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israeli politics

  • Ultra-Orthodox anger over Western Wall deal isn't about American Jews

    The Israeli government's decision to abandon a deal creating an egalitarian prayer space at the Western Wall led to an unprecedented rift with Diaspora Jewry. But American Jews, and the Reform Movement in particular, are merely collateral damage — caught in the crossfire of an internal ultra-Orthodox power struggle. By Eli Bitan With all the coverage of the brouhaha among Diaspora Jewry over the suspension of a deal to create a pluralistic prayer space at the Western Wall, one might reasonably think that the ultra-Orthodox parties in the Israeli government chalked up a victory last week. They didn’t. The real…

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  • The annexation of Palestine could be closer than you think

    A perfect storm of domestic Israeli politics combined with the changing of the guard in Washington could create an opportunity for those advocating annexation to finally make their move. Senior Israeli government minister Naftali Bennett announced on Sunday that he will introduce legislation to effectively annex Israel’s third-largest settlement in the West Bank, Ma’ale Adumim, by the end of January. It is safe to assume, that when Bennett says “by the end of January,” he means after the January 20 inauguration of Donald Trump. [tmwinpost] Bennett’s desire to incrementally annex parts of the West Bank are neither new nor secret.…

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  • We need a center-left political alternative in Israel

    This is not a time for ideological purity. There is an overriding goal and that is ending the Occupation. By Jeremiah Haber Since the election of Ehud Barak as prime minister in 1999, if not earlier, there has been no center-left in Israel. Of course, there has been something referred to as “center-left” but that was only relative to the so-called Right of the Likud, Kadima, Shinui, Yesh Atid, and defunct parties whose names I forget. Former prime minister Ehud Barak managed almost single-handedly to destroy the center-left, which had supported recognition of the rights of the Palestinians to self-determination,…

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  • Netanyahu vs. Iran: The political scoreboard

    Netanyahu put Iran at the top of his political agenda. He was able to push the international community into action but found himself sidelined when it counted. He got the opposition to back him in trashing the deal, but never got the security establishment on board with a military option. The nuclear deal signed with Iran is "a stunning historic mistake," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the world on Tuesday. Netanyahu loves to remind us all that he was among the first to highlight the threat Iran poses to Israel — and all of mankind. In his first speech before…

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  • Netanyahu's hypocrisy about intervening in other countries' affairs

    What would happen if a foreign country started lobbying for bills in the Israeli Knesset, going so far as to seek the insertion of specific clauses into them? The Right in Israel isn’t the biggest fan of foreign countries getting involved in its affairs. It’s true when it comes to the European Union providing shelter for Palestinians in Area C of the West Bank, or supporting human rights organizations that challenge aspects of Israeli legislation in Israeli courts, or Netanyahu’s unproven allegations that European states funded campaigns to increase Arab voter participation in hopes of ousting him as prime minister.…

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  • Stop blaming Mizrahim for everything wrong in Israel

    Despite what many commentators would have you think, Israeli elections were not decided by racism among Israel's Mizrahi population. By Leeor Ohayon Benjamin Netanyahu’s re-election is largely credited to votes from the Mizrahi periphery, but to credit the Mizrahi periphery alone would be naïve. The Likud party, after all, is an Ashkenazi one at heart, with Ashkenazi supporters. The magnitude of Netanyahu’s win, as a result of his “gevalt campaign,” (a desperation blitz) actually came from the Ashkenazi Right — Jewish Home voters sacrificed their party to save Netanyahu. In a recent article, Larry Derfner condemned “poor” Mizrahi Israelis for…

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  • Jewish nationalism and the new Palestinian politics in Israel

    It seems somehow difficult to remember now, but the Israeli general elections were announced on the crest of a tidal wave of nationalist hostilities — unusually pronounced even by the standards of Israel-Palestine. This past summer, rogue Palestinian militants abducted and killed three Israeli teenagers from a hitchhiking post outside a West Bank settlement. When they were found, a clique of young Israelis kidnapped a Palestinian boy, beat him, and burned him alive. The weeks that followed were replete with incidents of Jews and Arabs coming to blows in cafes, on public transport and on the street; a longstanding neighborly…

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  • What Jewish-Arab 'progress' looks like, and why it's not enough

    A new political show on Israel's largest news channel has a 1:37 ratio of non-Jewish to Jewish guests. It should be no surprise that the normally soft-ball interviewers suddenly became hostile toward MK Ahmad Tibi. By Oren Persico / ‘The 7th Eye‘ Israel's Channel 2 has a relatively new show titled "Kidon and Ben-Simon," named after its two hosts. The show, which airs twice a week, is classified as a "political interview-based show." In each episode Sharon Kidon and Daniel Ben-Simon interview a different political figure. Since the show launched in October 2014, dozens of members of Knesset, ministers and potential MKs…

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  • The agonies of being an Arab democrat in the Knesset

    When establishing the Knesset’s Palestinian democratic party, the founders of Balad had to shift their discourse and terminology: from the liberation of Palestine and the establishment of one inclusive democratic state, to the reinvention of Israel as a democratic state, the party's secretary general writes. But has such a shift paid off? By Awad Abdelfattah On the eve of the 2009 Knesset elections, as I stepped off a platform following a political debate, an Israeli journalist approached me. "Is it true that you don’t vote,” she asked, “even though you are secretary general of a party that takes part in elections?”…

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  • Netanyahu gains popularity as peace talks collapse

    The prime minister's personal popularity goes up, while the Likud and Habyait Hayehudi gain seven more seats between them if elections were tomorrow. The Left loses four seats. Coalition troubles aside, 'peace' remains electorally toxic.  The biggest losers from the collapse of the peace talks are the pro-peace parties, a Haaretz weekend poll suggests - a finding unlikely to delight those hoping Netanyahu would swap his hard-right coalition partners for more moderate ones. According to the poll, conducted soon after the peace talks went into a spiral due to a cancelled prisoner release and the newly announced settlement building plans…

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  • The end of the Sharon dynasty: 5 takeaways from Kadima primaries

    Despite positioning itself as the opposition party, estimates are that the hawkish Mofaz will join Netanyahu's government following the 2013 elections. Shaul Mofaz, 64, won the Kadima primaries decisively yesterday, beating Tzipi Livni 62%-38%. Livni chaired the party since the resignation of former Prime Minister Ehud Olmert over corruption allegations. Both candidates represent the Israeli security establishment: Iranian-born Mofaz was Chief of Staff during the Second Intifada and defense minister under Ariel Sharon; Livni served in the Mossad. The third candidate, Avi Dichter, who withdrew from the race last week, is a former head of the Internal Security Service, the Shabak.…

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