mortally wounded, can bibi rise like a zombie from the dead? Updated

in the last two comments with some baffling and weird power plays.

(Some Israeli snap election kinda/sorta results)  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to say ‘bye, bye, Bibi; may the wind beat your back?

With 99+% of the votes counted (but not yet certified) Benny Gantz’s blue-and-white party (Kahol Levan) got 33 seats in the Knesset, Bibi’s Likud party 31, the Arab majority Joint List 13 seats (<up 2 from the last election four months ago.) Woot!

‘Ahmad Tibi thanks ‘magician’ Netanyahu for driving up Arab vote; Arab Israeli MK cites PM’s attempts to suppress the Arab vote for helping rouse voters: ‘Suddenly the Arabs rushed to the polls in droves’.

“Tibi’s comments echoed those of Joint List campaign manager Aaed Kayal, who told The Times of Israel that Netanyahu’s statements had motivated Arab Israelis to vote in high numbers.’, times of israel,  Sept. 19, 2019

“Our campaign was asleep, weak, limping, just two weeks ago,” Tibi told Channel 12 news. “Then a week ago, someone, a magician, set off alarm clocks at the entrances to every Arab town. That was Benjamin Netanyahu. That was the cameras bill,” he said referring to an unsuccessful bid by Netanyahu to try rush through a law that would allow Likud to place cameras in polling stations.”


Joint List leaders react to the good news

The Sephardi ultra-Orthodox party Shas got 9 seats, and its Ashkenazi counterpart United Torah Judaism 8. The religious Zionist far-right took a blow, with alliance Yamina only scoring 7 seats, while Kahanist party Otzma Yehudit failed to enter the Knesset altogether. The two left-wing alliances managed to scrape through, with Labor-Gesher at six seats, and the Democratic Union at 5 – and therefore sans former PM Ehud Barak, who had the tenth spot on the slate. 

One of the surprising reasons for the deadlocked election is this:

Deadlocked election highlights secular-religious divide’, timesofisrael, Sept. 20, 2019

“In Israel’s secular heartland, religion played a central role in this week’s deadlocked election. For many, a vote for the opposition was driven by a desire to keep rabbis out of their schools, businesses and love lives.

With the Palestinian issue almost completely off the agenda, and a general consensus about security challenges, matters of religion and state took center stage.

Ultra-Orthodox parties only represent about a tenth of the population, but larger parties have historically relied on them to assemble majority coalitions. That means the ultra-Orthodox are often in position to bring down the government if their demands are not met.

They use their political clout to sustain a segregated lifestyle centered on study and prayer, and raising large families on taxpayer-funded handouts. They also run a network of schools that often teach little math or English, and have blocked legislation to require their community to serve in the military, like most other Jewish citizens.

The ultra-Orthodox insist their young men serve the nation through prayer and study, thus preserving Jewish learning and heritage, and by maintaining a pious way of life that has kept the Jewish faith alive through centuries of persecution. They say they are unfairly targeted by the secular majority.” [snip]

“Experts say the cloistered communities of the ultra-Orthodox are being left behind by modern society, creating a culture of poverty that threatens the future well-being of the entire country.”

“On top of carrying the military and financial burden, the secular majority resents having the ultra-religious encroach upon their lifestyle and civil liberties. The ultra-Orthodox establishment prevents public transportation and most commerce on the Sabbath and wields a monopoly over matters of marriage, burials and conversions. In recent years, they’ve also delayed infrastructure projects and archaeological digs over religious concerns.”

Now the horse-trading has begun, to see if any coalition can reach the magic number 61 seats to form a government…this time.

Bibi’s made overtures to Benny Gantz to form a unity coalition; Gantz flipped Bibi the bird.

The alleged Kingmaker, Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) with 8 seats, is so far pushing for a Blue and White/Likud coalition, but the promises and opinions are changing hourly or daily; rumors from behind closed doors are epic.


Gantz (L) and Liberman (R)

Aha: ‘11:05 A.M. Lieberman says didn’t talk to either Netanyahu or Gantz

“Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman dispelled rumors he had reached an agreement with Kahol Lavan about a potential coalition on Friday. “I did not talk to either Netanyahu or Gantz, and I don’t intend to talk to them until after the party meeting on Sunday,” the election kingmaker said in a Facebook post.’ (haaretz.com)”

Meanwhile, Benny Gantz is taking steps to ensure that he will receive the first mandate from President Reuven Rivlin to form the next government in time for consultations with the president that start Sunday, sources in Gantz’s party said on Thursday night, according to the Jerusalem Post.”

I’d looked it up, and had found that the President of Israel, much like the Queen of England (as I understand it) can give a nod to a Party to try to form a ruling coalition government.

