“Schlaglicht Israel” offers an insight into internal Israeli debates and reflects selected, political events that affect daily life in Israel. It appears every two weeks and summarizes articles that appeared in the Israeli daily press.
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Main topics covered in this Publication:
- Israel’s New Government Starts Work
- Increase in New Corona Infections / PA Sends Back Vaccination Doses
- Concern in Israel After Raisi’s Election Victory
- Selection of Articles
1. Israel’s New Government Starts Work
Israel’s new government can begin healing a divided society
Israel’s most famous diplomat, Abba Eban, had good reason to once observe that in a country like Israel, those who do not believe in miracles are unrealistic. It appears as if Israel is now witnessing a new miracle. Israel’s new “coalition for change” is composed of eight factions that represent vastly different “tribes” in Israeli society. The formation of this coalition is a signal that Israeli society is a life-affirming one. It is a step forward for stateliness and a step backward for divisiveness. It is a statement that says Israel’s national interest really does stand above all other considerations. (…) As Mark Twain once quipped, politicians and diapers have to be changed frequently, and for the same reasons. (…) this hybrid government, made up of right-wing, centrist, and left-wing parties will (…) safeguard the independence of the judicial branch (…).
Henrique Cymerman, JPO, 17.06.21
Netanyahu’s transition to Bennett is an insult to Israel
(…) there is an election, then coalition talks, and then a government is sworn in. There is no built-in time before the new leader takes office to sit and review the most sensitive matters that are known only to prime ministers. If a transition happens, it needs to happen only after the old prime minister has left and the new prime minister has come in. (…) Balfour is a symbol no less than the chair Bennett now sits on in the Knesset, or the large wooden desk he now sits behind in the Prime Minister’s Office. Being prime minister is not just holding the title and filling the position. It is a role that also carries with it great symbolism. When people see someone in that chair working on their behalf, it gives them confidence and a sense of security, both important for the function of a society; when there is a feeling that someone is at the helm and in control of the state, that same state has a better chance of staying under control. That is why Netanyahu needs to leave Balfour immediately. (…) With Netanyahu on the sidelines breathing down this government’s neck, there will be a constant layer of pressure that Bennett and Yair Lapid will have to learn to ignore, no matter the noise and potential political price. What can make a difference are two approaches that both Washington and Jerusalem can take to one another in their talks. Bennett should firstly not wait for the Biden administration to roll out its own plan for the Palestinians – he should take the initiative and draft one of his own. (…) Where a collision will likely happen is on Iran. (…) It will not be simple.
Yaakov Katz, JPO, 19.06.21
Israel’s most diverse, interesting and complex government
Israelis of all political stripes have experienced outrage and betrayal when their elected representatives defected to the other side of the political divide. (…) Now there are those on the right, the religious Zionist right for the most part, who also feel betrayed, after Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, a former settlement advocate and leader of the religious right, partnered with the left and with the Islamist Ra’am party to form the new coalition (…) It is a humiliating feeling for his voters, and could lead to the sense that politics is a nothing but a con masking the greatest of frauds. (…) Unlike its predecessor, the new government does not ignore 50% of Israelis, those who hold left-wing liberal views. It is the most diverse, interesting and complex government Israel has ever known. It contains a right-wing contingency, it represents the national religious sector, includes the left-wing, the Russian-speaking electorate and for the first time in Israel’s history proports to give equal standing to the Arab community. This all-Israeli alliance is a courageous effort to represent the most people and has declared itself to be the government of reconciliation (…). The new government cast aside the paradigm that certain sectors of the society must be the enemies of other sectors (…). Most Israelis know that Netanyahu’s political agendas were motivated by his personal interests. And despite his efforts to divide them, they know Israel has no interest in being divided into opposing sectors. It is now up to those who formed the new government to continue their mission accordingly.
Raanan Shaked, YED, 19.06.21
A little friendly advice for Bennett and Lapid
(…) Israel’s natural place is among liberal democratic states. (…) Relations with our strategic ally, the United States, must be mended quickly. Israel’s intimate relationship with the Trump administration damaged ties with the Democratic Party and undermined its standing in the American public arena where it had always enjoyed impressive bipartisan support. U.S. President Joe Biden is a true friend, but he does not operate in a vacuum. (…) Now more than ever, Israel needs a diplomatic initiative, one that highlights the positive rather than the negative. Israel should strategize to peacefully integrate into the region and the international arena in general. (…) A diplomatic initiative that attempts to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, no matter how tough and complex, creates momentum. (…) The coalition agreement refers to the importance of strengthening the foreign policy component of Israel’s national security and it must be translated into action. (…) The State of Israel is a regional power – diplomatic, military and economic — but it is also a state that occupies Palestinian disputed territories. Rather than perceiving the high expectations of Israel as an unfair outrage, we should view them as a compliment. Adopting these principles will bolster Israel’s standing and position far more than the many entities engaged in “Hasbara”, mostly without any coordination.
