Knesset members behind attacks on the left, Arabs and asylum seekers won the day at the Likud primaries. All moderates but one were pushed down the list, and probably won't serve in the next Knesset. The Likud, Israel's ruling party the last four years, and the one expected to win the next elections according to every poll I have seen since 2009 (!), held its primaries on Sunday and Monday. The outcome was somewhat expected but is still stunning, and more than anything, it reveals the deep change Israel is going through. The top of the ticket will be held…Read More... | 32 Comments
The question is no longer about whether one state should be considered, as there is only one state which governs over two people. The question is which kind of state it will be: the left or the right-wing version. The protests a few weeks ago in the West Bank against Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, once the hope for an institutional and economic state-builder for Palestine, look like one more sign of failure for the emergence of a de facto if not de jure Palestinian state. In the lead-up to September 2011, the Palestinian state appeared poised to advance towards greater general legitimacy. Internationally, the political zeitgeist was…Read More... | 38 Comments
Secular, binational, and more: there are plenty of one-state models that can and should be discussed. But what's becoming increasingly clear to figures from both the right and the left is that the feasibility of the two-state solution must be reconsidered. By Yoav Kapshuk It is time to start a public discussion about possible and realistic arrangements for the area between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River. The importance of the discussion does not lie in reaching a consensus about a desired arrangement of one state or two states, but rather in creating an opening through which to understand…Read More... | 49 Comments
Two days ago, National Union MK Michael Ben-Ari was photographed in his chambers tearing up a copy of the New Testament. Yeterday, MK Ahmad Tibi responded. I'm quite tired of MK Tibi's gimmicks and theatrics and what seems to be a constant need to get a headline. I agree with Speaker Reuven Rivlin who claims it just lowers the Knesset's "esteem" (what esteem exactly, I don't know... but still). Yet, I can't shake the feeling that if I had a picture of a man who for me epitomizes so much of the evil that has cursed this world through generations…Read More... | 7 Comments
Haaretz reports that a new bill for a Basic Law currently being debated would allow the Knesset to override Supreme Court rulings that a law is unconstitutional, by a 65-member Knesset vote, neatly killing off one of the last traces of checks and balances in Israel. It is particularly disturbing that Reuven Rivlin, Speaker of the Knesset, supports the bill, which as a Basic Law would have constitution-like status. Rivlin up until now has been one of a small group of Likud parliamentarians who could actually be counted on to preserve at least the structures of democracy, and has repeatedly…Read More... | 16 Comments
The Knesset committee in charge of organizing the torch-lighting ceremony for Independence Day has come up with this year's list of participants--and it doesn't include any Arabs. While Knesset members criticized the exclusion of minorities, the move reflects reality of life in Israel. According to Ynet, a Knesset committee's exclusion of Palestinian citizens of the state from the torch-lighting ceremony that takes place on Jerusalem's Har Herzl and marks Israel's independence drew sharp criticism from a number of Knesset members. Reuven Rivlin, Speaker of the Knesset and a member of the Likud party, remarked: In Israel, there are groups that…Read More... | 11 Comments
On February 29th 2012 Florida’s House of Representatives surprisingly passed a bill supporting the one-state solution. The bill quotes the Bible to prove the Jewish right of the whole land spanning Israel and Palestine, ignores the Palestinians' historical connection to the land and omits their existence. However, the bill comes as surprise in the sense that it calls for one law for all people who live on the land. [T]he members of the Florida House of Representatives commend Israel for its cordial and mutually beneficial relationship with the United States and with the State of Florida and support Israel in…Read More... | 20 Comments
Former Knesset Speaker Abrum Burg has an op-ed in Haaretz in which he not only endorses the one-state solution, but calls the entire left to do the same. Burg has flirted with the idea in the past, but he was never so explicit: So enough of the illusions. There are no longer two states between the Jordan River and the sea... we [the left] must consider how we can enter into the new Israeli discourse. It has intriguing potential. The next diplomatic formula that will replace the "two states for two peoples" will be a civilian formula. All the people…Read More... | 86 Comments
A personal journey A childhood memory: A group of kids and their teacher on a school trip. They are walking through excavations, listening to explanations from a tour guide about their ancestors who lived there two thousand years ago. After a while, one of the kids points to some ruins between the trees. "Are these ancient homes as well?" he asks. "These are not important," comes the answer. Growing up in the seventies and the eighties you couldn't miss those small houses scattered near fields, between towns and Kibbuzim and in national parks. Most of them were made of stone,…Read More... | 68 Comments
Some members of the hard right have harshly criticized the Knesset inquiry into human rights NGOs. They seem to believe that Israel can continue to rule the Palestinians while respecting their rights. This contradiction is enabled through sophisticated mechanisms of privatization, which may be a greater danger for Israel than fascism Benny Begin, the son of late Likud Prime Minister Menachem Begin, is a minister without portfolio in Netanyahu's government. He is a member in good standing of Israel's hard right, and has spent the last two decades strongly opposing any concession to the Palestinians. Remarkably, he is also one of the…Read More...
While public figures in Israel condemned the latest rabbinical Fatwa against renting homes to Arabs, little to no action was taken against its authors. Also, some secular Jewish communities are introducing their own version of the racist letter Almost two weeks passed since dozens of Israeli rabbis – most of them civil servants, working for Israeli municipalities – signed a letter forbidding renting homes to Arabs. During this period, strong condemnations for the letter were heard from public figures, but little action was taken against the rabbis themselves. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu spoke against the letter, and so did Knesset…Read More... | 5 Comments
The Headlines: Brutal and Incompetent > The mess over the illegal migrant worker employed by the wife of Defense Minister Barak (Labor) is not going away. The Attorney General turned down her request to pay an administrative fine, and is considering an indictment. The immigration police is scouring the country looking for the worker, while she leisurely interviews for one media organ after another. This is yet more evidence that the immigration police, supposedly set up to deal with illegal migrant workers, is in fact an incompetent, wasteful and vicious body, based on racial-profiling and terrorizing innocents, while victims of…Read More... | 1 Comment
The Headlines: Hedgehog Day > The headlines today are practically identical to yesterday’s headlines. The rescue of miners in Chile is still the lead story. And here are the results of today’s hyperbole contest: last place – Ha’aretz (“World Celebrates”); third place – Ma’ariv (“Victory of Hope”); runner up – Yisrael Hayom (“Victory of Man”). First prize goes to Yedioth, which compares the event to the creation of the universe – “Let there be Light”. On the margins, Netanyahu (who once claimed his father foresaw 9/11) bragged he predicted the Chile story in a book he wrote 23 years ago.…Read More...
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