From israelitomes.com on Sept. 18, 2019: Joint List may recommend Gantz for prime minister, says top Arab MK; Ayman Odeh conditions support on ‘basic demands,’ aspires to be leader of the opposition, with access to security briefings.’

Nice horse-trading, Odeh; that’s a huge demand!  Especially given that Gantz is a former General of the IDF, used to advocate for a larger war on Gaza, and this:

‘Palestinian PM: Difference between Gantz and Netanyahu ‘like Pepsi and Coke’; Shtayyeh says Palestinians ‘don’t count’ on outcome of vote because neither candidate intends to ‘end the occupation’, 17 September 2019, Israeli Times

“Netanyahu on Tuesday, during a campaign speech at Jerusalem’s Central Bus Station, claimed that the PA had issued an “official statement” urging people to “go out and vote and topple Netanyahu.”

In fact, the PA had made no such statement. Rather, Arab Israeli author Mohammed Ali Taha wrote in an op-ed printed in the official PA newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadida: “Go to the polls and contribute to [Netanyahu’s] toppling”

It may have been haaretz.com that asked if Odeh (Arab MK) might end up being the Kingmaker.

Donald Trump says he hasn’t called Netenyahu, ‘Our relationship is with Israel’, and that that he’s distancing himself from a weakened PM after such a close election; he’ll see what happens.  (the subtext is: I like winners!)

The other gossip is (and I can’t find it again, so maybe it was Fake News from the Twittersphere) is that Sheldon and Miriam Adelson will stop funding based on the fact…that he’s nutz!  (Marion’s a doctor)  You may remember that D Trump had hung a Medal of Freedom around Miriam’s neck back in 2018. Sheldon was said by some to be directing Boss Tweet’s foreign policy…

Zo…we might see if Gantz or (doG forbid) Bibi can seat a coalition government, or another election will have to be called.

(cross-posted from Café Babylon)

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Comments

Anja Geitz's picture

I didn't know there was such a secular religious divide in Israel, nor what issues were being contested.

Wasn't sure what the "camera" legislation was about, or what justification Netenyahu had for bringing the bill up for a vote. Very bizarre.

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There is always Music amongst the trees in the Garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it. ~ Minnie Aumonier

wendy davis's picture

@Anja Geitz

was an eye-opener for me as well. the camera law was to ensure spy cameras at polling places, most especially the arab ones.

i've also been surprised by the coverage of the election seeming so anti-netenyahu. haaretz is usually considered the most moderate, but there were some pretty damning op-eds at the others, notably that he's a dead duck, with hints of 'good riddance', as well.

but still bibi is ranting about the election having been stolen. thanks for reading,, as well as for your curiosity. i hope the OP was semi-coherent; i've been working on it for three or four days, and my dozens and dozens of links got a bit tangled on my word document.

i'll add that jason greenblatt, trump and kushner's 'point man' on the 'I/P deal of the century', and US ambassador david friedman met with bibi and not gantz, small wonder. the results of that meeting re: when and how to published the plan gets fuzzier. the leaked text was horrific for palestinians, of course.

sorry to be so long, it's bread day for me. ; )

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The Liberal Moonbat's picture

Hey, hey, HEY! This is the Jewish state you're talking about here - none of those New Testament Necromancy shenanigans!

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In the Land of the Blind, the one-eyed man is declared insane when he speaks of colors.

wendy davis's picture

@The Liberal Moonbat

perhaps i might have said 'rise like a golem'?

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The Liberal Moonbat's picture

@wendy davis 'Rise like matzoh doesn't', perhaps?

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In the Land of the Blind, the one-eyed man is declared insane when he speaks of colors.

wendy davis's picture

@The Liberal Moonbat

is all. ; )

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The Liberal Moonbat's picture

@wendy davis is all. 8>E

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In the Land of the Blind, the one-eyed man is declared insane when he speaks of colors.

@The Liberal Moonbat

That would have to imply he wasn't alive at all before
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The Liberal Moonbat's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness Mincing myth and metaphor.

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In the Land of the Blind, the one-eyed man is declared insane when he speaks of colors.

wendy davis's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness

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Alligator Ed's picture

@The Liberal Moonbat It failed to rise from the Dead...

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ludwig ii's picture

the whole of the Israeli political establishment, with the possible exception of the Arab list, is morally bankrupt.