Michael Harari, YED, 20.06.21
Abraham Accords won’t just survive under Bennett, but flourish
(…) Not only will they survive, the Abraham Accords will now be free to flourish and reach new heights. The fact that Foreign Minister Yair Lapid’s first visit abroad will be to the UAE is a good indicator. (…) Shared security, economic, scientific and research interests moved Israel and the Gulf states closer. (…) conditions are ripe for the new government to forge ahead and realize the potential of the relationship. (…) The new government is also expected to enhance its management of relations with Arab states, given the expected strengthening of the Foreign Ministry under Lapid and the ministry’s newly restored responsibilities, and given the renewed predominance of diplomatic and professional considerations (…) in decision-making. (…) The intention of the newly appointed Minister of Regional Cooperation Esawi Frej to intensify the involvement of Israel’s Arab citizens in relations with the normalization states augurs well, too. Government measures to promote dialogue with the Palestinian Authority would be very beneficial for its relations with the Arab world, as well. (…)
Nimrod Goren, JPO, 23.06.21
Government priority: Israelis need affordable housing
The Naftali Bennett-Yair Lapid-led “change” government consists of such a divergent bunch of coalition partners that it’s sometimes difficult to fathom how they’ll be able to work together. Since there’s disagreement across the board on far-reaching issues such as Palestinian statehood and the future of settlements, it’s unlikely that this government is going to move ahead in any direction. But on issues like formulating a state budget (…) the government (…) seems to be quite equipped to act quickly and efficiently. Another issue that this government can and must deal with as a top priority (…) is the unwieldy and obscene cost of apartments. There is probably not a more critical catalyst for young Israelis choosing to leave the country than the inability to afford to buy an apartment. (…) The last Israeli government neglected housing, and that will lead to a substantial rise in prices (…). The government has set a target of adding 300,000 units to the home market, while just over 50,000 are currently being approved each year. But even with more housing, the exorbitant prices still make buying an apartment prohibitive for most people. (…) now is the time to focus on making Israel a functioning country again with a functioning government that works for the people, not to stay in power. People need housing. Let’s make it affordable.
Editorial, JPO, 23.06.21
On the resilience of Israeli democracy
The government recently changed hands, despite serious fears and vain attempts to torpedo it at the last moment. This achievement for the democratic process has been attributed to various causes: the ongoing demonstrations, various types of opposition, an independent justice system, a critical and sometimes aggressive media, repeated elections that produced no clear victor, former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s trial. All this came together in a critical mass. Yet it’s worth pausing for a moment not just on these proximate causes, but on the deeper foundations of Israel’s political culture. (…) the Jews in exile developed, over the course of centuries, a unique political culture rooted not in normative texts (…), but in the concrete social reality of Jewish life. This culture included a communal tradition that was essentially voluntary, and the mechanism for operating it was elections. When Jews sought to maintain Jewish life as they understood it in exile, they were forced to do so on the basis of voluntary associations. If they wanted, for instance, to establish a synagogue or educate their children, they didn’t have their own state or centralized religious institutions that could provide such services. Therefore, the only option was to organize on their own, of their own free wills. To do so, they elected institutions and set rules for elections and community taxes. (…) these communities weren’t led by rabbis, but by elected community leaders. (…) each community determined its own bylaws and rules. (…) The paradox is that while the surrounding societies were ruled by sultans, kings and emperors, the Jewish community – despite its lack of statehood and sovereignty – was ruled by its own members. (…) political pluralism, elections and a multiplicity of parties have characterized modern Jewish life in both the Zionist movement and the State of Israel. (…) The shameful scene at the Knesset when Naftali Bennett gave his inaugural speech as prime minister, coupled with several moves and statements by rightists since the new government was formed, attests to trends that contradict this historical Jewish political culture and might well prove dangerous. Consequently, we must hope the traditional pluralism and anti-authoritarianism that’s so rooted in our society will also continue to accompany the Jewish state in the future.
