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Blue and White

  • How Netanyahu mainstreamed his dark, anti-democratic vision for Israel

    By attacking the judiciary, bringing extremists into his coalition, and trying to subvert voting rights, Benjamin Netanyahu has presented a dark vision of an anti-democratic future for Israeli politics. By Harry Reis Benjamin Netanyahu emerged from September’s repeat elections a failure. Denied his desired majority, the prime minister’s only real hope of retaining power now depends on building a national unity government with Blue and White, a party that has pledged never to sit with him so long as the cloud of pending indictment looms over his head. But the stakes of the election outcome are far higher than the…

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  • Likud vs Likud: How Revisionist Zionism conquered Israeli politics

    Israel's elections have been billed as a clash of the titans between Netanyahu and Gantz. But no matter who wins, the real victory goes to Vladimir Jabotinsky, the grandfather of the Likud. In what should be regarded as a historic photograph taken last Monday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the head of the Likud party, and Benny Gantz, the head of the Blue and White party, sat gripping one another's hands for the camera with President Reuven Rivlin, who was arbitrating their meeting in his Jerusalem office. Rivlin, himself a former Likud member, was urging the two leaders to form a national unity government following last week’s election…

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  • Netanyahu might be on his way out, but Israelis remain firmly right wing

    Voters might be weary of Netanyahu's decade-long reign, but the numbers show that the vast majority of Israelis remain consistent in their voting habits. The cashier at an organic food shop in Tel Aviv was a burly man with a crew-cut. I asked if he had voted, but he didn’t understand the question. Then he explained in halting Hebrew that he had immigrated only nine months earlier from Russia. “I don’t understand Israeli politics,” he said. But he managed to convey one thing clearly: “Bibi, he’s been in power too long. I come from Russia, we have Putin. Too long. I don’t want…

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  • The end of the Netanyahu era doesn't mean the end of the occupation

    If Netanyahu is replaced, things might actually get worse for Palestinians. As election results started pouring in Tuesday night, one could hear a sigh of relief – and even some cries of joy – among Israelis who identify with the center-left. [tmwinpost] According to near-final results, the right absorbed a serious blow. Its voter intimidation campaign failed to deter Palestinian citizens of Israel from going to the polling stations, and may have actually backfired, giving the Joint List additional mandates. Meanwhile, the Zionist left parties held on to the same number of seats as in the previous election. The Netanyahu era is probably coming to an end. His options are…

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  • Why Israelis are going to the polls for a second time this year

    Five things you should know about the second Israeli national elections in six months. By +972 Magazine Staff How do Israeli elections work? Israel is a multi-party system, which means several parties will be competing for citizens’ votes come Election Day. There are 5.8 million Israeli citizens who are eligible to vote this time. Of the 6,463,000 Palestinians who live under Israeli control, only 24 percent are defined as citizens with the right to vote. The rest are completely disenfranchised. [tmwinpost] A party must pass the 3.25 percent electoral threshold to be a part of the parliament. Since Israeli elections are based…

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  • What do Palestinians in Gaza really think about the Israeli elections?

    On the eve of the elections, four young Palestinians in Gaza open up about their thoughts on Israeli political parties, whether they think there's hope for change, and what life is like under siege.  By Yuval Abraham Muhammad The electricity cuts out at 2pm in Gaza, but Muhammad has charged his phone in advance so he’ll have enough battery for our conversation. I call him on Facebook Video, and when he answers, he’s wearing a white vest and dripping with sweat. “Is it this hot where you are too?” he laughs, and I nod, look over at the fan in my room. [tmwinpost] I’ve…

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  • How the rising power of the Arab electorate is thwarting Netanyahu

    The prime minister didn't reckon with the rising power of the Arab electorate. For the first time, he's seeing his anti-Arab incitement stymied by old-fashioned realpolitik. By Meron Rapoport Netanyahu probably did not really believe he would be allowed to pass into law a bill permitting camera surveillance in polling stations on Election Day — not with Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit's objection on record and the High Court all-but certain to strike it down. The surprise is that the government-supported bill never made it past committee to a first vote in the Knesset. [tmwinpost] Netanyahu’s new campaign tactic is to claim that Palestinian citizens are “stealing”…

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  • Arabs in Israel want to join the government. You'll never guess who's stopping them

    Joint List Chairman Ayman Odeh said he would be willing to consider joining a center-left coalition, prompting a response from Israel's centrist party that reveals the true face of those who hope to replace Netanyahu. I do not know whether Joint List Chairman Ayman Odeh is a diligent paramedic or a doctor preparing for the long-term treatment of a 72-year-old patient suffering from chronic illnesses such as racism and Zionism. In either case, the patient is suddenly showing signs of life. [tmwinpost] All it took was a single interview with Odeh with a top journalist in one of Israel’s largest newspapers last week, in which the member of Knesset said he…

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  • 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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  • 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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  • There is no good vote in a paralyzed society

    For years, Israelis have allowed values of equality, justice, and peace, to go by the wayside. Tuesday's vote reflects not only the impotence and absence of a left, but just how paralyzed Israeli society is. In some ways, Tuesday's election is predictable. Netanyahu and his right-wing camp are expected, according to most polls, to secure the 61-seat majority needed to form a governing coalition. And yet the results remain impossible to predict, especially because the smaller parties hovering around the election threshold could determine the outcome. [tmwinpost] While polls may give us a sense of where the wind is blowing, people are still undecided and,…

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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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