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wendy davis's picture

@ludwig ii

i don't know enough about what are known as the 'left-wind parties' to say. but IF bibi stays, he's promised to ram through his 'immunity bill', which indemnifies him from all corruption and war crimes charges. he's also promised to annex more land in the hebron valley, as well as maintain the amerikan imprimatur for having stolen the golan heights. and of course push hard, and win the approval of the 'deal of the century', which leaked text certainly balkanized israel for the palestinians, with small connecting roads with idf checkpoints (as i remember it), and text that they'd need no weapons, as the IDF would handle law enforcement.

let me know, if you want to read the opinions on it, i'll fetch my diary for you and bring it. and then there's trump's BFF alliance with bibi, as well, and edelson's with both to boot. dunno how that would shake out w/ a gantz coalition. but i'd love to see the back of him, but no, none of it matters to the palestinians: they're still fucked either way, save perhaps for any potential influence by the Joint List Arabs.

on edit: would any of this anti-iranian rhetoric change under a secular coaltion?

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QMS's picture

any kind of shake-up in that regime is probably for the better.

6a0120a610bec4970c017ee57e5aa6970d-500wi.jpg
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Listen to your higher mind.

wendy davis's picture

@QMS

that image? yes, i'm convinced a new regime would have to be preferable; bibi's ruled for 16 years, iirc, with one break for was it ehud barak? too lazy to bingle it...

but just in:

Party's decision could affect Rivlin's choice of would-be PM;
, 10 of 13 MKs said in favor after hours of talks; Arab parties have not endorsed a mainstream leader since Rabin in 1992; Odeh: ‘Without our backing, Netanyahu cannot be defeatedtoday, times of israel

“Signs were, however, that it was leaning toward recommending Gantz, a decision that could be significant in determining whether President Reuven Rivlin charges Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or challenger Gantz with the task of seeking to build a majority government after Tuesday’s inconclusive elections. If the Joint List recommends Gantz, the Blue and White leader would have the support of at least 57 members of Knesset. At present, Likud’s Netanyahu has the backing of 55. Yisrael Beytenu [avigdor lieberman, liberman], with eight seats, holds the balance of power between the blocs and has also yet to announce who, if anyone, it will recommend to Rivlin.”

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You've made some KEY points, imho.

This election wasn't about right wing versus left wing.

It was about Secular versus Religious and so far it looks like Secular will win.

You're right about none of the possible PM candidates helping the Palestinians in Gaza or elsewhere very much. If at all.

What will change is the absence of the hate rhetoric and fear mongering that Bibi did. Not much. Not enough, But, something.

The gossip is that Miriam Adelson and Sarah Netanyahu are deadly enemies. Everybody, apparently, hates Sarah. Trump is following the $$$$$.

Next thing to see is if President Rivlin hands the opportunity to form a gov't to Benny Gantz in the near future.

Then the attempt to gather enough support begins.

Again, I'm no expert. But I'm watching Ayelet Shaked and her Yamina party and their 7 votes to see which way the wind may be blowing.

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NYCVG

wendy davis's picture

@NYCVG

boy, howdy: no expert either, but an israel/zionist watcher. but yes, these results do seem to more secular v. religious, at least ultra-right religious. i loved hearing this gossip:

The gossip is that Miriam Adelson and Sarah Netanyahu are deadly enemies. Everybody, apparently, hates Sarah. Trump is following the $$$$$.

as far as shaked and yahima and their 7 seats, knowing zip i bingled and found:

Yamina leader Shaked says party will weigh backing immunity for Netanyahu; After her colleague Bennett reversed previous stance and said ‘something extreme has to happen for us to oppose’ move, Shaked says his emphasis on stability is ‘correct’, sept. 1, 2019 israel times

and this from sept. 19: ‘Shaked’s Yamina faction dissolves an hour after polls close; Leader of right-wing alliance says technical bloc of New Right, Jewish Home and National Union will still negotiate coalition agreement together.

The refreshing bluntness of Ayelet Shaked', Rob Bryan on October 3, 2015. mondoweiss (self-loathing jews they've been called)

“Last summer, about a week before Israel invaded Gaza and just one day before settlers in East Jerusalem kidnapped and murdered Palestinian teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir, Israeli politician Ayelet Shaked took to Facebook to call for the genocide of Palestinians. Quoting an unpublished article by a settler activist, she wrote:

What’s so horrifying about understanding that the entire Palestinian people is the enemy? Every war is between two peoples, and in every war the people who started the war, that whole people, is the enemy…They are all enemy combatants, and their blood shall be on all their heads. Now this also includes the mothers of the martyrs, who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They should follow their sons, nothing would be more just. They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.”

