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July 3, 2015 / 16 Tammuz, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘election’

‘5 Shades of Israel’ Debate the Issues for Anglo Votes in Jerusalem

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

The top five political parties in Israel vied for the English-speaking vote in Jerusalem on Wednesday in a far more polite debate held at Cinema City in Jerusalem than is usually seen in Hebrew-speaking forums, in keeping with the cultural tenor of the audience.

JewishPress.com editor-in-chief Stephen Leavitt noted at the start of the event that Israel is home to nearly half a million “native English speakers” who have immigrated from countries as diverse at Australia, South Africa, the UK, Canada, the U.S. and other areas where the English language is spoken.

Representatives of the Likud, Yesh Atid, Bayit Yehudi, Yisrael Beytenu and Labor-Tnua merger parties addressed the anglo voters on a set of five core issues. Among those that has been raising blood pressure in Israel and abroad is the Iranian nuclear threat and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s planned trip next week to address a joint session of the U.S. Congress in Washington D.C.

Yisrael Beytenu representative Ashley Perry led off the responses by asking, “How can we take on Iran if we cannot successfully take on Hamas and Hezbollah? We can achieve a draw at best,” he said, pointing to the results of the recent operations carried out against terror groups in Gaza and Lebanon.

“We have to first deal with the more imminent threat on our borders,” Perry said. “We have to take the gloves off. We need to return deterrence. The next time a single rocket comes over, we need to respond with such impact that … quiet returns for generations.”

Yesh Atid representative and MK Rabbi Dov Lipman commented, “There are times when leaders speak with bravado, but create tremendous damage to Israel along the way… I see it when I travel abroad. There is a way to go about such things.” Netanyahu’s upcoming speech to Congress, Lipman contended, is “doing tremendous damage.” He insisted the Congress could have — and would have — come up with a two-thirds vote to “override” any deal with Iran that President Barack Obama would have brought before the Congress for approval. Now, he said, “Congress cannot do anything about it.”

Hillik Bar, representing the Herzog-Hatnua parties, said he believes in “smart diplomacy” and that in essence, he agreed with Lipman. “But this time I agree with Netanyahu in that we in Israel do not believe the Iranians when they say they are using their nuclear power for peace. We know better.” The difference, Bar said, was that his party differs with Likud on how to differentiate between “those Arabs who want to live with us and those who don’t — those who want to live here INSTEAD of us. With those, we should speak with them in the language of the IDF; on this we agree with Netanyahu,” he said.

Likud representative and former MK, Professor Benny Begin’s oratorial skills prompted even the moderator to lose track of his own timekeeping — for which he later apologized to the audience.

“What a miracle,” he began quietly. “I should remind you that in the last decade and up to about two years ago, everyone agreed that Prime Minister Netanyahu was exaggerating about the Iranian threat in order to keep the debate about “internal” issues. The P5+1 was claiming there was “no weapons program” there in Iran… everyone was insisting that Netanyahu was making it up.

“There was only one person who carried that banner and he carried it high. It speaks about the far-sighted ability of Netanyahu, and his courage to carry it in the face of major opposition from everyone… These guys are a menace not only to Israel but to the whole world.

Yesh Atid Prefers Herzog/Livni Over Netanyahu

Monday, February 9th, 2015

Shai Piron, the number 2 man in the Yesh Atid party said the party’s preference is to replace Netanyahu, and as such, given the choice would join a Herzog/Livni led coalition.

Piron said it is time for new leadership in Israel.

Livni and Herzog Negotiating Together to Defeat Netanyahu

Sunday, December 7th, 2014

Tzipi Livni (Hatnua) and Yitzchak Herzog (Labor) are reportedly talking about merging and running on a joint list.

The head of the party would be the one that is likely to win them the most votes to unseat Netanyahu.

Both Herzog and Livni repeatedly claim they are qualified to become Israel’s next Prime Minister.

Lapid is also reportedly making overtures with the both of them to form a left-wing bloc to run against Netanyahu.

Tunisians Voting for Legislators in First Nationwide Vote

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

For the first time ever, Tunisians are going to the polls today (October 26) to select the members of their country’s legislature.

Some 13,000 candidates representing more than 90 political parties ran for the 217 available seats in the legislature.

Voting began at 7 am and was set to wrap up at 6 pm local time, with results to be tallied shortly thereafter.

Elections for Tunisia’s president are scheduled to take place on November 23.

The polls follow the democratic reforms that enforced the country’s first free election of a constitutional council in 2011. By 2014, Tunisia had completed a new constitution. It has since been governed by a group of independent leaders headed by Mehdi Joma’a.

