The municipal elections in Israel yesterday brought no major surprises. In the most interesting political fight this year, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat beat Atty. Moshe Lion, whose candidacy was backed by Shas's Aryeh Deri and former foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman. The defeat has implications for the political futures of both politicians: Deri is weaker without the support of the late Rabbi Ovadiah Yossef and a split in Shas seems more probable than ever. Lieberman's fortune has been in decline for a long time. His fate will be determined when the verdict in his trail is handed down, but even if…Read More...
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
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
Dozens of Tel Aviv municipal officers, border policemen and private movers raided several businesses run by African asylum seekers around Tel Aviv's central bus station, confiscating goods and welding the doors shut. Officials also poured bleach into food in a Darfur refugee's restaurant. Is city hall preparing for the upcoming municipal elections? A group of municipal officials led an operation to close African asylum seekers' illegal businesses in the south Tel Aviv neighborhoods of Neve Sha'anan and Shapira at around 7 p.m. Sunday night. The municipal officers were accompanied by Border Police officers, a photographer and several large moving trucks…Read More... | 21 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
In the innocent year of 1909, a new Jewish neighborhood was established on the outskirts of Jaffa. A modest crossing of two streets, it was designed according to distinctly secular Jewish values. At its focal point, just north of the intersection stood not a synagogue but a high school. It was an elaborate, romantic structure. Its facade featured two columns representing Boaz and Yachin, the pillars of Solomon's Temple. Jewish culture had always centered around education, and the Zionist founders of Tel Aviv believed that so would the new Jewish society they were helping to establish. Fast forward 50 years, and…Read More... | 4 Comments
About 100 residents of Jaffa -- Arabs and Jews -- came together on Friday afternoon to protest a city plan that threatens to change the character of their neighborhood. The Tel Aviv-Jaffa Municipality master plan for all Jaffa includes construction of a 15-meter multi-lane road on Kedem Street in Ajami, between the Jaffa Port and the city of Bat Yam. It's a tranquil street that cuts north-south through residential Jaffa, parallel to the bustling business of Yefet Street, and overlooking the beach. This happens to be my favorite beach. It is still untouched by all the hotels and tall buildings…Read More... | 23 Comments
Due to the influx of gay tourists who arrived in Tel Aviv for Pride Week, we can say with some certainty that more Belgians and Danes marched in the Gay Pride Parade than Palestinian citizens of Israel. That’s not just because of the understandable need for the gay Arab population to maintain a low profile. Gay Palestinian organizations boycott pride events because they consider them examples of “pinkwashing” – presenting Israel as enlightened due to its treatment of homosexuals, while denying the human rights of others. Al Qaws (The Rainbow), familiar to the gay community in Israel mainly because of…Read More... | 17 Comments
A Tel Aviv city councilman is appealing to the state to allocate separate buses for African refugees and migrant workers, according to an article published on Mynet on Thursday Last week, Tel Aviv City Councilman Binyamin Babayoff (Shas) sent a letter to Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai, Minister of Transportation Israel Katz, and Dr. Moshe Tiomkin, a Tel Aviv councilman and the head of the city’s Transportation, Traffic and Parking Authority. In an excerpt published by Mynet (local online Hebrew news affiliated with Ynet), Babayoff wrote that “illegal foreign workers fill the buses…” leaving no room for Jewish Israeli residents…Read More... | 17 Comments
Welcome to the Weekend Holyland Wrap, where unlike the rest of the country (where it's all Schalit, all the time - and everything else be damned) we actually care about other stuff as well. Please take your anti-nausea pills, as some seriously repugnant individuals are soon to be back in circulation. The Schalit festival is of course in full effect, with the media camped outside of his parents' Mitzpe Hilla, groupies doing pilgrimage and polluting the family's front yard with soft drink cans and cigarette butts. The media has well and truly gone off the reservation on this one. After…Read More... | 16 Comments
Shvuel Schijveschuurder defaced the Rabin memorial to protest the fact the killers of his family will be released as part of the prisoner exchange. This was denounced as "sacrilege," while Schijveschuurder was depicted as "insane." Neither makes sense Sanctity (and irrelevance): A large number of good leftist were shocked, shocked yesterday morning when Shvuel Schijveschuurder sprayed “price tag” and “release Yigal Amir” near the Rabin Memorial in Tel Aviv. Schijveschuurder also splashed the memorial with white paint. The first comment by mayor Ron Huldai was that “we should cut off the hands which allow themselves to harm what is sacred…Read More... | 9 Comments
The memorial on the site of Yitzhak Rabin's assassination in Tel Aviv was vandalised yesterday (not "desecrated," pray), by Shvuel Schijveschuurder, who had lost both his parents and three of his siblings in the Sbarro pizza place bombing in 2001. The young man said he was driven to pour paint on the memorial and spray-write a nearby wall with a call to release Rabin's assassin, Yigal Amir, after he heard the men responsible for wiping out most of his family were about to be set free as part of the Schalit exchange. Despite the fact he sprayed the notorious "price tag"…Read More... | 5 Comments
Mayor Ron Huldai, as other mayors before him, always likes to show how he's the mayor of Tel Aviv-Jaffa, with an emphasis on the "Jaffa". Because, sometimes, even a mayor can forget there are Arabs living in his town. So, I thought it was great that he made an effort to personally wish a happy Ramadan to all the Muslim residents of Jaffa, by putting up signs all over the Arab neighborhoods. Here's one, right in the center of Jaffa, on the main drag: Oooo! And here's another one! In the middle of Yefet st. (Jewish street name, but that…Read More... | 10 Comments
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