Over 5 million Israelis have the right to vote in the municipal elections today. National politics are not as directly reflected in municipal polls as they were in the past - when Likud and Labor used those as platform for securing their parties' political machines (plus, there just isn't much of a competition in the big cities) - but you can always learn about some of the deeper trends from them. Here are a few things to watch: 1. Jerusalem: Major Nir Barkat is favorite against Moshe Leon. Leon's candidacy is backed by a political deal between Shas' Aryeh Deri…Read More... | 6 Comments
After a stormy night session, the coalition was able to pass the necessary amendments and election laws that would make it more difficult to topple a government and eliminate small factions. Left-wing and Palestinian members of Knesset protested the legislation in 'silent speeches.' Ultra-Orthodox MK Eichler spoke to the Arab public in Arabic, saying 'we are with you.' (video below) During the last session of the Knesset before its summer recess, the coalition was able to pass a first reading of the “governance legislation,” - an amendment to Israel's Basic Laws - which would make it more difficult for the…Read More... | 33 Comments
The Mizrahi Jewish community is Israel’s largest ethnic group, and its historic links to the Middle East, along with its class position make it a critical component in any revolutionary coalition. Thus, running a Mizrahi candidate will be a clear sign to the residents of south Tel Aviv that they are a central priority. By Matan Kaminer Although municipal political party Ir LeKulanu is not considered “left” in Israeli terms, it embodies one of the greatest successes of the non-Zionist left in Israeli history. In national elections, the non-Zionist or “radical” left keeps slamming into the brick wall of privileges enjoyed by…Read More... | 8 Comments
Meretz MK announces plans to challenge Tel Aviv-Jaffa's 15-year mayor. Though he faces difficult odds, Horowitz has a legitimate chance to become the first openly gay mayor of any Israeli city. Knesset Member Nitzan Horowitz (Meretz) on Monday announced his intention to run in the Tel Aviv-Jaffa municipal elections, due to take place on October 22. Horowitz, a second-term MK and former journalist for Channel 10 News, will be challenging former Labor member Ron Huldai, who has served as Tel Aviv's mayor since 1998. If he wins, Horowitz (49) would be Tel Aviv's first openly gay mayor, and the first…Read More... | 4 Comments
Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren recently boasted about Israel's record on gay rights - however the LGBT community in Jerusalem has faced repeated intolerance and push back from the government. A proposal to be presented this Sunday to extend protection from discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation will be the real test of its commitment to gay rights. By Elinor Sidi "In Israel, LGBT rights is not an issue that divides us, it is a vision that unites us," said Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren, in Philadelphia two weeks ago. In his keynote, Oren took…Read More... | 3 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
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
Thousands march to protest Knesset's decision to probe human rights organizations Tel Aviv - More than 10,000 people marched this evening in protest of recent anti-democratic and racist initiatives by the Israeli government. The march, which started in front of the Likud HQ in King George Street and ended at the Tel Aviv Museum Square, was one of the largest leftwing demonstrations in Israel in years. Despite the cold weather, attendance exceeded expectations, and many protesters were unable to enter the Museum Square itself. According to the demonstration's organizers, a last-minute effort was made to arrange additional buses for protesters…Read More... | 23 Comments
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Aussie Jewish MPs take cue from Israeli Arab MKs and form a joint Jewish list [satire] http://t.co/V4K4dq3yXl
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PHOTO: Israeli soldiers fire live ammo during Bethlehem clashes, by @activestills http://t.co/aHhSQIfwnI http://t.co/KNxtQE9FDL