More than five million residents are eligible to vote in the nation that brought the upheaval of Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution and the subsequent region-wide Arab Spring to the Middle East.

Erdoğan Wins, Turkey Loses

Monday, August 11th, 2014

Erdoğan is now Turkey’s first-ever elected president. It’s expected Erdoğan will use the position to consolidate power, and further promote his Islamic and anti-Israel agenda.

He received 51.8% of the votes.

Abutbul Wins in Beit Shemesh Re-Vote

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

Moshe Abutbul, the Haredi candidate, beat out Eli Cohen, in the do-over election held on Tuesday.

Abutbul received 19190 votes, while Cohen received 18230, a difference of 960 votes. The difference is similar to the previous contested election, though 7% more people voted this time around.

The courts ordered that elections in Beit Shemesh be held again after the police found organized voter fraud had occurred, in favor of candidate Moshe Abutbul.

In this Beit Shemesh election, 76% of eligible voters voted, compared to 69.32% in 2013.

In the Nazareth re-vote, candidate Ali Salem defeated incumbent Ramez Jaraisi by more than 10,000 votes.

In the previous election, the difference was only 22 votes in Salem’s favor, and Salem was sworn in as mayor. Jaraisi and Salem went to court to disqualify some of each other’s votes, and as a result, the court ordered a re-vote of that entire election too.

In the re-vote in Nazareth, 83.6% of eligible voters voted, compared to 70.27% in 2013.

How Jerusalem’s Arabs Act Against Their Own Interests

Friday, October 18th, 2013

Originally published at Gatestone Institute.

As Israelis prepare to cast their ballots in the municipal elections next week, tens of thousands of eligible Arab voters in Jerusalem will once again boycott the democratic process.

In the past few days, the Palestinian Liberation Organization [PLO], Hamas and several other Palestinian organizations have called on the Arab residents of Jerusalem to stay away from the ballot boxes.

These organizations maintain that Arab participation in the municipal election would be interpreted as recognition of Israel’s decision to annex the eastern part of the city in the aftermath of the 1967 Israeli-Arab war.

As such, the vast majority of the Arab residents have since been boycotting the local election, mainly out of fear of being dubbed “traitors” by various Palestinian organizations.

But if anyone stands to lose from the boycott it is the Arabs themselves.

First, the boycott has done nothing to undermine Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem. Some would even argue that Israeli dominion over the city has never been as strong as it is these days, especially in wake of the Arab residents’ failure to take part in crucial decisions concerning their neighborhoods and villages.

Second, the boycott has severely harmed the interests of the Arab residents, who have been denied the chance to have representatives in the municipal council who would fight for better services and the improvement of their living conditions. The Arabs make up 25-30% of the city’s eligible voters, which means that they could have 7-8 representatives in the 31-seat municipal council. The boycott has denied the Arabs the opportunity to be directly involved in the planning of their neighborhoods.

While it is true that some Arabs boycott the municipal elections for ideological reasons, there is no denying the fact that many are also afraid of being targeted by extremists if they present their candidacy or go to the ballot boxes.

A few Arabs who in the past dared to challenge the boycott have faced death threats. One of them was newspaper publisher Hanna Siniora, who back in 1987 announced his intention to run in the municipal election. Siniora’s car was torched by members of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a move that forced him to retract his candidacy.

Eleven years later, another Arab, Mussa Alayan, defied the boycott by running at the head of an independent list. He received fewer than 3,000 votes and did not make it to the city council. Alayan could have probably become the first Arab council member had he and his supporters not faced a brutal and violent campaign by Palestinian activists.

Yet while Arab residents are boycotting the election, most of them continue to deal with the same municipality which they are not supposed to recognize. They even continue to pay taxes and fees to the municipality.

The Jerusalem Municipality has more than 1,500 Arab employees, and its various departments continue to provide many services to the Arab neighborhoods and villages in the city. These activities are taking place despite the Arab boycott that has been in effect since 1967.

Arabs who complain about lack of municipal services often seek the help of representatives of left-wing parties in the municipal council, such as Meretz.

Today, many Arabs in Jerusalem are not afraid to declare openly that they prefer to live under Israeli rule, and not under that of the Palestinian Authority or Hamas. The problem remains, however, that the overwhelming majority is still afraid of the radicals.

What is needed is a strong Arab leadership that would not hesitate to stand up to the radicals and question their goals. Such a leadership would have to make it clear that there should be a complete separation between the political issues and the day-to-day affairs of Jerusalem’s Arab population.

Until such leaders emerge, the Arabs in Jerusalem will, by boycotting the municipal elections, unfortunately continue to act against their own interests.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/khaled-abu-toameh/how-jerusalems-arabs-act-against-their-own-interests/2013/10/18/

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