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…Read More...
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,…Read More... | 47 Comments
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
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
The former prime minister was sentenced to six years in prison. Olmert will appeal to the Supreme Court, but his return to power seems unlikely. Prior to the last elections, Ehud Olmert was still mulling his return to politics. The long deliberation ended with nothing, as the circumstances didn’t seem right: his trials were still under way, his protégé Yair Lapid entered the race, and most importantly – the polls weren’t kind to him. Without a team of strong centrist candidates around him, Olmert didn’t stand a chance. The public simply doesn't like Olmert. He has a small group of centrist followers…Read More...
In the latest case of Israeli police detaining Palestinian activists for social media activity, a Lod man is placed under house arrest and has equipment confiscated for openly opposing the enlistment of Christian Arabs on his Facebook page. Israel Police placed Lod resident and Palestinian citizen of Israel Ghassan Munair, 44, under house arrest this week for posting a Facebook status that decried the government's attempts to enlist Christian Arabs into the Israeli army. According to Adalah - The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel, Munair was summoned to the local police station, where he was interrogated for…Read More... | 15 Comments
Raviv Drucker, a prominent journalist who co-hosts a well-known television magazine program on Channel 10, wrote a tough blog post in which he takes some of Israel's best known journalists to task for presenting a completely erroneous interpretation of the Palestinian position regarding a negotiated agreement for a two-state solution. I have translated his post with permission. By Raviv Drucker Ari Shavit has written another one of his fabulous treatises in his exemplary prose style that is, as his articles often are, completely detached from the facts. According to Shavit, Mahmoud Abbas is an intransigent negotiator who fails every time he…Read More... | 17 Comments
Finance Minister Yair Lapid, the great secular crusader, has finally found God. And he has but one thing to ask of Him. Finance Minister Yair Lapid, the moderate mainstay of Netanyahu's right-wing government, published today a long, rambling post drenched in self-pity (typical enough, on the most reassuring of Jewish holidays). The post is titled "A (private) Prayer for Passover," and it contains the following paragraph: "There used to be a 16th century philosopher called Zeno, who asked: "Can God create a rock He himself cannot lift?" At the time they thought the question had no answer. That it was a…Read More... | 2 Comments
If Netanyahu was serious about talks, he would have used the first opportunity to rid the government of the settlers, before moving on to isolate the radicals in his own party. Until we see such a change, the peace process will remain mostly fake. Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth's released a poll on Passover evening examining the option that former Likud Minister Moshe Kahlon run on his own ticket in the coming elections. According to the poll results, Kahlon could win up to 10 seats, most of them from voters of Yesh Atid and Likud. This is the second election poll published…Read More... | 3 Comments
Raviv Drucker is a prominent Israeli journalist and political analyst with his own program (co-hosted) on Channel 10 News. He's one of my favorites, because he's supremely well informed, doesn't suffer fools (gladly or otherwise) and back in the day was generous with his knowledge toward novice journalists who speak Hebrew with a weird accent (could be me; I'm not saying...). Below is the blog post he published on Friday in response to the claim, put out by Tzipi Livni and Yair Lapid, that the (still unofficial) collapse of the Kerry-sponsored talks is all the fault of Mahmoud Abbas, the president…Read More... | 33 Comments
The logic of Israel's secret police dictates that it can summon left-wing activists and Palestinian citizens of Israel for friendly 'chats' about their political activities. Sounds like a movie script? Illegal? The State, it turns out, insists that this state of affairs is perfectly appropriate. By Hagai El-Ad (translated by Sol Salbe) / ‘The Hottest Place in Hell’ Read this post in Hebrew here In Israeli airports, certain people always "endanger security." Well, it turns out that there are certain ideas that can also "endanger security" if there are people struggling on their behalf. If you're in the first category but still want…Read More... | 22 Comments
Three major laws were passed in the Knesset this week: One against the Palestinians parties, the second against the ultra-Orthodox, and the third against the prospect of peace. Netanyahu's coalition mobilized this week to pass its centerpiece legislation: the draft reform, the governance law and the referendum law. It's not a coincidence that those three laws are directly targeting those who are not represented in the government – the first takes aim at the ultra-Orthodox community, the second at the Arab citizens of Israel, and the third is meant to torpedo a future agreement with the Palestinians. The laws were…Read More... | 11 Comments
From talk show hosts to Finance Minister Yair Lapid, the new conscientious objectors are infuriating Israel's elite. By Moriel Rothman This week, a group of 50+ Israeli high schools students and youth penned a letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu declaring their refusal to enlist in the army as an act of protest against Israel’s 47-year old military occupation of the Palestinian Territories. And the system is scared. In light of the reactions to the letter, I think it is worth pointing out a few indications as to just how powerful this act is, and how deeply it scares the system. Indication #1. This clip…Read More... | 38 Comments
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