How Ayelet Shaked, a secular woman, came to dominate the right-wing religious camp in Israel’, Sam Sokol August 6, 2019, jta.com

ha; she looks a lot like my sister-in-law.

on later edit: curse my holey memory, i'd forgotten to tell @ludwig ii that he would also ram a mutual defense treaty between amerika & israel, first mentioned by lindsey graham, then 'liked' by the great orange one. (2/3 senate confirmable treaties are harder to reneg on, pull out of than...agreements, like the JCPOA.

if a gantz coalition, what then....?

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Alligator Ed's picture

@wendy davis Ayelet Shaked is the meanest women politician I've ever seen since the prior emergence on Hillary Rodent Clinton.

Talk about racism--how about Palestinian Holocaust?

wendy, very fine essay, logically organized, well-researched, etc. A few comments down apparently your mind had turned into bread or something like that. You grasp the "inside baseball" of Israeli politics, which people like me, do not possess.

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wendy davis's picture

@Alligator Ed

can lobby to get ayelet to become the new inspector of the IAEA. they need someone to indict iran the way yukiya amano (RIP) refused to do. she'd be aces in keeping israel's undeclared nukes (SIPRI estimates 100) safe from transparency, as well.

ay yii yi; i guess that my mind having turned to bread is a bit better than it visibly turned to swiss cheese w/ more holes than cheese... ; )

but ye gods and little fishes, how this election shakes out could be epic for the future of the globe, given that so many rightly ask: 'who's the client, who's the state, US or israel?'

fuck reuven rivlin and his power play, though. i dunno what the mechanism for allowing the arab joint list to officially become the opposition party and receive security briefings, but may it be so.

hope the swamp's bein' good to you, my gator friend. thanks for reading, caring, and commenting.

only slightly O/T, the first three speakers yesterday at the UNGA were part of a different axis of evil: bolsonaro, trump, and egypt's el-sisi. fourth shouldda been bin salman. boris, macron, and mutti merkel issued a joint statement blaming Iran, of course, for the bombing of the oil refineries in saudi arabia.

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@NYCVG Unfortunately the religious and secular wings seem to wholeheartedly agree on WAR and getting the US fighting their wars for them. The agree on apartheid as well.

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@davidgmillsatty You're right on that.

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NYCVG

wendy davis's picture

jerusalem years ago in order to be able to report from the ground:

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@wendy davis
You know what my first impression of the stiff-armed salute was!

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wendy davis's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness

as the neo-nazis in 'the new ukriane' parties with thier tweaked nazi flafs (archangels? i forget them, but svoboda party et. al.). but srsly, take look at what he'd written. as i remember it these hours later, it reflected most of this OP (even 'horse trading, lol) save i'd never mentioned bibi wanting to suspend the election 'to wage war on gaza'. seemed too john mcCain to even mention. what a fuquetarde he is. it can't be too soon if i never have to look at his smirking face again.

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@wendy davis
Or is it "out of the frying pan into the fire?"

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wendy davis's picture

@The Voice In the Wilderness

in any event, you'll have to decide. but for me: NO, better, esp. depending on the coalition and more. how could it be worse?

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@The Voice In the Wilderness Better on hate speech, fear mongering and let's hope, the vast corruption of the Netanyahus.

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NYCVG

Alligator Ed's picture

@wendy davis In fact, this is the type of approach to dissuade people from supporting Netanyahu.

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wendy davis's picture

@Alligator Ed

and in fact, lots of the early commentary at the israel news sites had pretty much buried bibi once the votes were in. doG knows what evil tricks he still has up his sleeve. cuz boy, howdy, is he pissed at the arab/palestinian joint list leaders and their supporters. 'see, i told you they want to kill us all!'

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wendy davis's picture

once again of peter yarrow's song P,P & M sang so wonderfully and inspirationally well:

Light one candle for the strength that we need
To never become our own foe
And light one candle for those who are suffering
Pain we learned so long ago
Light one candle for all we believe in
That anger not tear us apart
And light one candle to find us together
With peace as the song in our hearts

g' night all; may you have peaceful dreams.

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dervish's picture

Dervishes in the Ottoman empire held essentially a similar position as the ultra-Orthodox today in Israel. Ataturk had to eventually get rid of them, as they held the nation back in terms of modernization. Some sufi orders actually revere Ataturk, for the inward reflection and reform that he forced upon them.

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"Obama promised transparency, but Assange is the one who brought it."

wendy davis's picture

@dervish

i've long wondered about your screen name and avatar, partially because long ago i was privileged to witness sufi dancers whirl at a healing arts conference, and was duly blown away by their sense of groundedness. to whirl in one direction for maybe twenty minutes, stop...then whirl in the opposite direction for as long, with no dizziness, stumbles. i can almost see it as a larger metaphor for adapatability, centeredness, in the face of maelstroms. and of course the delightful poet rumi's words as iconic and central to sufi beliefs.

certainly nothing's changed in the middle east since 1953 regarding iran, but zarif and rouhani are trying to make a case for why it Must Change, and the former will be at the UNGA to suggest a plan. sergie lavrov's tireless diplomacy is in aid of negotiating an actual I/P peace plan is worthy, but he's been sidelined, of course.

