The racial and cultural schisms dividing the Mizrahi and Ashkenaz communities have never been more problematic, but can this soon come to an end?
The Netanyahu government’s most left-wing member, environmental defense minister Amir Peretz, quit the cabinet on Sunday and declared war on the prime minister, vowing to work for a new government committed to peace and economic justice. Peretz, a onetime Labor Party chairman and defense minister, is a member of Tzipi Livni’s Hatnuah party.
To understand why Shelly Yachimovich was booted out as head of the Israel Labor Party after just two years on the job, it helps to note that Labor has had a bad habit, ever since Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination in 1995, of changing leaders every time it holds a primary.
Tensions within Israel’s governing coalition are reaching a boiling point over the impending release of 26 more prisoners as part of a peace deal.
Israel’s latest announcement of permits for 1,200 new housing units in the West Bank and East Jerusalem has stirred a hornets’ nest of angry responses. Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said it could undermine the negotiating process before it’s even started. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said America does “not accept the legitimacy of continued settlement activity” and had communicated its “concerns” to the Israeli government. And Haaretz diplomatic correspondent Barak Ravid wrote in a scathing blog post today that Bibi Netanyahu still hasn’t decided whether he’s ready to “cross the Rubicon.”
More than half of all donations made to Israeli politicians’ campaigns over the past two years came from overseas contributors.
The Israel Labor Party chose a new leader in a primary runoff on Tuesday. The winner, Shelly Yacimovich, is a former television news anchor whom polls show to have the most realistic chance of leading the battered party back to major-party status after a decade of what has seemed like terminal decline.
“I’m going to tell you something that might surprise you,” novelist A.B. Yehoshua said over coffee in his hometown this past Monday. “I think this was a successful war.”
Virtually everyone on the Knesset’s prestigious Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee wants a state commission of inquiry into this summer’s war in Lebanon — everyone, that is, but members of Ehud Olmert’s ruling Kadima party.
In the wake of the Lebanon war, influential policy makers in Washington and Jerusalem have begun pushing for a major diplomatic opening to Syria.