The final deadline passed this afternoon for Israel’s political parties to register for the March 17 Knesset elections. Several last-minute decisions will substantially affect the map in the weeks ahead:
In 1988, Israel’s Central Election Commission banned the extremist lawmaker Rabbi Meir Kahane from running again for Knesset, on the grounds that his party was racist and undemocratic. Since then, he’s never been seen at the Knesset podium… apart from yesterday.
Liberal Internet users were quick to point out on Tuesday the irony in the fact that the seventh annual gathering of “Christians United for Israel” (CUFI) taking place in Convention Center in Washington D.C., coincided with a Israeli MK Michael Ben-Ari demonstratively tearing up a copy of the New Testament he received by mail, and throwing it into the trash, calling it ” an abominable book that brought about the murder of millions of Jews in the Inquisition and autos da fé” and “provocation by church missionaries.”
He’s not exactly known for his sensitivity, but Israeli lawmaker Michael Ben-Ari has rarely made a statement that has the potential to offend quite so many people.
Prime Minister Netanyahu’s decision to call early elections in September followed a “discreet” meeting with leaders of AIPAC, who told him that polls show President Obama heading for reelection in November—so writes Maariv chief diplomatic correspondent Ben Caspit, as reported by Noam Sheizaf on the left-wing, English-language Israeli site 972mag.com blog.
Israeli lawmaker Michael Ben-Ari has just come up with the ultimate harebrained idea. The Jewish nation, he believes, is in need of values, and who better to provide them than the Israeli soldier who just shocked the world with his brutality?
The Jerusalem Post reports today that Sunday’s torching of a Galilee mosque, believed by authorities to be the work of right-wing Jewish extremists, appears to be the latest sign that Jewish terrorism is “gaining steam” in Israel. The Post’s military correspondent, Yaakov Katz (bio) says the Shin Bet security service is worried that the phenomenon will only grow in the coming months as Palestinian statehood efforts intensify, and that they have “no clear way to stop this violence.”
Here in Israel, there has been no shortage of secular-religious tensions in recent weeks.