Left-wing leader considering linkup with Arab party too, ‘to have a more significant left-wing element, Jewish and Arab’ ■ Hadash rules out partnership with ‘hypocritical’ Meretz
Labor chief Avi Gabbay and Meretz leader Tamar Zandberg.Ilan Assayag, Olivier Fitoussi
Who’s in and who’s out of Israel’s new Knesset? The good, the bad and the newly unemployed
The downfall of Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked
If there’s one conclusion from the Israeli election results, this is it
The Labor Party and Meretz have been examining the possibility of a merger, with the addition of candidates from Arab parties, following a bruising election that has halved their representation in the Knesset.
No concrete proposals have been put forward yet but lawmakers in both parties may advance such a step in the near future.
>> How Israeli Arab voters saved Meretz, the Druze got payback and kibbutzniks broke tradition ■ For real change, the Zionist left must drop its sense of Jewish supremacy | Opinion
Arab-majority Hadash rejected calls to join forces “with Meretz or anyone else” for now, arguing that with the six Knesset seats its joined slate with Ta’al gained, it is “the leading and biggest party among the Arab public.” Some Labor representatives also expressed reservations about a possible merger.
Labor, with 18 seats in the last Knesset, won only six this time, while Meretz was reduced from five seats to four.
Speaking of a potential merger, Meretz chairwoman Tamar Zandberg told Haaretz that “the components for such a linkup must include Labor, Meretz and a significant Arab figure or party, such as Hadash or a part of it.”
“Israel has to have a more significant left-wing element, Jewish and Arab,” Zandberg added. “The votes Meretz got in the latest election shows that this is possible. This is the time when there is a chance for things and I intend to help them happen. We need to begin to do this now. Israeli elections are called by surprise and now is a good time to take a step.”
Both Meretz and Labor were significantly shaken and lost a core base of supporters to the Kahol Lavan party. Meretz owes at least one of its four seats to Arab voters. Zandberg said that in hindsight, her proposal to Labor chairman Avi Gabbay to unite before the elections would have been the correct move to make.
“I proposed this because I expected a tsunami. I wanted to do it not as a lifeline because we had no choice but as a part of a more significant move by the left,” Zandberg said.
Labor MK Shelly Yacimovich wrote on Facebook this week that there had to be a distinction drawn between a possible linkup between Labor and Kahol Lavan or Meretz. But another Labor lawmaker, who asked to remain anonymous, said any linkup of the party with Meretz would likely damage the party’s base of support.
“It could be that linking up with Meretz is the right move,” the lawmaker said, “but such a unification could split the Labor Party and its supporters. Labor has a significant hawkish branch that has no common language with Meretz and its messages, and such a situation could split the party.”
Another senior Labor figure said: “All talk about uniting with Meretz at this stage is too early and unnecessary. At the moment the party has to undergo a healing phase. It has to choose a new chairperson. It has to understand how to confront its core base and see how to build itself into an alternative with only six Knesset seats.”
Labor Party chairman Gabbay has made clear he intends to leave his post as soon as possible. In talks with senior party figures he confirmed that he considered resigning the night of the election as soon as the failure became clear, but he didn’t want his departure to look like he was abandoning ship.
Tal Rousso, the number two on the Labor slate, also considered dropping out of the party on Thursday in light of the party’s electoral failure, but later reneged.
In the coming days Gabbay is expected to lead discussions about whether to move up a party leadership contest, which would be held within three months, or name a temporary chairperson and have the election held at a later time. Senior Labor figures said that if there’s a decision to name a temporary chairperson the leading candidate for the job is lawmaker Amir Peretz, but Peretz has apparently not decided whether he would be interested in taking the job.
Hadash lawmaker Youssef Jabareen harshly criticized some Meretz lawmakers who opposed a bill he proposed, to define Israel a “democratic and equal” state, as an antithesis to the Nation-State Law. Their vote “exposes Meretz’s hypocrisy,” Jabareen said.
“However, we’ll keep cooperating with opposition parties for a public front, as broad as possible, against the government’s occupation and discrimination policies,” he added.