FM coined the term #B_Team for what seems to be bibi at the center allied by the amerikan empire and the EU lackey states, and a couple days he'd noted this on twitter about this:

@JZarif: 'Since the Saudi regime has blamed Iran—baseless as that is—for the attacks on its oil facilities, curious that they retaliated against Hodaideh in Yemen today—breaking a UN ceasefire. It is clear that even the Saudis themselves don't believe the fiction of Iranian involvement.'

and 30 minutes ago: @JZarif '9/22/1980 is a dark day for Iranians as it marks Saddam's invasion - with support of global powers. Our region has been in turmoil ever since.

We want to make 9/22 a day of peace- not war

Today @HassanRouhani launched Coalition for HOPE: Hormuz Peace Endeavour.

Details at UNGA"

remember that's why most of knew that saddam did have weapons of mass destruction? the west had provided them!

but i guess i'm slightly hopeful that change might be in the air, given that amerika has isolated itself on the world stage, and is 'partners in peace' with two of the most other vicious regimes on the planet: KSA and zionist israel. when i'd first rea about benny gantz a few months ago, i admit to having thought 'who cares which of them wins?' by the by, avigdor lieberman/liberman was also an IDF general for bibi. but if bibi's toast, perhaps some wee ratchet toward human rights for all might cause citizens to demand more, who can say?

would gantz push for a mutual defense treaty with the US? one could make a case for Not.
but what the #B_team is doing is causing the nations considered the new axis of evil (russia, china, iran, and DPRK [on edit: + cuba and VZ] form loose alliances in defense, trade, and that may not turn out well for the west. i keep coming back to cooperation v. competition, and the failure of the west to acknowledge that a multi-polar world would be best for all of us.

ah, time for me to hush and go have some toast. ; )

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dervish's picture

@wendy davis was the Houthi drones striking Abqaiq. When simple equipment can destroy valuable infrastructure, and the most expensive air defense systems can't stop them, the world has fundamentally changed.

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"Obama promised transparency, but Assange is the one who brought it."

wendy davis's picture

@dervish

meme 'shot heard round the world', as well. (i lost my tab earlier, so this a repeat.)

i hope you read the quotes attributed to prez rivlin about 'rotating PMs and the marginalization of the arabs/palestinians; guess we'll know later. but id gone to look at the iran project to see if rouhani had spoken yet at the UN, hoping for a transcript if he had by now, and apparently not yet. but i found this interesting history from 1953 (overthrow of mossadegh) forward,
and: 'US blamed Iran on Aramco attacks to cover up ‘a disgrace’: Rezaie'
the iran project

glad i looked back for any new comments, dervish.

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orlbucfan's picture

and religious Fundies have been a curse on humankind. Rec'd!!

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" Our solutions to the climate crisis must match the demands of physics."
c/o truthout

wendy davis's picture

@orlbucfan

and you're welcome. ; ) i hadn't had a clue as to how much the ultra-orthodox drive policy in israel.

p.s. jonathan cook wrote in that link that it might be many weeks until we know who the next israeli PM will be. egad. 'patience, grasshopper, patience...'

and now that saudi arabia has been admitted onto the board of governors of the IAEA, and a new director general is needed, i wonder who the US and KSA will choose for them? (one shidders to think.) yukia amano (RIP) wasn't willing to drink the anti-iranian BS as el-baradei was. but sure, the saudi's seeking nulear power is strictly for electrical power, unlike iran./s

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are kissing cousins to our country's fundamentalist Christians, both Protestant and Catholic, who have in the last 20 years formed an alliance.

Right now we have a strong take over of our governments (federal state local) and our judicial system by these people.

Unless we all stand up firmly and loudly for separation of church and state, we will see the kind of darkness we see here in Israel take over the US. It is happening bit by bit. The recent push into schools with the posting of In God We Trust is a prime example. You knock a little hole in the wall and pretty soon, public schools will be celebrating Christian Heritage Week. Take a long look at Project Blitz if you think I am exaggerating.

None of this election stuff matters for the Palestinians. It appears that all the factions in the Israeli government are on the same page about continuing to violate human rights, defy UN sanctions and take over any lands they wish to take.

So often in history, the persecuted become the persecutors. Israel is the STAR example of this.

