A Facebook post expressing shock and dismay about the occupation by new MK Adi Koll of the 'centrist' Yesh Atid party went viral over the weekend. Has segregation between Israelis and Palestinians become so entrenched in Israeli society that expressing empathy for Palestinians is a shocking aberration? After reading MK Adi Koll's Facebook status that Noam Sheizaf translated and posted, which has gone viral in both Hebrew and English since it came out Sunday, I paused and thought to myself: Why is this getting so much attention? What's the big deal? Okay, a Knesset member posted a comment about how awful…Read More... | 41 Comments
Adi Koll, a relatively unknown Knesset member from Yair Lapid’s centrist Yesh Atid party, posted this picture along with an uncharacteristically long and emotional status on Facebook, the day after she paid a visit to the home of a Palestinian friend in Ramallah. (Translated in full below) Warning! This post will be long, controversial and without color photos, even though I have plenty of photos. I made sure to take pictures throughout the day with the intention posting them to Facebook so I can show what we would all rather forget. But now it feels pointless. No picture can describe…Read More... | 43 Comments
Oh, and the settlements are in very, very good hands. One of Israel’s leading sociologists, the late Baruch Kimmerling, is responsible for coining the term “Ahusalim (אחוס”לים),” to describe those who ruled Israel for decades. It is an acronym in Hebrew for “Ashkenazi, secular, old guard, socialists, and nationalists.” ASOSNs, for us English speakers. I guess Kimmerling was trying to find something similar to WASP, and although he came up with a term that became widely used, let’s face it - phonetically it’s a flop. As I write these lines, the coalition agreements between the Likud, Jewish Home and Yesh…Read More... | 16 Comments
People who see Netanyahu as the great Jewish avenger should know how low he's willing to go in exploiting the memory of Jewish suffering. I can never get over the shamelessness with which Israeli nationalist power freaks will exploit people's memories of anti-Semitic persecution for their own low purposes. Nobody's better at it than Netanyahu; he can barely make a speech without waving around a document or two from some Holocaust-era archive. And he's always got that furious expression on his face, as if to warn his audience not to even dare think that he's faking it, that he's…Read More... | 41 Comments
After signing Tzipi Livni onto his coalition, Netanyahu doesn't need Yair Lapid anymore - he can have the haredim and Naftali Bennett while pacifying Obama. Give the devil his due: Bibi pulled off a masterstroke yesterday by signing Tzipi Livni's Hatnuah party to his coalition. Now he's got clear sailing to his ideal government - one made up of the right wing and ultra-Orthodox, his base, but one that also keeps Obama and the Europeans off his back by giving the appearance - completely hollow - that he intends to try to move toward peace with the Palestinians. That's…Read More... | 21 Comments
If Yair Lapid's party takes over the Education Ministry, it could bring an end to the Greater-Israelization of the country's schools and universities. After 45 years of occupation and no end in sight, it would be better for Israel to have a completely right-wing/ultra-Orthodox government than a right-wing/centrist one with Yair Lapid, Kadima and possible other fig leaves. A purely hardline government would attract more opposition, especially abroad, while a right/center amalgam will fool a lot of people into thinking things aren't so bad. In short, a Bibi/Lapid government is more beneficial to the occupation than a Bibi/Yishai government -…Read More... | 13 Comments
On the Palestinian issue, the new leader of the Israeli center holds positions that take several steps back from ideas held by Israeli negotiators in the previous decade. The surprising success of Yair Lapid in the Israeli elections has led many people to believe that a new window of opportunity could be open for a settlement between Israel and the Palestinians. Lapid himself had said before the elections that he will demand a resumption of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Lapid did not, however, detail the policy principles which could reignite said negotiations. His party's platform – available…Read More... | 93 Comments
UPDATE: Scroll to bottom for corrections. New York -- For Yael Berda, the unexpectedly strong showing of Yair Lapid and his Yesh Atid (There is a Future) party in Israel's recent national elections is no reason for centrists or liberals to celebrate. Lapid's party labels itself centrist, she says, but its domestic and security policies are so similar to the right wing parties' that it will only serve to bolster their agenda. The neophyte politician is from Israel's wealthy Ashkenazi elite, which identifies with Europe and the United States. "In that cultural sense," she said, "You can call Lapid a…Read More... | 17 Comments
Netanyahu is most likely to form his next government around the religious and the secular middle class, represented by election victors Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid. The coalition will concentrate on domestic reform and will only strengthen the status quo on the Palestinian issue. Also: Did Israelis really move left? Seven takeaways from the elections. 1. The future government At the time of writing, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s base of Orthodox and right-wing parties has 60 Knesset seats – the same as the potential opposition. Estimates are that the Jewish Home party will finish with another seat at the expense…Read More... | 22 Comments
Despite the surprising weakness of the Right-ultra-Orthodox bloc, the final result of the elections, according to exit polls, is still likely to be a status-quo Netanyahu-led government. Why? Because the big winner in this election, media personality Yair Lapid, is a vapid centrist who is likely to join Netanyahu’s coalition and make little noise on policy -- either on Israel-Palestine, or any other topic The exit-poll results are in, and Noam has an excellent summary of the headline figures. A lot of the attention, as actual results pour in through the night, will be focused on the balance between the…Read More... | 13 Comments
Recent attempts to form an 'anti-Bibi' bloc among the centrist parties may very well drive right-wing voters back to the prime minister's hands. One outcome of the unusually short election cycle that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu imposed on the Israeli political system – in an attempt to prevent any serious challenge to his position – is the rapid developments and changes we have been witnessing in the last few weeks. I will deal with some of those issues in this round up, but it is important to note first that nothing too major has actually happened: our poll tracker, which…Read More... | 10 Comments
Netanyahu will continue to serve as prime minister after the upcoming elections, but putting together a governing coalition will have significant long-term implications. The headline result of the upcoming elections in Israel, as Noam Sheizaf has thoroughly documented, is not in doubt. Benjamin Netanyahu will continue as Israel’s prime minister for another term, and will strive to maintain his policy of status quo in every area of policy. Nonetheless, there are at least two aspects of uncertainty in these elections. First, the potential for more significant changes in areas not related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (such as economic policy or…Read More... | 13 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
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Reports, maps, infographics and other documents on human rights and democracy.
Children under occupation
The effects of occupation on minors.
On the challenges facing a growing population of asylum seekers and refugees in Israel.
A series of striking infographics.
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