Following the public refusal of 43 reservists of the IDF's 8200 intelligence unit, politicians and other veterans of the unit have openly denounced the reservists, viewing their refusal as an unacceptable politicization of their army service. Political leaders both from the government and the opposition condemned 43 reservists from Israel’s prestigious 8200 intelligence unit who stated their refusal to take part in intelligence-gathering activities that, they claim, deepen Israel’s military rule over Palestinians. Unlike the issue of refusal during Protective Edge, which was hardly noticed or covered during the war, the 8200 letter grabbed headlines over the weekend, appeared on most major news Internet sites,…Read More... | 17 Comments
Israeli politicians have begun updating their Facebook pages with eulogies for the late Nelson Mandela. What do statesmen of the Jewish state - one of the last western countries to support the South African apartheid state and which today practices apartheid-like policies between the river and the sea - have to say about the man who brought racism to its knees? Here's your definitive list (which may expand - I'll update as the day goes on) 1) Naftali Bennett - Leader of the Jewish Home settler party "Nelson Mandela ** With his willpower he changed the world. May his memory…Read More... | 37 Comments
Despite an astonishing surge to second place in the polls, chances of Yair Lapid making an actual premiership bid are slim. He is risk-averse, lacks a political program, and his projected coalition is too fanciful to work. Lapid is much more likely to join Netanyahu's next government, and the only question is: Will Lapid be Bibi's pretty face in Washington as Foreign Minister, or will he be the Finance Minister, and therefore fall guy, for Israel's upcoming austerity drive? LIKUD VICTORY RALLY, TEL AVIV – After months of predictions for a comfortable right-wing win, Israel reeled tonight at a surprising…Read More... | 8 Comments
The actual right-wing bloc looks set to win over 100 of the Knesset's 120 seats in Tuesday's election. There's only one reason to vote against it: the future. "Right-wing bloc's majority slashed," read the headline over today's election poll in Haaretz. "The gap is closing," according to the poll in today's Yedioth Aharonoth. Both surveys showed the right-religious bloc getting 63 Knesset seats and the center-left-Arab bloc getting 57, and both showed the steadily weakening Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu down to 32. Even if it is still clear to everyone that Netanyahu will lead the next government, many people will likely gather…Read More... | 54 Comments
With all due respect to Meretz and Hadash ... Until yesterday, the occupation was not an issue in the Israeli election campaign; the only parties running against it were Meretz and the non-Zionist, Arab or largely Arab slates, all of which are marginal to the country's politics. But with Amir Peretz's departure from the Labor Party for Hatnuah (The Movement), where he will be No. 3 after Tzipi Livni and Amram Mitzna, there is now a mainstream party with a critical mass of leadership material at the top whose focus is on ending the conflict with the Palestinians, and whose…Read More... | 51 Comments
Since winning reelection, Obama has championed Netanyahu's war in Gaza and rejectionism in the UN. Enough illusions about this U.S. administration. It's hard to see how Mitt Romney could have been any more pro-occupation or anti-Palestinian than Obama's been since getting reelected three and a half weeks ago. (That's all it was!) First Rashid Khalidi's old friend supports Operation Pillar of Defense as an exercise of Israel's "right to self-defense," without any mention of the people in Gaza (or the West Bank) living under Israel's thumb for nearly half a century, or, God forbid, that they may have a right…Read More... | 26 Comments
Ehud Olmert and Tzipi Livni can win the January 22 election. If there is one loser in the U.S. election outside the U.S., it is Benjamin Netanyahu - and all of Israel knows it. No one is fooled by his denials that he backed Romney and opposed Obama as demonstratively as he possibly could. The widespread conviction, now that Obama has won four more years in the White House, is that Bibi has endangered Israel's relationship with America in a way that is unprecedented in its recklessness. No Israeli prime minister ever took sides in a U.S. presidential election like…Read More... | 20 Comments
By Roni Schocken Congratulations to Benjamin Netanyahu and Shaul Mofaz. I've been fond of Mofaz for a while now. Ever since he served as defense minister in Ariel Sharon's government during the disengagement from Gaza, Mofaz has been building himself up as a serious politician and perhaps even a statesman. It was during the disengagement that Mofaz morphed into a political dove, and despite the takeover of Israeli politics by the right-wing settler movement, he has stood his ground. Then in 2009, during a period of political stagnation, he introduced a gutsy plan for a peace process and when asked,…Read More... | 10 Comments
Election season has begun, and the Israeli public desperately wants one thing: escapism. Last night, after the Israeli election was set for September 4, I saw a guy wearing a T-shirt that I thought summed up the public mood, which the main "opposition" candidates have been and will be catering to. The T-shirt showed a comically wide-eyed, frightened John Cleese and his classic line from Fawlty Towers: "Don't mention the war!" Perfect. The prime minister has the whole world scared to death that he's going to bomb Iran, every poll shows that a great majority of Israelis don't want him to do it - but it's not an issue in Israeli politics and it almost certainly won't…Read More... | 8 Comments
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Assault on Gaza
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Why does the Israeli media treat Gazan lives as expendable? @Ha_Matar's latest http://t.co/7XuPyMOFXk