Israel's opposition leader and the head of Labor party claimed this weekend that ignoring the Palestinian diplomatic issue in her election campaign cost her party four Knesset seats. Yachimovich ran her campaign mostly on economical issues, in hopes of capitalizing on the social protests. She ended up with a disappointing 15 seats - a couple more than Ehud Barak got as the head of Labor but still fewer than what polls gave her. Maariv obtained a recording of a meeting between Yachimovich and some of her supporters, in which she said: It turns out that what Yair Lapid was able to do - not to…Read More... | 12 Comments
The last polls ahead of Tuesday’s election have been published. Netanyahu’s Likud-Beitenu joint ticket could lose as many as eight seats, but the right-wing coalition he is projected to lead is still strong. Meretz is trending up, while Livni is losing support. We have updated out Poll Tracker with the surveys published over the weekend. Election laws forbid publishing polls in the days immediately prior to the vote, so this is likely the last round of numbers we will see from the various polling firms, at least publicly (the parties continue to conduct internal polls sometimes). This pie represents the…Read More... | 5 Comments
Did the revolution lose its sex appeal? Did the J14 leaders enable politicians to ignore them? Whatever the reason, it is clear that the main benefactor of this state of affairs is Prime Minister Netanyahu. By Ilan Manor With the elections just two weeks away, it has become apparent that the 2013 elections are no different than the ones held in Israel since the late 1980s. Once again, the debate revolves around a flailing peace process, a possible solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the security challenges facing the State of Israel. The line between the Israeli left and right…Read More... | 24 Comments
The settlement movement registered major victories this year on various fronts. Its representatives are reaching new heights in politics, the judiciary and the media. One out of five residents east of the Green Line is a settler. The expansion of settlements continues unabated, and - most importantly - settlers are in full control of the Israeli national narrative. In 2012, as more and more observers declared the death of the two-state solution, the settler became the new normal. By Lisa Goldman and Mairav Zonszein For decades, the settler movement and Israel’s secular, largely Ashkenazi urban elite have been playing a game of…Read More... | 37 Comments
The most important news about the Labor primaries is the depressing scarcity of news - most of the list belies the same old politics Israeli voters grew weary of years ago. Even J14 has not managed to breathe new life into the party - and the most prominent new figure on the ballot had to fight her way in past her own party leader. Israel's Labor party, widely viewed as the closest thing to an alternative to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud, announced the results of its primaries on Friday, and its slate for the Knesset. The party is led…Read More... | 4 Comments
Labor leader Yacimovich asks not to be called a 'lefty' and shows hospitable face to the settlers, while Yair Lapid rejects compromising on the issue of Jerusalem. The heads of the two leading parties to the left of Netanyahu have made statements on the Palestinian issue this past week which place them very close to the prime minister. Yair Lapid, leader of the newly formed Yesh Atid party, declared that it is possible to keep all of Jerusalem in Israeli hands, if and when a Palestinian state is formed. Shelly Yacimovich of Labor gave an interview to the settler website…Read More... | 6 Comments
The reappearance of some veteran politicians on the scene had Netanyahu worried enough to merge with Lieberman. But while Bibi may be ensured another term, he will ultimately pay for the toll of his economic and political policies on Israelis and Palestinians. By Yacov Ben Efrat Benjamin Netanyahu's call for early elections initially evoked an instinctive response: Who needs this? The result of normal elections, scheduled for next fall, was predictable: Bibi could look forward to another four years as prime minister. He had split the Labor Party and pulverized his main rival, Kadima, dispersing its 29 mandates in all…Read More... | 8 Comments
The political parties, along with media, will sell a story of a tight battle, but the Likud-led majority is as stable as it was four years ago. A quick breakdown of the upcoming elections, expected to take place in roughly ninety days. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced Tuesday evening his intention to hold early elections in roughly three months. Elections were due to take place in November 2013 in any case, but Netanyahu estimates that he will have trouble passing next year's budget in the current Knesset. The following is an excerpt from Netanyahu's statement tonight: Today, I finished a round of…Read More... | 14 Comments
King Bibi, as TIME Magazine recently crowned him, the fiercest Zionist to ever lead Israel, will go down in history as the one who brought Zionism to its knees TIME Magazine published a lengthy item on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last month, with a close-up photo of him on the cover so huge it left just enough room for the headline: “King Bibi.” It was a Hasbara official’s wet dream. No hard-hitting questions; but rather soft, caressing queries. As the cover said, the feature claimed to ask, yet not answer, the question of “Will Bibi make peace?” Well, for…Read More... | 31 Comments
It's probably hard to tell from outside certain Israeli circles, but the withering Labor party has been making some considerable noise over its approaching primaries campaign. With nearly as many serious contenders for the leadership as there are Labor members in the Knesset (eight), the competition has always had a rather moribund feel to it. Now, with Channel 2 exposing that at least 10 percent of registered party members are also registered members of rival parties Kadima and Likud, and many more did not know they have joined a party, the plot is taking a distinct lurch toward the macabre.…Read More... | 8 Comments
If there’s anything more pathetic than leadership battles in a dead political party - it’s leadership battles between two guys who don’t even have a chance of winning the leadership of that dead party. One can only wonder what Haaretz was thinking when they gave their lead headline - twice! - this week to Wikileaks documents about remarks said by one loser of a politician about another loser of a politician. Isaac Herzog is no doubt one of the dullest, most ordinary, monotonous, uninspiring politicians this country ever gave birth to. To fully understand just how big a yawn Herzog…Read More... | 8 Comments
Front-runners for leading Kadima, Labor and Meretz in the next elections are all women. Could Israel's next government be led by a Livni-Yachimovich-Gal-On trio? Israel is far from being the model for the advancement of women, and discrimination is evident in any field of society. All major media organizations are controlled and run by men; there are only 23 women in the Knesset (and this is an all-times record); and even in Israel's high-tech industry there is a salary gap of 24 percent in favor of men [Hebrew]. Last week, however, brought an unexpected sign of hope: For the first time…Read More... | 8 Comments
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