Shlomo Avineri, HAA, 27.06.21
Contrary to Netanyahu’s claims, Israel’s new government is not weak on defense
(…) Netanyahu (…) continually says that Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s coalition, which managed to oust him after a 12-year rule, is a” weak and dangerous leftist government.” Bennett and his partner in the rotating government, Yair Lapid, are not seen as strong security figures. (…) Gantz managed to position himself as a natural and trustworthy defense minister. He has the professional skill and peace of mind required to deal with what is perceived by Israelis as the only true life and death issue – national security. (…) The question is, however, what will happen in the more turbulent days that likely lie ahead? What will happen if the fighting against Gaza’s terror factions resumes? If a confrontation against Lebanon’s Hezbollah breaks out? If terrorist attacks take place in the West Bank? If Iran becomes stronger thanks to the return to the 2015 nuclear deal? These issues will surely be emphasized relentlessly by opposition leader Netanyahu (…). The one who can aid Gantz (…) is current Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi. The military chief is a public figure who has a great deal of influence, especially in times of emergency. Kochavi is perceived differently from Gantz, whose progress in the army seemed to have depended more on luck and less on his operational capabilities. Kochavi, on the other hand, was marked for the position of military chief very early on. He has a winning combination of intellect, charisma and originality in military thinking. (…) Gantz apparently understands the importance of having a chief of staff with a respectable resume and a positive public reputation. (…) The defense minister also promised that he would enter politics for only ten years, partnering with Kochavi would allow him to cultivate a worthy successor. More importantly, it will help him stabilize the defense establishment and deprive Netanyahu of the only tool that could bring him back to power.
Baruch Leshem, YED, 28.06.21
2. Increase in New Corona Infections / PA Sends Back Vaccination Doses
Despite successful vaccine rollout, coronavirus is still here
(…) The pandemic rages on and gives way to the emergence of new variants that seem to be gaining ground around the world. Israel is not immune to the effects of the Delta variant, which is far more contagious than the UK one and will likely spread much faster now that social distancing measures have been lifted. (…) The new government must take immediate action to prevent the virus from spreading further and put into place adequate prevention measures at Israel’s primary gateway — the Ben Gurion International Airport. (…) The country’s virus testing apparatus must be bolstered after dedicated testing sites were shut down, and strict quarantine policies must be reinstated after vaccinated or recovering Israelis were exempt from self-isolating, even after coming into contact with confirmed patients. Bennett must hike up fines for breaching quarantine substantially and limit travel to countries with high infection rates. But no less important is personal responsibility on the side of each Israeli. (…) Israelis must understand that (…) if they do choose to travel abroad, self-isolating upon their return must be the first consideration on their minds.
Sarit Rosenblum, YED, 21.06.21
Israel must fight to maintain upper hand against COVID
(…) With hundreds of new confirmed cases a day, Israel is in the midst of a new, accelerated, and dangerous coronavirus outbreak, one that could lead to a fourth wave of the pandemic in Israel in which the highly infectious Delta variant takes precedence. (…) this variant (…) is far more dangerous and lethal to the unvaccinated. To prevent this latest outbreak from turning into a fourth wave, the government and the recently reinstated coronavirus cabinet must take significant and immediate steps to moderate and prevent a continued outbreak, in contrast with the hesitation and embarrassing weakness displayed by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz thus far. (…) Restrictions on entering and exiting Israel must immediately be put in place to prevent people leaving the country and mainly entering the country to the extent that this is possible. (…) The government must continue, and in fact relaunch, the campaign to vaccinate teens aged 12 to 15, as well as the hundreds of thousands of Israelis over age 16 who have opted against vaccination, thereby thwarting the national effort to rein in the pandemic. (…) The coronavirus cabinet must reinstate the green and purple pass programs so that indoor venues will only be authorized to allow entry to the vaccinated or those who have recovered from the virus. The cabinet must also reintroduce restrictions on gatherings in both open and indoor spaces. (…) There’s no time to lose. (…)
Ran Reznik, YED, 27.06.21
Israel and PA need to work together on COVID vaccines
Israel delivered a first shipment of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines to the Palestinian authority. Some 100,000 doses were transferred (…). Under the deal, in September or October, when the doses purchased from Pfizer by the PA are expected to arrive, the same number of doses would be returned to Israel. The advantages of the deal are clear: a large number of Palestinians will be vaccinated months earlier than planned, thereby helping to reduce the infection rate in the Palestinian territories. (…) Sounds nice, right? It was, until the PA decided (…) to cancel the deal for all the wrong reasons. Firstly the Palestinians claimed that the vaccines were expiring soon and therefore, it did not want them. (…) The second excuse for the cancellation was a reported Israeli demand that the vaccines be used in the West Bank and not the Gaza Strip. (…) Israel (…) has a clear interest in seeing Palestinians in Gaza get vaccinated (…). The Palestinians also have a clear interest. The vaccines the PA purchased from Pfizer will not arrive before the end of the year. (…) Whether the sides want it or not, what happens to one impacts the other. This is true with the coronavirus and the vaccines and this is also true when it comes to both economies. Working together will help all, Israelis and Palestinians.