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"Without the right to offend, freedom of speech does not exist." Taslima Nasrin

wendy davis's picture

@Fishtroller 02

with your last sentence, which is why i'd featured those lines from P, P. & M's 'light one candle and had linked to it.

as to the rest, i mostly agree, given that calvinist betsy deVos (erik prince's sister) born into the bilionaire class is secretary of education. bill gates was the de facto father of charter schools (fuck his name), and more and more of them are *for profit* charters and fundie christianist, to boot. miz devos hates that the federal gummint has any say in schools (does it under her rule?), and while i haven't kept up, loads of schools have closed (hello, rahm!) cuz 'standards aren't met', then sold to charter schools for a buck or three.

now as for fundies and *state law*, i'll wholeheartedly agree with you, especially on disappearing abortion access, anti-bds laws, fundie state judges, and increasingly federal judges. but you might at to read just the parts i'd pasted in above as to the ultra-orthodox and civil policy, although there was more on no lgbt rights, an so on. but even though i deplore the increasing intersection of churh and state in this shithole nation, we're a far cry from 'rule by ultra-orthodox' so far.

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@wendy davis

I want to see people raise the issue of separation of religion and government as often as possible and promote in any way possible a strengthening of that principle.

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"Without the right to offend, freedom of speech does not exist." Taslima Nasrin

Alligator Ed's picture

@Fishtroller 02 because their authoritarian "politically correct" straight jackets on freedom of expression , if melded to neoliberal ideology (God bless The Market) is producing a pseudo-religious approach to what is or is not acceptable. But, so often, the Establishment decides what is the best course for us serfs without taking into account what we want. Brexit is a great example of the peoples' fight against the official governing religion of the UK.

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wendy davis's picture

i'd like to add the similarities of apartheid israel and the 'unoccupied north american continent (the indigenous first inhabitants know as turtle island).

for most jews israel was an unoccupied land, and jews were meant to 'make the desert bloom', much as on turtle island the europeans were ordained by god and the king to 'tame the wilderness and eradicate the godless savage indians who god had told them were in the way of western expansionism'.

we had that discussion to greater and lesser effect, on my recent post: 'Let Them Eat Cake: a Journey into Edward Said’s Humanism', based on an essay by Ted Steinberg published on September 6, 2019 at counterpunch.

a few excerpts:

We had learned in Hebrew school that Israel was a land without people for a people without land. Perfect, I thought. People gave me bar mitzvah gifts including certificates for trees planted there in my honor. A land without people suggested barrenness to me. Trees seemed like a sensible idea.

In 1976 I visited Israel and was escorted around by a fellow named Alex who understandably enough called me by my Hebrew name. We visited a number of the places marked off with hatching on the cake including Hebron, located in the West Bank, and the Golan Heights.

When we arrived in the Golan Heights I stepped out of the car and threw up, though I was not making any kind of political statement. Alex had a heavy foot. I saw trees on our journey but none planted in my name as we sped toward a kibbutz named Kfar Giladi located near the border with Lebanon. The next day we drove south to Jerusalem through what Alex called a “liberated area.” I am sure I had no idea what that meant. I only wanted to get to Jerusalem without throwing up again.

I learned that when the Zionists arrived they found an empty land, a wasteland in desperate need of improvement. And improvement is precisely what the industrious Jews did, making the desert bloom. Everywhere we went, Alex told the same story: Before the Jews came, there was nothing here. Now look at it. A beautiful, domesticated landscape humming along to the tune of modern life.

In college I figured out that there were these people. Call them the Palestinians. Golda Meir, the prime minister at the time of my bar mitzvah, famously said that as for the Palestinian people, “they did not exist.” No one ever spoke about Palestinians in temple or on the trip to Israel. It was always Arabs that I heard about, never Palestinian Arabs.
......................................
A few years later, I ran across “Blaming the Victims: Spurious Scholarship and the Palestinian Question” (1988). One of the co-editors was someone named Edward Said.

Born in West Jerusalem in 1935, Said had left Palestine for Cairo in 1947. Four years later, he moved to the United States, where his parents had connections. (Said’s father studied at Case Western Reserve University, where I currently teach.) A transgressive child who took his share of beatings, Said attended a boarding school in the Connecticut River Valley, a natural environment that—given his upbringing in a desert—only seemed to add to his sense of alienation (“snow signified a kind of death,” he would later write). Moving on to study at Princeton and Harvard and then joining the Columbia University faculty in English and Comparative Literature in 1963, Said, who met Chomsky during the height of the protests over Vietnam, emerged as one of the most prominent dissident intellectuals of the twentieth century.

