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ultra-Orthodox Jews

  • 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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  • The Israeli right stopped talking about occupation, and that will hurt it at the polls

    Netanyahu has joined forces with religious radicals who have stopped talking about Palestinians and are instead pushing a homophobic and sexist agenda. It may just might seal his political doom. By Meron Rapoport It didn't take long for Prime Minister Netanyahu to use the doomsday weapon against Avigdor Liberman immediately following the last elections. Netanyahu blamed his former ally for torpedoing the establishment of a right-wing government, announcing to a group of journalists that “Liberman is part of the left” as part of a last-ditch effort to delegitimize the Yisrael Beitenu leader. [tmwinpost] The accusation was so strange — considering what the public knows about Liberman —…

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  • Once there's no Palestinian suspect, the media loses interest

    The media played a key role in turning a Palestinian man into the top suspect in a recent child rape case. But ever since charges against him were dropped, the press seems to have lost interest in the case. By Uzi Benziman If you Google the recent rape case of a seven-year-old ultra-Orthodox girl in an ultra-Orthodox settlement in the West Bank, you will find tens of thousands of results. At least until June 25. [tmwinpost] After all, that was the day Mahmoud Katusa, a Palestinian from a nearby village who was falsely indicted on child rape charges, was released from prison once it became clear…

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  • How the media helped turn an innocent Palestinian into a child rapist

    Mahmoud Katusa, who was falsely accused of raping a 7-year-old Jewish girl, fell victim to a press and a public atmosphere that views Palestinians as guilty until proven innocent. By Uzi Benziman In order to understand the false allegations against Mahmoud Katusa, a Palestinian man from the West Bank who was wrongfully accused of raping a 7-year-old Jewish girl, one should listen to what Dr. Suzy Ben Baruch, the former head of the Israel Police Juvenile Department, told Army Radio last week. [tmwinpost] Speaking on an evening show, Ben Baruch firmly stated that Katusa's was “the perfect case.” The victim's "early…

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  • The right wing in Israel is in a deep crisis

    Snap elections just weeks after Israelis went the polls are the result of a rivalry between Liberman and Netanyahu, but that's just part of the story. The right is immersed in a crisis of identity, leadership, and politics. By Meron Rapoport What happened to Avigdor Liberman? Why did he insist on cutting short what will become the shortest Knesset term in Israeli history? Was it his deep personal hatred for Netanyahu or was he simply settling a score? Was it an opportunity to build himself up politically before disappearing alongside his small, sectorial party? [tmwinpost] Amid all the questions remains…

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  • Why are Israeli liberals suddenly courting a far-right nationalist?

    Liberman's political maneuvering may just bring about King Bibi's downfall, but that doesn't mean secular liberals should forget the reasons they opposed him all these years. Avigdor Liberman has, over the past decade, exerted a greater impact on Israel’s political discourse than any other lawmaker. In just a few years, he made once unthinkable ideas — such as stripping Palestinian citizens of their citizenship and forcing them to swear oaths of loyalty to the Jewish state — part of the mainstream discourse. [tmwinpost] Today, Israeli liberals and their intelligentsia are ready to ignore or brush aside Liberman’s racist, hyper-nationalist remarks and polices, while…

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  • The price Mizrahim pay for serving in the Israeli army

    Mizrahim are forced to carry out the dirty work of the occupation, coming face to face with their Palestinian subjects in the West Bank. It doesn't have to be this way. It is hard to know for sure what kind of considerations are at the heart of the growing crisis between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Avigdor Liberman, which may result in snap elections, should they not be able to form a coalition together. [tmwinpost] But there is something almost ludicrous about the fact that they are unable to agree upon an issue that, in all respects, is one of…

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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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  • This is what it looks like to be hit by Israel's 'Skunk'

    The 'Skunk,' a foul-smelling liquid most often used to suppress Palestinian demonstrations, is now finding a new target: ultra-Orthodox Jews.  For much of the past year, Israeli forces have been using a foul-smelling liquid shot from a water cannon at high velocity to try and put down a burgeoning protest movement by ultra-Orthodox Jews in Jerusalem. On Sunday, Activestills photographer Oren Ziv captured the weapon, known as the "Skunk," firing at the protesters, and striking a Palestinian from East Jerusalem who was accidentally caught in the melee. [tmwinpost] The protest was held by the followers of Rabbi Shmuel Auerbach, the head of a radical Jerusalem ultra-Orthodox…

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  • Netanyahu can count on U.S. Jews to stay silent on the occupation

    The prime minister sparked controversy when he announced he wouldn't be speaking at the biggest Jewish American event of the year. But Bibi knows that no matter what, American Jews won’t speak out against his occupation policies. Prime Minister Netanyahu knows that no matter what, he can count on American Jews not to speak out against the occupation. [tmwinpost] Netanyahu initially announced last week that he would not be addressing the annual Jewish Federation of North America’s General Assembly, prompting journalists and Jewish leaders alike to speculate. Unnamed “senior sources” intimated to Haaretz that the prime minister was unwilling to share…

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  • What's dividing Israeli society? Just don't mention the occupation

    Is it possible to discuss the sources of Israeli disunity without addressing the country’s military regime in the West Bank and siege on Gaza? Can Israelis ever accept Palestinians as part of that conversation? The plight, let alone the very existence of millions of disenfranchised people living under Israeli military rule, was nowhere to be found at the Anti-Defamation League's first-ever Summit on Social Cohesion in Israel Tuesday. Actually, that's not entirely correct. [tmwinpost] “We are no longer the occupiers, we have become the occupied,” former Defense Minister and erstwhile Labor Party leader Amir Peretz declared ironically to the hundreds…

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  • 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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