Editorial, JPO, 19.06.21
Hurting Israel matters more
The Palestinian Authority’s refusal to accept 1 million doses of Pfizer vaccines as part of an exchange deal with Israel is a clear indication that Ramallah officials could not care less about the health of their people. (…) Ramallah was well aware that the first shipment would include vaccines close to their expiry. In fact, the PA only signed the deal with Israel after speaking to Pfizer that confirmed that they were safe to use. (…) Why, then, did the Palestinian leadership go back on the agreement? After it became clear to Israel that Ramallah was planning to transfer most of the first shipment to the Gaza Strip, it vetoed the move. (…) It was at this point that Ramallah decided to cancel the agreement, using the expiration dates as an excuse. (…) no deal can be struck with the Palestinian leadership, for they care more about hurting Israel’s international standing than they do about the health and well-being of their own people.
Daniel Siryoti, IHY, 20.06.21
Why the PA scrapped the initial vaccine deal with Israel
The Palestinian Authority’s hasty decision (…) to cancel the initial Pfizer vaccine-exchange deal with Israel came shortly after a public outcry, particularly on social media, over the expiration date of the doses. (…) many Palestinians continued to call for the formation of an independent commission of inquiry to look into the fiasco surrounding the vaccine agreement. (…) Judging from the reactions of many Palestinians to the Pfizer vaccine-exchange agreement, they seem convinced that corrupt senior PA officials were in collusion with the Israeli authorities to provide out-of-date vaccines to the Palestinian public. (…) The PA has long been facing criticism from many Palestinians not only because of corruption, but also over its continued security coordination with Israel in the West Bank. (…) The vaccine agreement with Israel was supposed to boost the PA’s already tarnished reputation and show that it is doing its utmost to provide the doses to the Palestinians. (…) But the botched deal has turned out to be one of the worst PR disasters for the PA, whose leaders are currently working to limit the damage and prevent their critics and political rivals from cashing in on the “scandal.”
Khaled Abu Toameh, JPO, 20.06.21
3. Concern in Israel After Raisi’s Election Victory
Iranian election: Changing faces, not politics
The Iranian presidential election (…) are witnessing an absence of actual competition due to the tightening of the screws on the most competitive candidates (…). This resulted in the domination by the most hard-line movement of a list of seven candidates (…). Raisi is considered the (…) preferred candidate of the regime’s most hard-line wing. Raisi has long been known as the death penalty judge, as he was one of the judges who formed the so-called death commission, which issued death sentences against many opposition elements despite the expiry of their sentences in prisons (…). Despite the absence of competition, these elections have international follow-up given that there is an international concern that they may have a possible negative impact on Iran’s position in the ongoing negotiations in Vienna regarding a return to the nuclear agreement (…).
Salem Alketbi, JPO, 17.06.21
No matter who wins, the ayatollahs must go
In Iran, elections, like other issues, are based on fraud and mischief. (…) As a general procedure, the Islamic Republic uses electoral engineering to buy legitimacy. (…) the Guardian Council approved seven candidates for presidential elections and disqualified leading figures (…). There are always two leading candidates and several junk candidates to put up a show of a fight, to keep false hope of democracy alive. The nation’s will and the people’s demands have never been a matter of importance to the ruling system. (…) Raisi, who was born in Mashhad and is notorious for mass executions of Iranian political prisoners in 1988, has both political and economic support.