Menachem Begin in December 1942 wearing the Polish Army uniform of Gen. Anders’ forces with his wife Aliza and David Yutan; (back row) Moshe Stein and Israel Epstein
(photo credit: JABOTINSKY ARCHIVES)
During the inauguration of a memorial to the victims of the Siege of Leningrad in Jerusalem’s Sacher Park on January 24, 2020, before the climax of Holocaust remembrance events at which Russian President Vladimir Putin was given a central platform, we were stunned to hear a rendition of The Blue Kerchief (Siniy
Giant figures are seen during the 87th carnival parade of Aalst February 15, 2015
The annual carnival in Aalst, Belgium, is expected to take place on Sunday with even more antisemitic elements than in previous years.
Aalst’s organizers have sold hundreds of “rabbi kits” for revelers to dress as hassidic Jews in the carnival’s parade. The kit includes oversized noses, sidelocks (peyot) and black hats. The organizers plan to bring back floats similar to the one displayed in 2019 featuring oversized dolls of Jews, with rats on their shoulders, holding banknotes.
Pope Francis waves as he arrives at the Basilica of Saint Nicholas in the southern Italian coastal city of Bari, Italy February 23, 2020. Photo: REUTERS/Remo Casilli.
Pope Francis on Sunday warned against “inequitable solutions” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying they would only be a prelude to new crises, in an apparent reference to US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace proposal.
Francis made his comments in the southern Italian port city of Bari, where he traveled to conclude a meeting of bishops from all countries in the Mediterranean basin.
Palestinians walk past a shop selling fruits in Ramallah, Feb. 20, 2020. Photo: Reuters / Mohamad Torokman.
Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) have reached an agreement to end a five-month long trade dispute, officials said on Thursday.
The dispute, which opened a new front in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, began in September when the PA announced a boycott of Israel calves. The PA exercises limited self-rule in the West Bank under interim peace deals.
Antisemitic caricatures on display at the annual carnival in Aalst, Belgium. Photo: Raphael Ahren via Twitter.
Disturbing images emerged on Sunday of the annual carnival at Aalst, Belgium, showing an astounding number of antisemitic themes, costumes, displays and statements.
Israeli journalist Raphael Ahren documented people dressed as caricatures of Orthodox Jews, a fake “wailing wall” attacking critics of the parade, blatantly antisemitic characters and puppets wearing traditional Jewish clothes and sporting huge noses.
The stench of anti-Semitism always hovers over Switzerland’s Lake Geneva when the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) is meeting there. The foul emanations reached a new nadir last week with UNHRC’s publication of a “database” of companies doing business in the disputed territories in Israel.
Following the publication of the list, Bruno Stagno Ugarte, deputy director for advocacy of NGO Human Rights Watch, stated, “The long-awaited release of the U.N. settlement business database should put all companies on notice: To do business with illegal settlements [sic] is to aid in the commission of war crimes.”
One of the many things that annoys me about politicians is how sure they are of themselves. Everything is black and white. Every idea is good or bad. Take globalism, for example. You either love it or hate it. It works or it doesn’t.
Another thing that annoys me is how so much of a politician’s life revolves around power: Do everything you can to get it, and everything you can to keep it.
Why am I ranting? Because, while our politicians have been consumed with power and the media with the fights over power, a threat to our nation has been virtually ignored.
Blue and White Party leaders Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid are establishing their diplomatic credentials in the immediate run-up to Israel’s March 2 election with an insult to a U.S. administration that has arguably provided Israel with more diplomatic gains than any previous administration.
The Times of Israel reported that at a campaign stop in front of English-speaking Israelis, Gantz accused Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “of neglecting bipartisan ties in favor of exclusive support from U.S. President Donald Trump’s Republican Party,” under the headline “Gantz pledges to mend ties with U.S. Democrats if elected.”
Bipartisanship was in short supply at the State of the Union address earlier this month—with one notable exception.
Nancy Pelosi had been looking dyspeptic, shuffling the papers she would later rip to shreds, when President Donald Trump reminded his audience that “the United States is leading a 59-nation diplomatic coalition against the socialist dictator of Venezuela, Nicolás Maduro.”
Suddenly, the House Speaker applauded. Trump then introduced “the true and legitimate president of Venezuela: Juan Guaidó.”
The law professor Alan Dershowitz has thrown a legal hand-grenade into America’s political civil war by claiming to have evidence that former President Barack Obama “personally asked” the FBI to investigate someone “on behalf” of Obama’s “close ally,” billionaire financier George Soros.
He made his cryptic remark in an interview defending U.S. President Donald Trump against claims he interfered in the prosecution of his former adviser, Roger Stone.