As expected, when the Joint List of four Arab-dominated parties boycotted the funeral of Shimon Peres, the result was fanfare and headlines. Opinions about this conspicuous absence are divided in both the Arab and Jewish sectors. The arguments miss the real question, though: What is the political significance of this boycott? What did Ayman Odeh (head of the Joint List) hope to achieve? Peres had critics among both Arabs and Jews, from Likud supporters to some on the Left. There is little doubt that Odeh’s action increases the separation between Jews and Arabs. It is a gap that has already been widened by politicians on all sides: Netanyahu and Miri Regev excel at cultivating it, but Yair Lapid and Isaac Herzog have also been known to do so.
For more than a week, Syrian and Russian aircraft have bombarded and terrorized the city of Aleppo, killing men, women and children. Assad ordered an aerial and infantry assault to win the war. Ground troops composed of Iraqi militiamen, the Iranian Re…
Following Netanyahu’s Facebook video on September 9th, in which he dubbed as ethnic cleansing any attempt to remove Israeli settlements from the West Bank, he received thousands of likes and much commentary in the media. Pundits tried to guess what had motivated Netanyahu to make a video so surreal and irrational, in which he lashed out against the whole world, a world that opposes the occupation and settlements and views them as a crime against humanity. The problem is that the commentators and journalists are unable to ask the person elected by the public what motivated him. Netanyahu recently invited some of them to closed, private meetings, “briefed” them, but refused to answers questions or give interviews. On the other hand he acts as if he’s an ordinary citizen who shares his thoughts on social media, as implied at the end of the video – “It’s about time someone said it. I just did.”
“Trump is unacceptable. Why are you still endorsing him?” Obama asked members of the Republican Party one hundred days before the next presidential election and six months before leaving office. It is a completely legitimate question, but it is no less legitimate to ask: How did the world’s most important superpower get to a point where Donald Trump became the Republican presidential candidate after easily trouncing all other rivals? How can it be that after almost eight years, Obama leaves behind a conflicted, angry and divisive country in which one candidate constitutes a danger not only to America, but to the entire world?
Against the backdrop of successive wars between Israel and Gaza, a storm is raging around the recent reconciliation agreement between Israel and Turkey. Two Israeli families whose dead sons are in the hands of Hamas accuse Netanyahu of abandoning them because he did not condition the reconciliation on Hamas’ return of the bodies (the assumption being that Turkey could pressure Hamas). In another development, referring to Israel’s raid in 2010 on a Gaza-bound flotilla from Turkey that was meant to break the blockade of Gaza, Hanin Zoabi (Joint List) caused uproar in the Knesset when she referred to the soldiers who killed nine flotilla members as “murderers.” An interesting question is this: what led Netanyahu and Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, two leaders whose worldviews are light years apart, to reach an agreement that once seemed unattainable?
They are not just four generals. They are former chiefs of staff, and they are outraged by the fact that their intractable prime minister has appointed an inexperienced Moldavian as defense minister. Of this man it is said: “The closest he ever came to a bullet was a tennis ball whistling past his ear.” The amply decorated generals are soldiers of demonstrated heroism: this one held his fire till he saw the whites of the enemy’s eyes, that one took part in assassinating Abu Jihad on the shore of Tunisia. In stark contrast, the newly appointed defense minister immigrated, settled in the West Bank, and got rich; his heroism has been confined to stonewalling numerous police investigations for corruption. The contrast between Avigdor Lieberman and the group of military men (Moshe Ya’alon, Gabi Ashkenazi, Benny Gantz and Ehud Barak) could hardly be stronger.