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2019 Israeli elections

  • Nearly half of Knesset members were born into a reality of apartheid

    Young Israeli lawmakers are arriving in parliament after an entire life in which Israel’s control over Palestinians is the natural state of the world. No fewer than 49 new members of Knesset took their oath of office on Tuesday, in large part thanks to the dizzying success of the stand-for-nothing Blue and White party. The new Knesset boasts way fewer women and many more young members: 26 of the freshman class of parliamentarians are in their 30s. The youngest among them, Yorai Lahav Harzano of the Blue and White party, is 30. [tmwinpost] In a normal world, perhaps that would…

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  • The biggest myth about Israeli politics

    It’s tempting to believe that non-politicians are the antidote to bad politicians, but it's also wrong. In 2011, the Israeli pop singer Roni Superstar released a song called “Adoni” — literally “my lord,” or colloquially, “sir.” For sarcastic overtones, “His highness” will also do. Here is my free translation: “His Highness will tell me what he knows/ His Highness will make sense of what I ought to think… His Highness wishes to be Prime Minister… His Highness thinks he is so smart…” The otherwise banal song kept surfacing in my mind during the last election cycle. Something about it seemed apposite.…

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  • Five reasons why voting for Netanyahu was a rational choice for Jewish Israelis

    Yes, Netanyahu is facing corruption probes and is practically annexing the West Bank. But for many Jewish Israelis, he has also provided relative security, a better economy, and growing international legitimacy — which makes the unknown alternative much worse. Benjamin Netanyahu won his fifth election campaign Tuesday, making him Israel’s longest-serving prime minister. Most Israeli citizens, and an overwhelming majority of Jewish Israelis, prefer to continue with the exact same policies that the Likud has put forward over the past decade. These voters rejected most of the far-right, fundamentalist parties that call for formal annexation, turned the Zionist left into an insignificant…

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  • The Israeli opposition failed. Here's how it can redeem itself

    Israel’s next coalition stands to be one of the most pro-annexationist parliaments in the history of the state. Now, it's up to the opposition to defend democracy. Dear Opposition — There is really no way to say this nicely: you failed. You failed in the campaign, and you have failed over the past decade, while Netanyahu governed with a far-right hand. [tmwinpost] Blue and White, you failed to realize that voters who oppose Netanyahu wanted a difference in substance. By the end, I heard too many people complaining that your party didn’t have any. Perhaps you thought that anyone who wants…

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  • Who needs Bennett when Netanyahu is already annexing the West Bank

    Unlike satellite right-wing parties, Netanyahu advances the annexation of occupied Palestinian territories with little public scrutiny and at no cost. Israeli politics provide very few moments of relief for the beaten-down left. That Naftali Bennett’s “New Right” party might not make it past the election threshold, and that his political partner, former Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, might have to beg the Supreme Court — which she so much abhors — to defend her political survival, are certainly two examples of such relief. [tmwinpost] But the joy over Bennett and Shaked’s troubles, justified as it may be, must not interfere with our…

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  • The best outcome of these elections is if things don't get worse

    These elections have turned into a referendum on the annexation of the West Bank — but that's not something for Israel to decide. Five thoughts on Israel's upcoming elections. 1. In many ways Tuesday’s general elections in Israel seem fixed if you’re among the ranks of people hoping to see Benjamin Netanyahu end his decade-long reign as prime minister. Even if his challenger, Benny Gantz, wins a plurality of Knesset seats, besting Netanyahu’s Likud, he still doesn’t have the numbers to form a government. [tmwinpost] As Dahlia Scheindlin has written here on numerous occasions, there is simply little chance that the…

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  • Left-wingers are busing Arabs to the polls in droves — for real this time

    Playing on Netanyahu's warning about Arab citizens of Israel voting in the last elections, a grassroots campaign raises tens of thousands of shekels to bring Bedouin from unrecognized villages to the polls — not quite in droves, but mini-bus by mini-bus. On Election Day in 2015, Benjamin Netanyahu sent a video to his supporters warning that “Arabs are heading to the polls in droves, and left-wing organizations are bringing them in buses.” This Tuesday, his then-baseless exhortation will become a self-fulfilling prophecy. More than 1,400 Israelis have donated tens of thousands of shekels to a crowdfunded initiative to bus to…

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  • Annexation is happening whether Netanyahu is reelected or not

    Netanyahu's declaration that he will annex parts of the West Bank is alarming, but it only names a process that was long ago put into action, and which is now part of the mainstream Israeli discourse. Four years ago, on the eve of Israeli elections, Benjamin Netanyahu promised in a television interview that there would never be a Palestinian state on his watch. He retracted the statement a few days after winning, but only those who wanted to believe him actually did. Opposing Palestinian statehood has always been Netanyahu’s policy. He has diverged from it on rare occasions, when he…

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  • PODCAST: Voting to maintain the occupation is a rational choice for Israelis

    The choice Israelis face isn't just one or two states. There's a third option, the one they keep choosing: the status quo. And how do Palestinians, who live under Israeli rule but can't vote, look at Israeli elections? Listen to the latest episode of The +972 Podcast. Subscribe here: iTunes/Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify Israeli elections are right around the corner. But for a country that controls millions of non-citizens, the concept of democracy becomes muddled. In this episode, +972 Magazine writer Noam Sheizaf explains why, as opposed to the one- or two-state paradigm most of the world thinks in, Israelis consistently vote…

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  • Why these Israeli elections actually matter

    Netanyahu looms so large that he has become a symbol of everything that’s right and wrong with Israel. But behind the symbol stand two very substantive visions of where Israel is headed. Like most weeks over the last decade, this was a week of Netanyahu. It began on Saturday evening when the prime minister gave a rare, surprise live television interview on Channel 2. The interview was his first to a mainstream Israeli media outlet in four years, guaranteed to make news for that reason alone. From there he flew to Washington to receive a prize from President Trump: American…

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  • What Israelis aren't, but should be talking about in these elections

    Could these elections bring about the end of Netanyahu's rule? Why isn't anyone talking about half a century of occupation? And do these elections even matter, anyway? +972 and Local Call writers open up on what's at stake this time around. Reading much of the Israeli and international press, one might get the impression that the upcoming Israeli elections are solely a referendum on the last 10 years of Netanyahu’s rule. That might be partially true, but there are no few number of issues that aren’t being talked about, and there are stakes — and stakeholders — not being accounted…

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  • Tzipi Livni couldn’t save Israel because Israel doesn’t want to be saved

    Tzipi Livni, who bid farewell to politics this week, won’t be Israel's de Gaulle. She will not be the leader that shakes us out of our collective slumber. Today, it is difficult to imagine any other Israeli leader having the desire to even try. It’s strange to consider that a mere decade ago, Tzipi Livni and her Kadima party won the Israeli elections. Yet 10 years after Benjamin Netanyahu pushed her into the opposition back benches, Livni tearfully announced on Monday that she will not be running for the upcoming Knesset elections. Polls show her Hatnuah party wouldn’t make it past the election threshold and running…

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  • I survived the Gaza violence that Benny Gantz brags about

    'As a Palestinian expelled from Jaffa to Gaza, as someone whose family and friends have repeatedly been on the receiving end of Israel’s brute force, like all Palestinians, I know that the more violence Israel uses, the more it destroys the very legitimacy it seeks.' By Hanine Hassan Freedom is hard-won, but it should never be the fruit of elimination and devastation. One would assume that these words carry logic – but not for the State of Israel. [tmwinpost] The freedom that European Jewish settlers sought in Palestine through the Zionist movement came at the direct expense of Palestinian lives. As they…

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