Archive for the ‘Middle East’ Category

By Sima Kadmon, columnist at Yedioth Ahronoth

If anyone feels shame, affront, sadness, frustration and despair today—there is no way to ease these feelings. These are our ministers and MKs. This is our prime minister and his bureau staff, who despite how it looks [to the public], pushed and pushed the disgraceful bill that passed last night, with one goal in mind: To preserve Netanyahu’s hold on power.

It was not done secretly, not in the dark; we, the Israeli public, were mugged in broad daylight and in full view. We were robbed of our elementary right to know what public figures are accused of. We have been denied the privilege that every citizen in a democratic country has, to know for whom they are voting.
Despite the cumulative experience that the Israeli public has, we were hard put to believe that this would happen. That our legislature would indeed reach the bottom of the cesspit into which it has fallen, and that such a foul, despicable and anti-democratic bill would be passed into law. [Read more →]

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On Saturday night, Darkeu screened this video to tens of thousands of Israelis, gathered in Rabin Square, who watched in stunned silence. Twenty-two years ago to the day, at that very spot, Yitzhak Rabin was murdered after months of the sort of incitement, hate and violence that is once again rising in Israel. On Saturday, Israel’s moderate majority gathered in the square, united in determination to never again let extremists determine their country’s future.

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[Read more →]

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Piece below by Yoram Raved Adv.

Yoram is a former Adviser of P.M. Ariel Sharon and was an active member in the Israeli – Palestinian Track II diplomacy between 2006 and 2009

Israeli – Palestinian Agreement – Before it is too late

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a national conflict between the Zionist movement and the Palestinian national movement. To understand the roots of the conflict, an historical perspective is necessary.

During the 19th century, the idea of nationalism spread across Europe and as a result, the continent’s citizens demanded the establishment of different nation states. The most significant expression of nationalism was the Spring of Nations in 1848. The 1848 revolutions along with the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian Empire after World War I are in many ways responsible to the evolvement of the European statehood.

The idea of nationalism left its mark on the secular Jewish community in Europe, and as a result (although the rising violence and antisemitism across Europe also played a role), the Bilu Movement (a movement whose goal was the agricultural settlement of the Land of Israel) was created, and led the first secular Aliyah (an Hebrew word for immigration of Jews from the diaspora to the Land of Israel) (the “First Aliyah”). The First Aliyah was the first time non-religious Jews were seeking to build a national home for the Jewish people in Israel (1882).

So these are the roots of the conflict. Once the Jewish people developed the aspirations to build a Jewish country between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, and when some make historical claims (based on the Bible) even in regards to the other side of the Jordan River or believe the Jewish country’s borders should be drawn between the Nile and Euphrates and Tigris, it is a zero-sum game – as each side claims the entire country.

[Read more →]

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By Maayan Lubell

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered an unprecedented vilification of the Israeli media on Monday, accusing a leading television journalist of being part of a plot to bring down his right-wing government.

After declining to be interviewed by Channel Two anchorwoman Ilana Dayan for a piece investigating the workings of his administration and the role his wife plays in appointing officials, Netanyahu’s office sent a written statement.

Dayan read it in its entirety on air, taking six minutes to deliver the tirade against her as she stood in front of the prime minister’s office.

“It is time to peel the mask off the face of Ilana Dayan, who has shown once more that she has no professional integrity,” the statement said.

[Read more →]

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Amos Oz, as always, provides interesting insights on a variety of topics in this succinct interview on BBC

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Shimon Peres was the last of his kind

By Ari Shavit

Unlike other Jews who succeeded him in power, Peres always knew that to be a Jew also meant to be universal and moral; to be on the correct, enlightened side of history.

True, he founded Israel Aircraft Industries (1953), made the decision about the Entebbe Operation (1976), saved Israel from hyperinflation (1985) and got the army out of most of Lebanon (1985). He tried the London agreement (1987) led the Oslo process (1993), and succeeded in turning himself from a controversial politician into a beloved president (2007).

But the real contribution Shimon Peres made to the Jewish state was the amazing work he did in Paris in the mid-1950s that led to the construction of the nuclear reactor in Dimona.

Against powerful counterforces, David Ben-Gurion’s sorcerer’s apprentice succeeded in spreading the strategic security net that assured Israel’s existence. Against all odds, the 34-year-old kibbutznik erected above us that invisible glass dome that allows us to lead almost sane lives in this crazy place.

But Peres was never really a kibbutznik. He was a child of the Jewish Diaspora who arrived from Europe before the disaster to the Ben Shemen Youth Village and tried all his life to become an Israeli. He was the beloved grandson of the grandfather killed in the Holocaust, and all his life he tried to flee the past into the future.

[Read more →]

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I just recently had a chance to read Ehud Barak’s speech from earlier this summer in full and I truly consider it to be one of the most important commentaries in years on the challenges Israel faces.

On the State of the Nation—and what is to be done?

A speech at the IDC, Herzliya, June 16, 2016

Greetings,

This year, we mark 120 years since the First Zionist Congress in Basel. Next year, we will mark 70 years since the UN resolution that led to the establishment of the State of Israel and 50 years since the Six-Day War. This is undoubtedly an appropriate time for introspection.

We have had great achievements. Zionism is the most successful national project of the 20th century. It is the shared project of a bold and far-reaching leadership and a nation that stood on the brink of disaster, defied it, and survived.

Three years after the fires in the crematoria were extinguished, the State of Israel, led by David Ben-Gurion, was born into war. Despite the difficulties—seven wars, two (or perhaps three) intifadas, countless operations in between, and quite a bit of other kinds of trouble—Israel could look back at its history with contentment and pride.

[Read more →]

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A joint poll conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute (IDI) in Jerusalem and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research (PSR) in Ramallah and released on August 22, 2016 shed some interesting insights on the state of public opinion on both sides.  The findings include:

A slight majority of Israelis and Palestinians support the two-state solution. However, they do not trust each other, have disparate views on the terms of a permanent settlement, underestimate the level of compromise on the other side, and view its intentions as threatening. Nonetheless, at least a quarter of the opposition to a permanent settlement on both sides is flexible and it is likely that its opinion might be changed with the right incentives.

STATISTICAL HIGHLIGHTS BELOW

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This article scratches the surface of the challenge I have been hearing from Israeli friends across a spectrum of politics from right to left: Netanyahu’s methodical and obsessive effort to dismantle independent journalism and dispirit and intimidate any media critics.

 

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