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  • Israeli citizens are driving Bedouin voters to the polls in droves

    After the Central Elections Committee banned a civil society group from busing Bedouin voters to the polls, dozens of Israelis are stepping in to ensure all citizens have a chance to participate in the elections. Between Netanyahu’s rabid anti-Arab incitement and credible rumors of Election Day violence, concerns about voter suppression in Israel are at an all-time high. Several civil society organizations are taking pre-emptive action. [tmwinpost] Dozens of private citizens have volunteered to drive Bedouin residents of remote, so-called unrecognized Bedouin villages to the polling stations to vote during Tuesday's election. The grassroots initiative sprang up in response to a ruling handed down on…

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  • Voting Netanyahu out is not going to 'save' Israel-Palestine

    Israeli citizens are about to vote in national elections for the second time in six months. But has anything changed since April? Why is no one talking about the occupation? And are we really about to see the end of the Netanyahu era? +972 writers talk about why these elections matter. Israeli voters will head to the polls for the second time in six months on Tuesday. It has been a short but brutish campaign, in which the racism, rabble-rousing, and mudslinging that have come to dominate Israeli election cycles seem more extreme than ever. [tmwinpost] Benjamin Netanyahu, embattled and paranoid, has…

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  • Meretz is the last Jewish anti-occupation party. But for how long?

    As Israel's center-left and centrist parties have dropped the topic of the occupation over the years, Meretz has remained the sole Jewish party to emphasize ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But can it continue to hold out amidst running mate Ehud Barak's talk of annexation?  By Meron Rapoport Meretz has seen its fair share of criticism over the years — too white, too left-wing, too Zionist, too Tel Aviv-centric, too occupation-oriented, too elitist. But there is one thing you can’t take from it: Meretz's party platform has always clearly called for an end to the occupation and the establishment of a…

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  • PODCAST: Could Mizrahim find their most natural allies in Palestinians?

    Jewish Israelis with roots in Arab and Muslim countries have faced systemic discrimination for decades. As Jewish political parties court their votes, +972 writer and Local Call editor Orly Noy has a different idea. Listen here: iTunes/Apple Podcasts | Google Play | Spotify It is no secret that for decades, the Zionist left discriminated against Mizrahim, or Jews with roots in Arab and Muslim countries, treating them as second-class citizens and pushing them to the economic, political, and cultural margins of Israeli society. Mizrahim took matters into their own hands, forming political movements and parties of their own. Their resentment against the left pushed many…

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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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  • Why the Zionist left died this week

    Stuck in a Zionist paradigm, Israel's mainstream left-wing parties are unable to put forth a vision of equality and inclusion for all in Israel-Palestine. Tuesday’s election results were obvious to anyone paying attention. Although Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party and rival Benny Gantz’s Blue and White won the same number of Knesset seats, Gantz has already conceded to Netanyahu, acknowledging that he does not have enough partners to form a governing coalition. Netanyahu will form a government with his “natural allies,” among them the far-right and ultra-Orthodox parties. [tmwinpost] One of the most important stories that has been largely overlooked, however, is the…

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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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  • It’s time to stop asking why the Israeli left has disappeared

    For Israeli left-wing voters, nothing is more important than overthrowing Netanyahu. Yet despite their common cause, the left remains anything but united and it is polling at unprecedented lows. There is one thing shared by nearly every Israeli who does not define her or himself as right-wing: a profound desire to oust Benjamin Netanyahu. And yet, despite all their efforts, none of the left-wing parties today look capable of doing so. Polls show the left-wing Meretz party hovering near the four-seat minimum threshold to enter Knesset. and at least one poll had Labor down to just five seats in recent…

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  • Do Israelis vote for political ideology or cult of personality?

    Although Israelis have historically voted for strong political frontmen, it seems that dazzling personalities are no longer sufficient to winning elections. It turns out that voters are looking at the values, worldview, and policies. Last October, Lior Shlein, Israel’s top satirist, made a convincing case that Yair Lapid is a cult leader. Lapid was a TV celeb who entered politics in 2013 trading on his teeny-bop looks and name recognition. He had no discernible ideology other than a vague promise to represent the mostly middle classes behind the social protest of 2011. Yet despite his own tony demographic, his Yesh Atid party…

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  • Israel's 'Jewish values' will forever leave Palestinians on the sidelines

    Labor leader Avi Gabbay called the Left too 'liberal' and not Jewish enough, reminding us that he has much more in common with Netanyahu than he lets on. By Iddo Naiss From the earliest days of Jewish nationalism, there were fundamental disagreements between its different stripes over the role their ideology would have once submerged into a state. Many disagreements, but one common denominator: the interests of the Jewish people were first priority. [tmwinpost] This was logical during the period before the founding of Israel, when the Zionist movement worried solely about the fate of the Jewish people around the world,…

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  • What Labor's new leader must do to resuscitate the Left

    Instead of creating an lifeboat for undesired political has-beens, new Labor leader Avi Gabbay should try to unite Israel's center-left behind a defiant message in the face of an emboldened right-wing coalition. By Abe Silberstein There are more than enough reasons for Labor Party voters to be thoroughly skeptical of their recently-elected leader, Avi Gabbay. He has little to no political experience, and the little experience he does have comes from the center-right of Israel's political spectrum: he helped co-found Kulanu with finance minister Moshe Kahlon, which continues to back the Netanyahu government despite a steady increase in undemocratic legislation and mounting…

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  • The Israeli Left must show up to protest 50 years of occupation

    After 50 years of a racist military regime, it's time for the Israeli Left to go out and protest en masse — and, in the face of such an urgent task, to overlook our differences. Things can sometimes be very simple. Read, for example, the following invitation to the anti-occupation protest taking place in Tel Aviv this Saturday night: We will take to the streets en masse to protest against the absence of hope from the right-wing government, against the occupation, against violence and racism. This extremist group in the coalition, drunk on power, cannot be allowed to continue running…

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  • Could a Palestinian politician best represent American Jewish values?

    Progressive American Jews may be willing to stand alongside American Muslims, but are they ready to demonstrate the same solidarity for Arab citizens of Israel? Ayman Odeh, the head of the Joint List, is a test case for where 'pro-peace' Jews draw the line. Progressive American Jews have had a hard time in recent years finding an Israeli political movement they can truly stand behind. As long as there was a peace process, it was fairly easy for a “pro-peace” supporter to know whom to back. Without a peace process, without even the prospect of a peace process, the main metric…

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