An immensely learned man who saw the intellectual as humanity’s best defense against an “ahistorical, forgetting world,” Said took a hard left turn after the Six-Day War. He recalled finding Martin Luther King’s warmth toward Israel’s triumph in the battle vexing, presumably because it was based on the assumption that the Palestinians simply did not exist. As Said wrote in 1968, “Palestine is imagined as an empty desert waiting to burst into bloom, its inhabitants inconsequential nomads possessing no stable claim to the land and therefore no cultural permanence.” For this and similar attempts to overturn establishment views, Said was vilified as an anti-Semite and a “professor of terror.”

Said was living proof that my Hebrew school education wasn’t an education at all. A land without people? Empty? Palestinians don’t exist? Israel’s public relations onslaught, designed to overturn the fact that the founding of the country entailed the dispossession of the indigenous peoples, worked brilliantly.

yoy get the gist, but it's a brilliant piece of time-travel epiphanies over his life and said's in aid of demonstrating what minds are able to believe in the face of contradictory evidence, as in: ignore it all, and keep the faith, as with the creation of a jewish homeland in 1948.

we see it every day in every 'true believer' cavalier recklessness and amorality, don't we?
is there any hope at all that if the arab joint list is part of the eventual governing coalition that conditions might change for the palestinians? perhaps not, as many were killed and wounded last week in the right to return marches, but perhaps. and yes, globally, but especially on turtle island and the historical palestinian homeland: so many stolen lands. (thanks, bruce; you're one hella humanist.)

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wendy davis's picture

Part I:

In dramatic shift, Joint List recommends Gantz for PM, seeks Netanyahu’s ouster;For first time in 27 years, Arab parties back Zionist candidate for premiership, drawing Likud’s ire; Blue and White chief set to receive 57 backers, compared to 55 for Netanyahu’, sunday, sept 22, 2019, times of irael

The decision marked the first time Arab parties — separately or together — have recommended a mainstream Zionist politician since 1992, when they supported Labor Party leader Yitzhak Rabin, who campaigned on peace with the Palestinians.

“We have seen the most difficult election since 1948 in terms of the incitement against Israel’s Arab citizens,” Joint List leader Ayman Odeh told President Reuven Rivlin upon issuing his party’s recommendation. “We have been turned into a group that is not legitimate in Israeli politics. If we are being pushed out, we will take our rightful place. For us, the most important thing is to remove Benjamin Netanyahu from power.”

“So we will recommend Benny Gantz to form the next government,” added Odeh. The Joint List alliance made the announcement at roughly the same time Odeh published an opinion piece on the New York Times website speaking of the move.

Fellow lawmaker Ahmad Tibi said the decision was made despite the party’s reservations about Gantz, a former IDF chief of staff who commanded Israel’s 2014 war against terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip.

“Benny Gantz is not our cup of tea. We have a lot of criticism of him, specifically regarding Gaza,” said Tibi. “But when we told our public that we would do all we can to remove Netanyahu from power, we realized that we would need to take a bold step.”
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The president has the power to appoint one of the 120 MKs elected on Tuesday as the next potential prime minister of Israel. The designated premier must then attempt to cobble together a coalition that wins the support of a majority of Knesset members.
Not all Joint List members were pleased with the decision: MK Mtanes Shihadeh told The Times of Israel that the three members of the Balad faction within the Joint List skipped the meeting with Rivlin. He said his party opposed recommending Gantz, while the other three parties that make up the Joint List supported the move.
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Senior Joint List party members were quoted earlier Sunday by Hebrew-language media detailing their demands to Blue and White. Those included freezing home demolitions in unrecognized Arab villages, forming a team to examine the issue of those villages, passing a government decision on battling violence within the Arab minority, canceling the controversial nation-state law — which enshrines Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people — and initiating a peace process with the Palestinian Authority, among other issues.

Blue and White denied it had promised anything in return for the Joint List’s support.
Despite the endorsement, and Netanyahu’s dire warnings, the Joint List leaders said they would not join a governing coalition, making Gantz’s coalition-building attempt unlikely to be successful without the inclusion of Likud, the ultra-Orthodox parties, or Liberman. Gantz has insisted that Netanyahu, who is facing a looming criminal indictment, relinquish the premiership as a condition for a Blue and White-Likud alliance.

Liberman announced earlier on Sunday that he would recommend neither candidate for prime minister, citing the Joint List’s backing for Gantz.
“The Joint List are our enemies,” said Liberman, who has also ruled out backing Netanyahu. “Wherever they are, we will be on the other side.”

