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  • Meretz facing internal pressure to become Jewish-Arab party

    As the Zionist left struggles to stay relevant, some members of Meretz are proposing a new way forward. Top members of the Zionist left-wing Meretz party are trying to transform their party into one based on full Jewish-Arab partnership, just a month after it passed the election threshold thanks in large part to increased support from the Arab vote. [tmwinpost] The demand, put forth by an internal Meretz group known as the Forum for Jewish-Arab Cooperation, calls on the party leadership to either formally join with Hadash-Ta’al — a union of the Arab-Jewish Hadash party and Ahmad Tibi’s Ta’al party — or transition into…

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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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  • How do Israeli journalists report on a place they can't reach?

    For the past 11 years, Israeli journalists have been forbidden from entering Gaza. This has affected not only their reporting, but also the way fellow Israelis understand what is happening there. By Oren Ziv / Activestills.org The main obstacle that faces anyone who wants to report on what is happening at Gaza protests from the Israeli side of the border is that one can hear the gunfire, see the smoke, report on the army’s conduct, and estimate the number of protesters — and yet, you cannot get the full story. A journalist from East Jerusalem who often covers the goings on…

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  • WATCH: What is Israel really doing for LGBTQ rights?

    Much fanfare accompanies the Knesset's annual LGBTQ rights day. But this year, as last year, the event coincided with a raft of LGBTQ rights legislation being shot down. Read more: Why the struggle for LGBT rights in Israel is far from over Why I interrupted a pro-army LGBTQ event in Tel Aviv Increasing homophobia mars Knesset LGBT day

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  • Where have Israel's leftists gone? The changing face of Labor

    The Labor party is convinced that it can somehow disassociate itself with the Left, call itself the ‘center’ and sneak its way back into power with semantic tricks. It will take the entire left-wing camp down with it. By Tom Cohen Last year, a delegation of Knesset members went to visit PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas. Among the MKs who participated were Hilik Bar of Labor and Tamar Zandberg of Meretz. There had been a terror attack a few days earlier and there was some pressure to cancel the visit. But MK Bar, who was the head of the Knesset’s Two-State…

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  • Excluded from politics, Orthodox women fight back

    The next Knesset is expected to have a record number of women, but even that number — 31 out of 120 — isn't all that impressive. 'Either we do something now and fight for representation, or we will be silenced for generations to come,' founder of ultra-Orthodox women's party says. By Angela Gruber If recent polls are to be believed, the next Knesset is set to achieve a historical record: the representation of women could be the highest in its history. When you look at the actual numbers, however, the record is less impressive. Women make up half of the population…

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  • Knesset approves bill that could push Arab parties out

    After a stormy night session, the coalition was able to pass the necessary amendments and election laws that would make it more difficult to topple a government and eliminate small factions. Left-wing and Palestinian members of Knesset protested the legislation in 'silent speeches.' Ultra-Orthodox MK Eichler spoke to the Arab public in Arabic, saying 'we are with you.' (video below) During the last session of the Knesset before its summer recess, the coalition was able to pass a first reading of the “governance legislation,” - an amendment to Israel's Basic Laws - which would make it more difficult for the…

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  • MKs join hundreds of women praying at Western Wall, defying law

    Hundreds of women - including MKs Tamar Zandberg (Meretz), Stav Shaffir (Labor) and Michal Rozin (Meretz) -  gathered at Jerusalem's Western Wall in honor of Rosh Hodesh (first of the Hebrew calendar month, today, Nissan) Tuesday morning. They joined the usual group of women from the Women of the Wall movement, who go every month at 7 a.m. to pray there on the other side of the barricade separating them from the men - but are often harassed and prevented from doing so - and even at times, arrested. According to the regulations at the Western Wall, as determined by its chief rabbi, and…

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  • Debate: Does J14 herald a new political era in Israel?

    By Libby Lenkinski & Noam Sheizaf For a month now, Israel has been going through an unprecedented upheaval. What started as a small protest at the heart of Tel Aviv over housing costs, turned into a nation-wide call for social justice, which had brought hundreds of thousands to the streets. Some feel that this unexpected event marks an opportunity for a radical transformation of the political debate in Israel; others are not so sure. Critics of the protest pointed to the fact that most of the protesters come from the secular upper middle class; that they lack a clear political…

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