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Yair Lapid

  • Election preview: Netanyahu's moment of truth

    The Israeli prime minister called elections hoping to strengthen his coalition, but he underestimated the personal resentment many Israelis feel toward him. One shouldn't, however, confuse the fierce competition for power with a battle over ideas: even if Labor wins, the end of the occupation is not around the corner. When Benjamin Netanyahu decided to fire Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and send Israelis to the polls for the second time in a little over two years, many people (myself included) defined these elections as “a referendum on Netanyahu.” Final results will only be in on…

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  • The three bullets that killed Israel's left-wing bloc

    Without the Arab citizens there is no 'left-wing bloc' in Israeli politics. The only problem? The inclusion of Arabs was what led the Right to violently bring down the Left in the first place. By Lev Grinberg Since the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, there have been no political blocs in Israel. No Left and no Right — only survival combinations. Therefore, all the talk of the “size of blocs” only distorts the depressing reality in Israeli politics, wherein the real issues are barely discussed. The reason there have been no blocs since 1995 is simple: the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin was…

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  • Election analysis: A shared Netanyahu-Herzog government?

    Herzog and Bibi’s political interests and the fragmented Knesset that is likely to emerge after the elections might force Likud and Labor into a power-sharing deal. Avigdor Liberman and President Rivlin already support the idea. The Israeli Labor Party, which will participate in the upcoming election under the banner of “The Zionist Camp,” held its primaries this week. Former party leader Shelly Yachimovich won second place (first place is reserved for party leader Isaac Herzog); Stav Shafir and Itizik Shmuli, two of the leaders of 2011’s social protest movement, were elected in top places. Altogether the list leans a bit…

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  • War on Gaza: A promise Israeli politicians can keep

    As they head into elections, Netanyahu, Livni, Herzog, Lapid and Yishai can agree on one thing: even after nine military operations in 14 years, the only solution to the conflict with Gaza is another war with Hamas. By Yonatan Mendel Election season is upon us, which means that the country's best copywriters and campaigners are likely gathering with elected officials in meeting rooms in order to come up with a concise and clear message for the citizens of Israel - one that will inspire them to vote for those very same elected officials, and the brighter future they promise. Politicians and…

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  • What the polls say about Netanyahu’s election chances

    Netanyahu has more paths to the Prime Minister's Office than Herzog, but also more party leaders who oppose him personally. Seventy-one days ahead of Israel’s general elections, two major stories are dominating the political news cycle: the showdown between Shas’s former leaders – Aryeh Deri and Eli Yishai – and the corruption affair involving senior politicians from Avigdor Liberman’s Israel Beitenu party. Both Shas and Liberman lost some ground in last week’s polls, while Yishai’s newly formed party is coming close to passing the Knesset threashold, currently at 4 seats (3.25 percent of the votes). Netanyahu’s Likud party held its…

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  • Asylum seekers to stay in prison while Israelis hit the polls

    Human rights organizations pledge to challenge the latest iteration of the Prevention of Infiltration Law; new poll gives Livni and Labor a chance; Arab parties agree in principle to a joint list; High Court to hear Zoabi's challenge to Knesset suspension. Before disbanding itself ahead of elections, the Knesset on Monday passed its third try at a law that would keep open Israel’s detention center for African asylum seekers. The High Court of Justice struck down two previous versions of the law as unconstitutional and ordered the Holot open prison closed nearly three months ago. The law's fate fell into the…

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  • Lapid and Livni's last act should be to shut down Holot

    Yair Lapid and Tzipi Livni have one last chance to leave a positive legacy: make sure Israel doesn't continue the administrative detention of African asylum seekers who have committed no crime. There is little doubt that Yair Lapid and Tzipi Livni will be the biggest losers of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to fire them from their senior government posts. After the coming elections Lapid will almost certainly find himself in the opposition heading a smaller party, while Livni will most likely find herself in political exile once again. But despite being kicked out the government, Livni and Lapid still…

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  • Israel's elections: A referendum on Netanyahu

    The coalition is falling apart, and the Knesset is likely to agree on early elections soon. Current polls suggest we are heading toward a fourth Netanyahu government, which will be even more right wing than the current one. Netanyahu’s third government has reached its end. New elections, which seemed likely when the Gaza war ended, are practically inevitable at this point. UPDATE: The Knesset's parties agreed to hold the elections on March 17, 2015. The two central pillars of the government – Netanyahu’s Likud party and Finance Minister Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid (comprising 18 and 19 seats, respectively, out of…

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  • Israelis deserve more from their leaders

    We deserve thought-out policies that can bring an end to the current cycle of violence and prevent the next. By Ilan Manor Henry Ford once said that thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it. Over the past few days, some Israelis have felt that their elected officials in the Knesset have given up on thinking all together. First came the revelation that our elected representatives in the Knesset approved the state budget in a preliminary vote without even having the opportunity to read it and understand what they were…

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  • Why religious Jews are divided over the Temple Mount

    As tensions between Jews and Muslims come to a head in Jerusalem, it is worth remembering that one of Israel's most prominent rabbis strictly forbade Jews from visiting Judaism's holiest site in the wake of the Six-Day War. By Nissim Leon Recent news reflects a surge in conflict between Muslims and Jews in Israel surrounding the question of control of the site known to Jews as the Temple Mount and to Muslims as Haram Al-Sharif (the “Noble Sanctuary”). Against this background, some of the country's leading Mizrahi-Sephardic rabbis are voicing a strident position forbidding Jews from visiting the site. Thus,…

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  • 'Chickengate:' In the confrontation between Bibi and Obama, Palestinians are only a sideshow

    The rift between Washington and Jerusalem has to do with the changing American interests in the Middle East and internal Israeli politics, not with an end to the occupation.  In a story in The Atlantic Tuesday, Jewish-American journalist Jeffrey Goldberg cited a White House official calling Netanyahu "chickenshit," blaming him for lack of political vision or guts. Relations between Jerusalem and Washington have reached the lowest point he can remember, Goldberg wrote. This was the top story in the Israeli media this morning. Even the pro-Netanyahu, free tabloid Israel Hayom quoted Goldberg. In his response, Netanyahu maintained the confrontational tone, saying…

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  • Fight Israeli poverty, not poverty statistics

    Poverty in Israel is not the result of low social security transfers, it's the result of low income. And the truth of the matter is that the issue of poverty is not high on the Israeli government’s list of priorities. By Dr. Shlomo Swirski and Attorney Noga Dagan-Buzaglo (translated from Hebrew by Noam Benishei) The Alaluf Committee to Fight Poverty was appointed by a government that does everything in its power to reduce labor costs in Israel for the benefit of corporate business, as well as the government itself, because it, too, is a big employer. In doing so the government…

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  • War is the new system of governance (and five other Gaza takeaways)

    The status quo of the occupation has reached a new level of violence and destruction, but there is no political power in sight that can impose a change on the ground. 1. Israel paid more than it expected for a bit less than it wanted. Israel’s strategic goal in this war was to maintain the status quo on the Palestinian issue. Prime Minister Netanyahu outlined this notion from the first days of the war, when he presented his ceasefire formula: if Hamas stops shooting, we stop shooting. Israel got most of what it wanted, but at a greater price than expected,…

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