately appalled. It is among the most offensive and racist I've seen in this campaign — and there is no lack of competition in that department. (i.e., Lieberman just added to his "death penalty for terrorists" slogan a suggested policy of beheading Palestinian citizens of…Read More... | 9 Comments
Bennett suggests Arabs steal Jewish property during conference for Israeli high schoolers who will be voting in their first elections. Activist says he was threatened by Shin Bet outside the event. Dozens of Arab and Jewish-leftist high school students walked out on a speech by Naftali Bennett after he suggested Arabs are car and property thieves during a conference held on Sunday at Tel Aviv University. The leaders of several Israeli political parties spoke at the conference, put on by the Citizens' Empowerment Center in Israel, which was convened for Israeli high school students who will be old enough to vote…Read More... | 21 Comments
This state has never truly recognized the injustices it is responsible for: the Nakba, the occupation or the poor treatment of Mizrahim. And yet, we still have an obligation to try and make this a place worth living in. By Samah Salaime Egbariya Israeli society isn't ready for a political party with "too many women," said one female political analyst on Channel 2. The country isn't ready for too many Mizrahim in its elitist Jewish parties. The country isn't ripe for more blacks or Russians. And let's not even get started on Arabs, especially at a time when everyone is…Read More... | 15 Comments
The twisted logic of Peres' Grapes of Wrath operation was all about hitting civilian targets. That was the reason refugees sought shelter in Qana's UN base in the first place. Yigal Sarna, a journalist for Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth, published a dramatic and serious accusation over the weekend against Naftali Bennett, the head of the Jewish Home party. Bennett was the commander of a small IDF unit that operated inside the “Security Zone” that Israel occupied in South Lebanon during the 1996 military operation Grapes of Wrath. According to Sarna, Bennett decided on his own to diverge from his orders, got his soldiers…Read More... | 17 Comments
Before he was Minister of the Economy, Naftali Bennett was a Knesset hopeful whose plan to annex the majority of the West Bank shook the political establishment. Two years later, it's worth seeing just how much he has gotten done. By Joel Braunold When Naftali Bennett first entered the coalition, I wrote of his plan to create a de facto one-state solution. Now that the current government is in its final days, it is worth taking stock of his progress and looking at what his plans are for round two. Strengthening the belief in the supremacy of claims to the…Read More... | 30 Comments
Two different election campaign videos released by major right-wing candidates have one major thing in common: they are very clear about what and who they are against, yet indicate next to nothing about what they stand for. In a highly incendiary video, Likud Knesset member Danny Danon, who was fired from his position as deputy defense minister for publicly slamming Netanyahu's "restraint" during this past summer's assault on Gaza, has released a campaign video in which he brands himself as "the real Likud." Post by Danny Danon - דני דנון. In the video Danon fashions himself as a no-nonsense sheriff…Read More... | 38 Comments
American administrations have a tendency to blame the 'radical' settlers for torpedoing peace missions. The real problem, however, is with the 'moderates' who are complicit in maintaining the status quo. There is a lot of talk in some circles about Naftali Bennett’s appearance at the Saban Forum last weekend (video below). Bennett, who heads the Jewish Home party and is the star of the Israeli Right, took to the stage with former special envoy to the peace process Martin Indyk. Bennett essentially declared that Israeli will never accept the two-state solution, that there will be no more “land for peace”…Read More... | 35 Comments
I’m planning to vote for Meretz, but if Kahlon has a chance on election day of beating Netanyahu, I’ll vote for him. I was talking a couple of days ago about the upcoming elections with a friend from work, a middle-class, American-born Ashkenazi immigrant with a Ph. D. in political science. He told me he was voting for the left-wing, largely Arab Hadash party. I asked who he would vote for if, on election day, which is tentatively set for March 17, the “wild card” in the race, ex-Likudnik Moshe Kahlon, had a chance to become the next prime minister.…Read More... | 37 Comments
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