Caught between growing extremism on the right and a battered left, Israelis are flocking to a new crop of centrist politicians who prioritize economic issues over solving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Galia Ben Haim discussed her political opinions while driving back from jail. In addition to her day job, she volunteers at a women’s prison. The inmates, she says, committed their crimes after Israel’s social institutions failed them. In the last two elections the 48-year-old mother of four says she voted for Yesh Atid, the centrist party founded by TV icon Yair Lapid in 2013. She is considering supporting them a third time when Israel holds…Read More... | 9 Comments
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…Read More... | 11 Comments
The political map in Israel hasn't fundamentally changed since a decade ago, when left-wing voters migrated to the center and centrist voters moved right. The last week has seen feverish speculation about the possibility of early elections in Israel, primarily against the backdrop of infighting about how to handle Gaza. Defense Minister Liberman resigned and the governing coalition teetered; but on Monday the Jewish Home party announced its intention to remain, pulling Israel back from the brink of elections — for the moment. The situation is so volatile that new elections could still be called early — in March or May.…Read More... | 21 Comments
In under 24 hours, Netanyahu and his cronies attacked left-wing NGOs, tried to shut down Israel's public broadcaster, and starting advancing a law that would give the prime minister immunity for corruption charges. By Yossi Dahan What transpired in the Israeli government over a 24-hour period this past weekend is nothing short of nauseating. [tmwinpost] It began with a scathing attack by Prime Minister Netanyahu on top police officials in response to news reports that police renewed the investigations against him in a number of corruption scandals. Netanyahu attacked the national police commissioner for allegedly leaking details of the investigations. Immediately after…Read More... | 1 Comment
The editor of Israeli media watchdog The Seventh Eye, Shuki Tausig, explains the current scandals involving Netanyahu and the media, and what they mean for journalism and democracy in Israel. The Israeli media is often lauded by outsiders as fierce and independent, often in order to demonstrate the ostensible strength of the country’s democracy. But a number of public scandals and political dramas over the past few months have exposed a far less flattering picture. [tmwinpost] Most of the story includes Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in one way or another. The latest political showdown saw Netanyahu trying to shut down…Read More...
I don't know what sanctions the Israeli government can impose on me for boycotting products made in the settlements, but I'll accept them proudly. By Eitan Kalinski Israel’s Minister for Strategic Affairs, Gilad Erdan, this week recommended to Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon that a special committee be set up to put together a blacklist of companies, organizations and individuals that call for a boycott of products made in West Bank settlements. [tmwinpost] I, the undersigned, am not a limited company nor an organization; I am a private individual who has personally undertaken not to buy products from the settlements. It’s written…Read More... | 20 Comments
Palestinians working in Israel will see thousands of shekels reduced annually from their barely sufficient salary, as per an amendment proposed by Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon. The arguments he put forth are hair-raisingly infuriating. By Ala Khatib Every now and again the Israeli government declares that it intends to ease restrictions on Palestinian employment in Israel – from improving the workflow at West Bank checkpoints to clamping down on the bribes they need to pay to get a permit (up to a third of their monthly salary, in some cases). Earlier this year, outgoing Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon said that…Read More... | 1 Comment
My dear leftists, there's really no reason to ask the last person to leave Israel to turn out the lights, as many of you have done over the last 48 hours. Most chances are that things will remain just as bad as they are – which is, in itself, hardly a reason to rejoice. By Gilad Halpern The pioneering 1970s rock band Kaveret (Hebrew for beehive) was groundbreaking in many respects. Other than their huge musical contribution, the band's repertoire included comical, sometimes nonsensical songs that stood in stark contrast to the earnest, stuffy folk songs that had hitherto characterized…Read More...
The Israeli prime minister called elections hoping to strengthen his coalition, but he underestimated the personal resentment many Israelis feel toward him. One shouldn't, however, confuse the fierce competition for power with a battle over ideas: even if Labor wins, the end of the occupation is not around the corner. When Benjamin Netanyahu decided to fire Finance Minister Yair Lapid and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and send Israelis to the polls for the second time in a little over two years, many people (myself included) defined these elections as “a referendum on Netanyahu.” Final results will only be in on…Read More... | 12 Comments
The use of racially loaded code words at an anti-Netanyahu rally highlights the inter-Jewish racism that has plagued Israeli society and politics since day one. A look at the correlation between ethnic background and voting patterns. The anti-Netanyahu rally in Tel Aviv Saturday night was meant to be a high point of the campaign to oust Israel's prime minister in next week’s general elections — a last hoorah before a triumphant storming of the polls. But as such events go, it left a lot to be desired. The turnout was unimpressive, the speakers predictable, and the mood, attendees reported after the event,…Read More... | 5 Comments
It is no wonder that Mizrahim vote for right-wing parties when the Ashkenazi-dominated Left has done everything in its power to exclude them. Want things to change? Start talking about Ashkenazi privilege. By Tom Mehager Those who have, historically, voted for Israel's left-wing camp are often nicknamed "the white tribe." On the other hand, the right wing enjoys a high percentage of Mizrahi voters. Why? In the run-up to the elections, it might be worth taking a look at this question. First of all, the social categories "Mizrahim" and "Asheknazis" are nowhere to be found in the platforms of Israel's…Read More... | 16 Comments
The esteemed historian, former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. and CNN commentator is now back in Israel running for public office, and he has a plan. The problem is it doesn't align with the facts. By Shemuel Meir It turns out that "spin" isn't exclusively in the Israel's prime minister’s domain. Michael Oren, Israel's former ambassador to Washington and current diplomatic poster boy for Moshe Kahlon's "Kulanu" party, recently laid out the nascent party's policies vis-a-vis the core issues of the Palestinian conflict, and how to put an end to the crisis between Israel and the U.S. According to Oren…Read More... | 5 Comments
Netanyahu has more paths to the Prime Minister's Office than Herzog, but also more party leaders who oppose him personally. Seventy-one days ahead of Israel’s general elections, two major stories are dominating the political news cycle: the showdown between Shas’s former leaders – Aryeh Deri and Eli Yishai – and the corruption affair involving senior politicians from Avigdor Liberman’s Israel Beitenu party. Both Shas and Liberman lost some ground in last week’s polls, while Yishai’s newly formed party is coming close to passing the Knesset threashold, currently at 4 seats (3.25 percent of the votes). Netanyahu’s Likud party held its…Read More... | 17 Comments
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