The shadow government is eager to tighten the Islamic Republic’s grip on Iran in a sham race dominated by hardline candidates close to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, with widespread outrage over economic difficulties and curbs on freedoms set to keep many Iranians at home. But the Jew-hating regime’s schemers and strategists will not sit idle, and they certainly have a plan. (…) If Raisi wins, the ultraconservative cleric will be a more reliable, controlled president who acts in the interests of the hardliners. Whether a hardliner or a so-called moderate wins, nothing will change in the regime’s foreign policy, as the only differences between them are the length of their beard and the color of their turbans. (…) No matter who is elected (…) world leaders should agree to find a solution to remove the cancerous tumor in the Middle East, not make deals with it. In Iran, the Jew-hater deep state sets up strategies and the elected government executes what the shadow government decides.
Kaveh Taheri, IHY, 18.06.21
The important story on Iran’s new president
(…) Iran’s President-elect Ebrahim Raisi (…) had earned the hard-liner status by playing a pivotal role in executing thousands of opposition prisoners in 1988 as part of the Death Committee. During the Green Revolution in 2009, he brutally suppressed the protesters who attempted to throw off the shackles of the repressive Islamic government, while the Obama administration pointedly ignored their struggle. But the American designation of any Iranian government official as a moderate is not only false but dangerous. Rouhani was never a moderate. He was the most moderate hard-liner tolerated by the Guardian Council in 2013 that approved presidential candidates and which the supreme leader controls. (…) Raisi, the hard-liner of hard-liners (…) is not opposed to rejoining the JCPOA, as long as he (…) can get sanctions relief to reverse the devastating effects on the regime of the Trump-era sanctions. (…) Raisi expresses positions that are even more aligned to Khamenei’s views on domestic and foreign issues. (…) Raisi’s job will be made infinitely easier as the Biden administration is already chomping at the bit to return to the JCPOA and celebrate a return to the JCPOA as an American victory. If only. The US has already blinked, removing some Trump sanctions. (…) If Israel still believes in the Begin Doctrine, never to let an enemy state have nuclear weapons, the ascendancy of Raisi and the end of American sanctions increases the chance for a preemptive Israeli strike in Iran and a large-scale regional war drawing in all players. Let us hope that Biden’s allegiance to former president Obama’s legacy does not blind him to the likely consequences of a deal that President-elect and future supreme leader Raisi will appreciate.
Eric R. Mandel, JPO, 22.06.21
Salvaging and improving the Iran Nuclear agreement
(…) The Biden administration is seeking to remedy the mess Trump created by trying to craft a better, or “longer and stronger,” agreement, which obligated Iran to freeze its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. (…) If the agreement is revised to everyone’s satisfaction, the United States and its allies can push for a broader accord that would rein in Iran’s hegemonic and destabilizing activities in the Middle East and restrict its ballistic missile program, both of which are immense causes of concern, particularly in Israel and Saudi Arabia. (…) President-elect Ebrahim Raisi (…) has apparently adopted a new and disturbing policy. ( …) At his first news conference, he said, “Regional issues and missiles are not negotiable.” (…) Raisi (…) wishes to return to the original agreement. (…) Given Raisi’s unhelpful comments, it is questionable whether the agreement can be salvaged, much less improved in the weeks or months ahead. In the meantime, Israel’s new prime minister, Naftali Bennett, has said he opposes the reentry of the United States into the agreement and will do everything possible to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. (…) Biden will have to take Israel’s position into account as the talks in Vienna edge closer to an endpoint.
