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
Bibi will be the lamest of ducks in his next and last term as PM. Hold the applause, though – what's rising up to take his place is worse. If, as expected tomorrow, Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu gets in the low-30s in Knesset seats, this election will mark the beginning of the post-Netanyahu era. Bibi will remain as prime minister as long as the new government survives, but he will be a lame duck, helpless to rein in the demagoguery and wild initiatives of the quasi- and not-so-quasi-fascists in his coalition. He will watch the chasm widen between Israel and the West, Israel…Read More... | 55 Comments
With national elections less than two weeks away, political campaign videos are much in the news. A few days ago Noam Sheizaf wrote about the Balad party video that was banned, allegedly for mocking Hatikvah, the national anthem. Now Shas, the Mizrachi ultra-Orthodox party that is predominantly Moroccan, is getting some heat for a campaign video that some have decried as racist. In an image that Mordecai Richler and Philip Roth would recognize, the video shows a short, swarthy, curly-haired man standing next to a gorgeous, statuesque blonde under the huppah, or marriage canopy. Behind them stands a stern-looking security…Read More... | 13 Comments
As Israeli elections approach, are you considering voting for a party you don’t really like, merely to prevent Bibi-Lieberman from winning? Here is a piece from a friend active with the Da’am Workers Party on the importance of voting not just for the lesser evil, but for a party that offers a real alternative to exclusive nationalism and unbridled capitalism. By Yonatan Preminger By tactical voting to block the worst candidate, Israel’s left wing perpetuates the status quo. In order to enter the Knesset, a political party must garner a minimum percentage of votes (currently 2%), but our reluctance to support…Read More... | 7 Comments
After Yisrael Beiteinu MK Anastasia Michaeli’s rant a few days ago against homosexuals (which will apparently continue in a lengthy interview later this week in Maariv) it was MK Uri Ariel's (National Union) turn to do some gay-bashing. On June 18 he was interviewed on the Knesset channel and said that gays should not be drafted into the IDF. There’s a lot of buzz on the social networks, saying that Ariel and Michaeli’s statements are just an attempt to divert attention from the coalition’s bigger problems and crimes (the Ulpana neighborhood, Finance Minister Steinitz giving billions to the corporations,…Read More... | 12 Comments
A new initiative to get Americans citizens living in Israel to vote in the upcoming presidential election claims it is not advocating a specific candidate. However, its strategic campaign manager admitted it is funded by the "Adelsons" of the philanthropic world. I recently came across an ad online seeking volunteers for something called the "iVoteIsrael Campaign." The link was to a very polished website that encourages Americans living in Israel to vote in the upcoming U.S. election on November 6, 2012. We are a diverse group of Olim, recent-arrivals as well as vatikim from all over the country who are deeply…Read More... | 26 Comments
Palestinian citizens cannot be expected to serve an institution that protects the Jewish identity of the state. If Israel prohibits its Palestinian citizens from participating in elections, it would cease to function as a democracy, and it would lose its case against claims of apartheid. By Fady Khoury The media reported this week that MK Moshe Matalon (Yisrael Beiteinu) has introduced a new bill prohibiting citizens who have not completed military, national or civil service from being elected to the Knesset. This bill joins an array of several other bills proposed by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu party, which condition…Read More... | 19 Comments
Israeli authorities are attempting to impose new censored textbooks in Palestinian schools in East Jerusalem. Jalal Abukhater provides a sample of the changes and argues that censorship of Palestinian heritage and history is illegal, ineffective and dangerous. Students and parents are mounting protests. By Jalal Abukhater While the mainstream media has been dominated by big stories, others are not getting enough attention. For example, Israel’s Jerusalem Education Administration (JEA) recently decided to enforce the use of new, censored textbooks in all private schools in East Jerusalem. The JEA is a joint body of the Jerusalem municipality and the Israeli Ministry…Read More... | 83 Comments
MK Faina Kirshenbaum from Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu Party - the same MK responsible for proposing the bill to establish parliamentary committees to investigate the funding of NGOs in Israel - was quoted today in Israel's Ynet as saying that the tent protest organizers remind her of Palestinians. I'm paraphrasing and translating: The tent leaders' demands are incoherent, and if we [the government] aren't prepared with a clear plan, they will continue to approach us with new demands. This reminds me of negotiations with the Palestinians - because when the issues are not well-formulated, they constantly come back to us with…Read More... | 5 Comments
"There is no citizenship without loyalty," said Israeli MK David Rotem (Yisrael Beiteinu), who proposed the bill, which passed its final reading in a vote of 37-11 in Israel's parliament Monday evening. The law will allow the Supreme Court to "revoke citizenship, in addition to issuing prison sentences, against people who are convicted of treason, serious treason, aiding the enemy in a time of war, or having committed terror against the state." What is serious treason as opposed to regular treason? Who is the enemy? How is terror against the state defined? Even the Israeli General Security Service deemed the bill irrational…Read More... | 13 Comments
Fellow Ta’ayush activist and independent filmmaker Nissim Mossek, who produces reports for the Israel Broadcasting Authority (which operates the country’s national public news station, “Channel One”) was recently made aware of the attempt by an Israeli nonprofit called “The Legal Forum for the Land of Israel” to censor his work due to what they deem to be his "extremist" politics. (The full translation of the letter is below and worth the read. I have translated it to be as loyal to the original text as possible, which is why you will find it to be badly written, inconsistent and poorly…Read More... | 4 Comments
For her senior project in visual communications at the Holon Institute of Technology (HIT), artist Sivan Hurvitz exhibited a series of illustrations called "Turn right at the end: the future of a country that gave up on democracy." In her strikingly realistic, detailed illustrations - six in all - Sivan imagines "an apocalyptic, harshly exaggerated, imaginary, future scenario" in an Israel that is no longer a democracy. Her purpose, she writes, is "to provoke and raise questions among Israelis about the direction the country is going in and to think if this is the country we want to become in…Read More... | 15 Comments
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Assault on Gaza
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What would Israelis who support the war say to families of those killed in Gaza -would they say it was an 'accident'? http://t.co/3s96rga1KD
Day 46: Israeli child killed by mortar; Hamas executes 18 suspected collaborators: http://t.co/RBzqCTX37C
What would Israelis say to the families of civilian casualties in Gaza? http://t.co/3s96rga1KD
.@UNICEF: New school year delayed indefinitely in #Gaza with 231 schools damaged & 380k Palestinians displaced
First Israeli child fatality of the Gaza war: 4-year-old boy killed in mortar attack on kibbutz bordering Gaza (via @haaretzcom)