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  • In Israel, ‘politics as usual’ means escalating Palestinian oppression

    Three trends from Israel's do-over election demonstrate that the more Israeli politics stay the same, the more dangerous its policies become. There are many moments in Israeli-Palestinian history where landmark developments seem to change nothing and everything at the same time. Israel’s September election is one of them. While featuring many familiar and predictable patterns, the latest political contest has also exposed novel shifts that could significantly alter the conflict’s dynamics. Three key and interconnected trends that reflect this paradox can be drawn from the election, all of which present crucial strategic questions for the Palestinian struggle in the years ahead. [tmwinpost]…

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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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  • Elections reveal a seismic split within Israel's right

    Once the ascendant elite, the settler movement’s political power is on the decline. By Meron Rapoport While political analysts wonder if we have come to the end of the Netanyahu era, little attention is being paid to another major outcome of this election — that is, the decline of the national religious movement’s political power. Once, these self-described lords of the land believed they were well on their way to becoming Israel’s new political and cultural elite. But the numbers show that their political influence is waning. [tmwinpost] The Likud has always been at the center of the right wing…

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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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  • 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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  • Netanyahu's Putin campaign alienates Israel's Russian-speaking voters

    A new election poster of Netanyahu gloating about his relationship with the Russian authoritarian leader may have entirely missed the mark with younger Russian-speaking voters, revealing deep generational divides. By Lily Galili Over the past few years, Israel has seen a small stream of new immigrants from Russia. Tens of thousands of liberal, educated Jews from a fairly high socio-economic status are fleeing the country they had once thought they were going to spend their entire lives in, disgusted by the violent deterioration in democracy there. They are labeled the “Putin Aliyah,” in honor of the man who prompted their departure from Russia. [tmwinpost]…

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  • Israeli elections c'tee hasn't taken any steps to stop Arab voter intimidation

    Four months after the ruling Likud party led a voter intimidation campaign against Palestinian voters, the government body responsible for ensuring free and fair elections says it hasn't made any changes to its process. With just a few weeks before Israeli citizens head back to the polls for the second time this year, the government body responsible for supervising and regulating elections in Israel said it has not drawn any lessons and has not implemented any changes to prevent the repeat of a voter intimidation campaign that targeted Arab Palestinian voters in early 2019. [tmwinpost] On April 9, 2019, Election Day, a settler-aligned…

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  • Likud attempts to intimidate Palestinian voters with hidden ballot cams

    Poll workers from the Likud party are using hidden cameras to record Palestinian voters as they head to the polls on Election Day. The goal? To intimidate Arab citizens and make sure they stay home.  Members of the ruling Likud party placed at least 1,200 hidden cameras on poll workers across Palestinian towns and villages in Israel on Election Day Tuesday. Likud members said the goal was to prevent electoral fraud. [tmwinpost] Israeli police immediately detained a number of poll workers, taking them in for interrogation, while the Central Elections Committee released a statement clarifying that poll workers cannot photograph or record…

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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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  • 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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  • Don't believe the hype: The Israeli right is weaker than it seems

    The right had a decade to annex the West Bank, quash Palestinian aspirations, and thwart Hamas in Gaza. Yet today, more than ever, its invincibility is anything but certain. By Meron Rapoport The past decade belonged to the Israeli right. Since 2009, the right-wing bloc easily defeated its opponents and won elections, while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu became its undisputed leader and the most important political figure in Israel. In the past six years, the Jewish Home party — the rightmost mainstream political party — has held key posts in the government. [tmwinpost] Political commentators are in near-total agreement that a…

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  • Netanyahu will do all he can to destroy Jewish-Arab alliances

    The alliance between Palestinian citizens of Israel and the Jewish left has historically been viewed as a threat to the rule of the right. That's why Netanyahu is doing everything he can to undermine it. By Eli Bitan The Israeli right knows exactly how to harm the left: by making its alliance with Palestinian citizens not only impossible but illegitimate, thus drawing away its power. The Jewish left, for its part, has historically done enough to undermine this alliance. But recent events have created new possibilities — and that's why the right is coming out with guns blazing. [tmwinpost] This dynamic is…

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