The new legislation will benefit medium-sized parties like the settlers’ Jewish Home and Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid, while increasing the influence of big money on politics. The Knesset approved today (Tuesday) several changes in its elections and governance laws. Among other things, the changes will make it more difficult to challenge the government in a vote of non-confidence, and set the threshold for entering the Knesset at 3.25 percent, or roughly four Knesset seats. The legislation is a joint initiative by Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party and Avigdor Liberman’s Israel Beitenu (which united with Netanyahu’s Likud party prior to the…Read More... | 28 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
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
An automatic appeal before the Supreme Court will be heard next week. Zoabi's party, Balad, has already announced it will withdraw from the elections if the decision is not reversed. Israel's Central Election Committee (CEC) voted today (Wednesday) to disqualify Palestinian Knesset Member Haneen Zoabi from participating in the coming elections. MK Zoabi is the number two candidate on Balad's Knesset list. The decision is automatically transferred to the Supreme Court, which will hear the appeal next week. Earlier today, Balad announced that if the Supreme Court doesn't allow Zoabi to run, the entire party will withdraw from the elections. The decision…Read More... | 34 Comments
Who are the leading Arab candidates in the upcoming Knesset elections? Who is trying to ban them from running, and how? How did such attempts end in previous elections? How many Palestinian citizens can vote in the Knesset elections, and how many are expected to vote? A Q&A by the human rights organization Adalah answers those questions, and more. By Adalah [At the bottom of the document you will find the viewing option bar, which will allow you to zoom in or out. If you still have troubles reading or in case you don't see the embedded document at all,…Read More... | 6 Comments
Underneath a new Knesset election poll published today by Haaretz, there was a surprising disclaimer: "due to lack of time, the Arab parties weren't surveyed." The reference is to the three non-Zionist and mostly Palestinian Knesset parties: Ra'am-Ta'al, Balad and Hadash, which were nowhere to be found in the charts Haaretz published. Together, they have 11 Knesset seats, including one held by a Jewish member of Hadash. Some polls published in the Israeli media tend to group those parties into one entry, titled "Arab parties." At other times, they ignore them completely. Often pollsters do include Palestinian citizens in their surveys…Read More... | 10 Comments
The first couple of polls since the announcing of the new elections are out. Here are the numbers: Maariv (Teleseker): Likud 29; Kadima 7; Israel Beitenu 15; Yesh Atid (Yair Lapid) 11; Labor 19; Shas 10; United Torah Judaism 6; The Jewish Home 8; Meretz 4; Ra'am-Ta'al 3; Hadash 3; Balad 4; Atzmaut (Ehud Barak) 2. Haaretz (Rafi Smith): Likud 29; Kadima 6; Israel Beitenu 13; Yesh Atid (Yair Lapid) 17; Labor 17; Shas 10; United Torah Judaism 5; The Jewish Home 5; Meretz 4; Ra'am-Ta'al 5; Hadash 4; Balad 2; Atzmaut (Ehud Barak) 0. > Click here for 972's Knesset poll…Read More... | 7 Comments
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
Some more thoughts of the "death of democracy" scenario that might take place in the next elections Susan Hattis Rolef has a piece in the Jerusalem Post dealing with the same issue I wrote about yesterday: the expected ban on MK Hanin Zoabi – and perhaps Balad and Raam-Taal parties as well - from participating in the next elections. Hattis-Rolef seems to agree with me that this is a likely scenario, at least in the case of a personal disqualification of MK Zoabi. There is no doubt that as elections for the 19th Knesset approach, right-wing parties will renew efforts…Read More... | 6 Comments
A not-so-crazy speculation for the new year: A date for new elections will be set; at least one major Arab party won't be allowed to participate in them, resulting in a call for boycott in the Palestinian public and the Jewish left. With the Arabs out of the Knesset, the right will enjoy a much bigger majority, forever. Game, set, match If you leave out the West Bank, Israel is still a functioning democracy. New bills are threatening freedom of speech, minorities' rights are not defended and specific laws targeting non-Jews effectively make them second class-citizens. But still, the core…Read More... | 54 Comments
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Full coverage of the BDS movement, international pressure on Israel to end the occupation.
The Beaten Path
Travel writer and tour guide Yuval Ben-Ami deconstructs the Holy Land's tourist trail.
On the challenges facing a growing population of asylum seekers and refugees in Israel.
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