Far from any grand debate about the “Deal of the Century”, the preferences of a few key minority groups will most likely tilt the balance of Israel’s third consecutive general election. Here’s why.
- The divide between state and religion is back at the center of Israel’s politics, and promises to remain so for a long time. A headache for any government that will come out of political negotiations, or an unprecedent third election round.
- As the Israeli left looks to be heading towards yet another disastrous election, former 2011 Tent Protest leader Yonatan Levi reflects on the heritage of that historic mobilization: where has all that energy, and political demands, gone?
- In the Islamic world’s leadership void, concentrated above all on fratricidal struggles and caught off-guard by Donald Trump’s leap forward – or perhaps having allowed itself to be taken by surprise – Recep Tayyip Erdoğan aims to become the leader.
- Any development involving Israel becomes a Rorschach test for many Americans, probably even for larger numbers of non-Jews than Jews. Israel’s recent elections lit up a spectrum of reactions that revealed more about the reactors’ own temperaments, ideologies, and even their feelings about Jews, than about what the elections themselves actually reflected and portend. At one end there is gloating, and at the other doom-saying, but to assess the situation intelligently, we need to look at it morally and politically — not moralistically or ideologically— or we will only exacerbate a politics of paroxysm that forecloses politics itself.
- On Tuesday 22 January 2013 Israelis have gone to the polls to elect a new parliament (Knesset) and government. No one is expecting big surprises and Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s current Prime Minister from the right-wing Likud party, is widely believed to retain his post. He is expected to form a governing coalition with a grouping of nationalist, religious and orthodox parties much in the same fashion as he did following the 2009 vote. The election campaign, inaugurated on the heels of a bloody eight day escalation of violence against Hamas in mid-November 2012, has not been witness to significant excitements, and other than Israel’s continued shift to the right, little new can be extrapolated from the run up to the vote.
- A growing chorus of Israeli, Palestinian and international voices are questioning whether a two-state framework for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is still applicable given the current realities on the ground in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). Nineteen years since the signing of the Oslo Accords in September 1993 and notwithstanding a massive international effort towards the creation of an independent Palestinian state, a lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is still a distant and by no means guaranteed outcome. The two-state framework, based on a partition of the land and the creation of a yet-to-be defined Palestinian state living side by side with Israel is by far the most accepted outcome for the conflict. It is endorsed by the great majority of domestic and international players and according to opinion polls still enjoys a sizable majority among the respective Israeli and Palestinian communities.
- Inside the country, meanwhile, debate is rising toward a boiling point that could start the civil war that almost began with the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin by a right-wing orthodox Jew in 1995. Then again, to hear some people tell it, Israel is always heading into a civil war. There are Israelis like the many who contribute to Haaretz who are stirring deep feelings of misgiving and outraged dignity among others who sense, as many of us Americans did during the Vietnam and Bush years, that something in their republic was being stolen. This can't go on without a fight.