Sheldon Kirshner, TOI, 25.06.21
On Iran, Israel must not reprise Netanyahu’s disastrous role in the Iraq War and rise of al-Qaida
As Israel’s former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu bows out, some of his ideas that have not only guided Israel’s security policies but also inspired America’s military interventions in the Middle East remain with us. By sending a defiant message to the United States, emphasizing Israel’s refusal to take part in its negotiations with Iran, Major General Aviv Kochavi, Israel’s Chief of Staff, and Naftali Bennett, Israel’s new Prime Minister, seem to be continuing Netanyahu’s confrontational approach. (…) From his perspective, military might, or “implementing power” as he characterized it, was the solution to international crises. This recommendation to use force was followed by his optimistic assessment that military force triggers a virtuous circle of victory: “[W]inning and winning and winning.” (…) In contrast to Netanyahu’s prediction, the United States did not “win” in Iraq. (…) Not only did the wild goose chase in Iraq draw a painful price from Iraq and the United States, it also enhanced the power of America’s nemesis, Iran, and al-Qaida. The boomerang effect was a result of the fact that when the United States toppled Saddam Hussein’s regime, it in fact opened Iraq’s door for Iran. (…) The second beneficiaries of Mr. Netanyahu’s misguided advice were al-Qaida, who carried out the 9/11 attacks two years earlier. Al-Qaida’s operatives understood (…) political and military chaos constitute an ideal environment for terrorists. (…) Netanyahu’s advice backfired once again in 2018, when he convinced President Donald Trump to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal. As a consequence, Iran intensified its efforts to attain nuclear weapons and today it is closer to reaching that point than it was in 2018. (…)
Nimrod Hurvitz, HAA, 27.06.21
4. Selection of Articles
The Security Situation in Israel’s South Remains Fragile
Israel must return to sanity on Gaza
(…) Hamas has successfully cast a shadow across the entire country with its constant threats of rocket fire and retaliation against Israel and its civilian population. This is a clear victory for the terrorist group. (…) The real challenge facing Prime Minister Natali Bennett’s nascent government is to change this worrying paradigm. Currently, the hundreds of thousands of Israelis in the south live in constant fear due to Hamas, with only an occasional reprieve from the rocket fire and arson attacks to provide any comfort and peace of mind. (…) The IDF must take even more care to avoid civilian casualties, given the fact that every Palestinian child who tragically dies in such confrontations (…) eventually winds up on the front page of The New York Times. A French president or German chancellor would never demand that the U.S. halt its operations against the Taliban because of civilian casualties. (…) Israel cannot return to the policies of former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who allowed Qatar to transfer huge sums to Gaza every month and without oversight. The issue lies in the fact that Qatar is a state that supports terrorism. (…) Allowing Qatar to send money into the Strip is akin to setting the foxes to guard the hen house. (…) Israel and the West must offer to rehabilitate Gaza and aid its people in exchange for the disarmament of all terror factions in the Strip. (…) And Qatar is most welcome to help, but only through a mechanism overseen by the international community. (…)
Ben-Dror Yemini, YED, 20.06.21
Hamas just proved Gulf states were right to normalize with Israel
Weeks after the most significant Hamas-led terrorist attacks against Israel since 2014, the broader geopolitical landscape in the region puts Israel in the driver’s seat to seize greater opportunities to pressure terror groups. The Abraham Accords not only heralded a new era of economic prosperity between the Jewish state and Gulf nations, but also an openness to push back jointly and publicly against the regional ambitions of Tehran and its destabilizing proxies across the Middle East. (…) it appears that Hamas only succeeded in damaging the “Palestinian narrative” and strengthening the Accords, by underscoring the threat of unpredictable Iranian-backed terror. coalition is in the Iranian regime’s interests. (…) Israel, the UAE and Bahrain – better secured and strengthened by each other – now say out loud what was once said in quiet rooms between regional intelligence officials: until Iran’s tentacles are cut, no nation in the region can expect security and stability. Sadly, none of the signatories have the power to do so alone. (…) The Abraham Accords created peace, and the promise of prosperity and cooperation between Arab states and the Jewish state. The Accords might also be the backbone of a united regional approach to Iran (…).
Boris Zilberman, HAA, 21.06.21
Restrictions on Reuniting Palestinian Families
Israeli parliament must allow Palestinian families to reunite
Every year, the Knesset convenes in order to extend for an additional year the emergency order that allows the state to prevent Palestinians living in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip who are married to Israeli citizens from living with their spouses in Israel. (…) Ostensibly, the amendment is a security measure. During the second intifada, military authorities convinced lawmakers that Palestinians who received Israeli IDs in the wake of family unification carried out suicide attacks. Security needs won out over civil rights (…). That was 18 years ago. The security considerations, which seemingly remain intact, now serve to conceal demographic considerations – that is, preserving Israel’s Jewish majority. (…) under the cover of security considerations, the emergency order makes it possible to block Palestinian immigration while causing grievous injury to the civil rights of Arabs. (…) How is it that parties that champion human rights and equality are willing to lend a hand to Jewish ultranationalist legislation that so flagrantly discriminates on ethnic grounds? Coalition considerations presumably outweigh considerations of civil and human rights. (…) any version of this law justifies describing Israel as an apartheid state, with one law for Jews and another for Arabs. (…)
Editorial, HAA, 20.06.21
HAA = Haaretz
YED = Yedioth Ahronoth / Ynetnews
JPO = Jerusalem Post
IHY = Israel HaYom
TOI = Times of Israel
GLO = Globes
Published: July 2021.
Dr. Paul Pasch,
Head of the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Israel