Netanyahu now has the same number of seats as his main coalition partner, Yair Lapid. This leaves him at the mercy of his arch-rival, President Reuven Rivlin, if the coalition would need to be reshuffled without new elections being called. Up until mid last month, Netanyahu's coalition enjoyed a reasonably obvious hierarchy. The Likud-Beitenu list led with 31 seats; Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid followed with 19; Naftali Bennett's Jewish Home barely caught up with 12; and Tzipi Livni's Hatnua closed the list with 6. This classical enough arrangement suffered its first blow in mid- July, when Avigdor Liberman unilaterally broke…Read More... | 3 Comments
New testimonies emerge from soldiers who believe that the capture of a soldier is too strategically risky to be allowed, at any price. The real risk that the botched rescue operation was trying to avert, however, could well be more political than strategic. There has been some controversy during the war about the meaning of the Hannibal Directive, a once-classified order meant to prevent the capture of Israeli soldiers by enemy forces - notoriously, by allowing Israeli troops to fire in their direction, even at risk of injury or death to the captive. Some have taken the interpretation of the…Read More... | 11 Comments
Attacks by Jewish hooligans on Arabs, unprecedented incitement by right-wing politicians and clashes between Israeli Police and Arab youth. We've been here before, but never like this. By Ron Gerlitz This article is written at the height of an extensive, violent escalation in the Jewish-Arab conflict, both within Israel and between Israel and the Palestinians in the territories and the Gaza Strip. Regarding the events inside Israel, it is important to note the dramatic difference between the events of October 2000 and those of the past week. In October 2000, it was Arab citizens of Israel confronting the police. In…Read More... | 6 Comments
The slow crumbling of Netanyahu's political prestige reached its nadir on Tuesday, when his own heir apparent Gideon Sa'ar turned against him to elevate arch-rival Reuven Rivlin to presidency. Reuven Rivlin's victory in the presidential elections on Tuesday was a resounding one, but nowhere near as resonant as Benjamin Netanyahu's defeat - a domestic political defeat to match his 2013 failure to stop Iran-U.S. rapprochement, which yanked the rug out from under his foreign policy. Rivlin and Netanyahu weren't running against each other. Quite the contrary, Rivlin was the candidate of Netanyahu's own party, Likud, adored by the party's rank-and-file…Read More... | 6 Comments
When a minority consistently feels disenfranchised and excluded, it retreats from civil society. Now is the time to ensure that Israel’s Palestinian minority and its elected representatives no longer take that route - for the sake of all citizens. By Ilan Manor Following the shameful presidency of convicted rapist Moshe Katzav, most Israelis felt that only Nobel Prize laureate Shimon Peres could restore dignity to the office of president. In the past six-and-a-half years in office, Peres not only rehabilitated the presidency, he also revitalized it and its influence. There is no greater testament to his success than the fact that…Read More... | 20 Comments
Likud MK Rivlin calls for criminal investigation into settler’s municipal election slogan. Previous campaigns warned of Arabs ‘terrorizing’ Jewish girls. By Mairav Zonszein and Michael Omer-Man A list of candidates running in the upcoming Jerusalem municipal elections is vying for (Jewish) votes with a slogan calling to “Judaize” the city. The phrase is associated with efforts by Jewish settlers to push Palestinians out of the city’s neighborhoods. “Judaize Jerusalem,” read signs for the United Jerusalem list, headed Aryeh King, a right-wing settler notorious for trying to claim land for Jews in East Jerusalem. He directs the Israel Land Fund, whose mission…Read More... | 16 Comments
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... | 39 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
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First Israeli child fatality of the Gaza war: 4-year-old boy killed in mortar attack on kibbutz bordering Gaza (via @haaretzcom)
PHOTOS: Protests held in Israel, Gaza, West Bank as ceasefire starts & ends http://t.co/KZMZ9nfjYe by @activestills http://t.co/jY1d0s4QHy
Photos of the week: Ceasefire begins and ends http://t.co/KZMZ9nfjYe by @activestills
'Despite all my years of coexistence camps with Jewish Israelis, I’m starting to lose sight of peace.' http://t.co/MGHPdvXIJA
Israel's other war: Silencing Palestinian-Israelis http://t.co/MGHPdvXIJA
'You’re not human, you’re a dog.' Palestinian teen says he was beaten, used as human shield by Israeli troops in Gaza http://t.co/A8vSjNavKl