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wendy davis's picture

and gets confusing as hell esp. vis a vis Rivlin:

'Joint List endorses Gantz without Balad, giving Netanyahu majority
Blue and White decides to forego first shot to form government
By Gil Hoffman, Lahav Harkov, jerusalem post, September 22, 2019

President Reuven Rivlin began his consultations toward forming a new government on Sunday, amid a historic move by most of the Joint List to recommend a candidate for prime minister and a controversial decision by Blue and White to not seek the first chance at building a coalition.

Blue and White had decided on Thursday that the party preferred to get the mandate from Rivlin first, but politicians and strategists in the party changed their minds after realizing that neither Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, nor Blue and White leader Benny Gantz would succeed in forming a government if given the first shot. Hints from Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit’s office that the pace of Netanyahu’s criminal cases would be picked up also influenced the decision.

Rivlin told representatives of Likud and Blue and White that he would demand the formation of a unity government of both parties, but he did not indicate which party would go first. The earliest he could present his mandate is Wednesday evening, after the results of the September 17 election become official.

It became clear following the first day of consultations that barring a change in the final results of the race, Netanyahu would have the recommendation of 55 MKs from Likud, Shas, United Torah Judaism and Yamina. Gantz’s 54 recommendations are from Blue and White, Labor-Gesher, the Democratic Union and most of the Joint List.
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When asked by Rivlin if their decision to recommend Gantz is conditional on demands, Odeh said all 13 Joint List MKs were obligated by it and that “We are recommending him, period.”

Joint List faction head Ahmad Tibi told Rivlin that Gantz is “not our cup of tea,” adding about Netanyahu that “our voters wanted this historic moment after a leader systematically incited against us as if we are an enemy.” Speaking in English, Tibi said the decision was also for diplomatic reasons.

“Our choice is a slap in the face to [US President Donald] Trump and his ultimate deal,” Tibi said. “Mr. Trump, keep your deal. The Palestinians deserve a state of their own. Do you understand this?”
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Rivlin told Blue and White MKs that the people of Israel were “disgusted” by prospects of a third election. When the Blue and White MKs said they want a unity government but have been ruling out Netanyahu because of his pending criminal charges, Rivlin reminded them that Netanyahu has not been indicted.

“The people of Israel want a government that will be stable,” Rivlin said. “A stable government cannot be a government without both of the two largest parties.”

holy hell, rivlin's power is terrifyingly epic!

i tried to get into haaretz to see if the coverage were the same, but it's behind a paywall for me again, and on all browsers.

on edit: odeh and tibi must have seen the leaked text of the I/P 'deal of the century' in may, and would have loved 'New Palestine'.

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wendy davis's picture

wouldn't be if there were a secret chord heard thru the noosphere that human rights for all would resonate in the hearts and souls who deny them en masse so cavalierly and with such #EmpathyDeficitDisorder? that should be in the DSM V, shouldn't it? g' night.

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wendy davis's picture

government in which (arrrg) bibi and gantz rotate as PMs, although he doesn't specify the duration of each one's rule.

avigdor liberman doesn't want anything to do with the joint block arabs, of course, but lots of sleight-of-hand moves are in play.

two headlines this a.m., the first an op-ed were intriguing though, second one 'news' of a sort:

Mark Lavie
'Let Arab parties into the ruling coalition'; One day we’ll look back on the old days when Arab parties were automatically excluded from government and wonder why

'PA security said to disrupt Islamic Jihad effort to build rockets in West Bank'
By TOI staff

Ramallah officials say they uncovered Iran-backed terror group’s attempts to expand southern rocket fire to central Israel

no explanation given for what this meant, but it used to be that arabs and palestinians, while 20% of israel's population, had to 'meet a threshold of 3.4%...now it's 2% (of some threshold or other).

sounds a bit like the democrats and debate thresholds for gabbard, but maybe not. but like USian democracy, another catch-22.

but this stuff's gonna drag on for a couple months, although gantz and bib have agreed to meet with the powerful rivlin this evening.

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QMS's picture

@wendy davis

looked like ritalin to me somehow

Ritalin (methylphenidate) is a central nervous system stimulant. It affects chemicals in the brain and nerves that contribute to hyperactivity and impulse control.

Yuk yuk. #EmpathyDeficitDisorder (from above)

Impulse control is key here.

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Listen to your higher mind.

wendy davis's picture

@QMS

'revelin', as in revilen' in his epic power to dictate a blue-white/likud shared government. no news on what happened during last night's meeting with bibi and benny, but it may well have been behind closed doors so rumors could fly at will.

yeah, #EmpathyDeficitDisorder would already in the DSM, but other various personality disorders, yes?

his face seems to mirror who he seems to be; as in: an acquired visage, which is my theory for most ugly people.

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