Redoing the last season of ‘Game of Thrones’

Many of the fans of the TV fantasy epic Game of Thrones were disappointed when the final episodes aired in May, to the extent that an online petition to redo them garnered more than a million signatures.

It’s not clear how many Israelis were looking for a do-over in our local competition for the Iron Throne, otherwise known as the Prime Minister’s Residence on Balfour Street in Jerusalem, but overnight Wednesday, we got it. Continue reading

Netanyahu is not the problem this time

Calls for unity are a lovely sentiment and there is a time and place for them. But in this case, they’re based in a deep misunderstanding of the political reality, along with a disregard for voters.

Some Blue and White Party members have been saying in recent days that if anyone else but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were leading the Likud, the country would not be going to another election this year, Blue and White and Likud would form a government together, and everything would be perfect.
“The public wants a national unity government,” Blue and White co-chairman Yair Lapid said in a faction meeting. “Netanyahu is an obstacle to a unity government. If someone else stands at the head of Likud – anyone except Netanyahu – we can form a national unity government [that is] functioning, without extortion, without extremists, without billions in political bribes.” Contnue reading

Who’s playing a game of chicken?

On the one hand, Likud denied making a final decision on going to elections. On the other, it ordered all MKs to report to the Knesset on Monday to vote to hold an election.

The headlines are dramatic. Another election is on the way! Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu can’t form a majority coalition!

Keep in mind, though, that we still have some time – not much – before we know if that is really true.

Throughout Sunday, Likud played both sides of the reports.

On the one hand, the party denied making a final decision of going to elections.

On the other, it made steps in that direction, ordering all MKs to report to the Knesset on Monday for a vote to hold an election and calling a meeting of the Likud secretariat to cancel the need for new primaries, since they already held a vote earlier this year. Party insiders leaked the contents of a Likud ministers’ meeting in which Netanyahu said he wants to add Kulanu MKs to the list for the next Knesset. Netanyahu’s spokesman Yonatan Urich tweeted a thinly veiled threat to Yisrael Beytenu: “For my next trick, I will need NIS 10 million for ads targeting Russian-speakers.” Continue reading

The unsolvable puzzle of haredi enlistment

Yet again, the issue of haredi enlistment in the IDF has caused a major political upheaval, and we could yet go to an election over it in three months.

One could be forgiven for feeling a sense of déjà vu – after all, the above sentence could have been written at almost any time in 2018, as well. And, in fact, the election that took place only seven weeks ago was called in part because of an impasse on the very issue of haredi enlistment. Continue reading

 

The 20-year death spasm of the Israeli Left

The ideological left in Israel has been in free-fall for two decades, and now Labor and Meretz combined have a grand total of 11 seats.

A milestone passed this weekend with no fanfare and hardly anyone taking notice. It was the 20th anniversary of the last time a left-wing party won a general election in Israel.
Ehud Barak’s One Israel, a combination of Labor and smaller parties, won with 26 seats, with Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud receiving 19. At the time, there were direct elections for prime minister, and Barak won with 56.08% to Netanyahu’s 43.92%.
But Barak’s tenure as the country’s 10th prime minister was short-lived, and the Likud reared back into power two years later in 2001 under Ariel Sharon. In the two decades since, no left-wing party has won an election in Israel. The historic Labor Party has been in decline ever since, with the exception of 2015, when it surged to 24 seats under the name Zionist Union. Similarly, Meretz, which received 10 seats in the 1999 election, never returned to those glory days.
The ideological Left in Israel has been in free-fall for two decades; in the April 9 election, Labor and Meretz together garnered a grand total of only 11 seats. Continue reading

Douglas Murray: Israel has a healthier attitude towards nationalism than Europe

Murray has given several talks in Israel this week on immigration, the subject of his hit book The Strange Death of Europe, which came out in 2017 and was released in Hebrew late last year.

The first Israeli Conservatism Conference sought to bring some of the biggest conservative intellectual names to its event in Jerusalem on Thursday. In that vein, British writer and commentator Douglas Murray spoke, along with well-known Israeli right-wing figures.

Murray has given several talks in Israel this week on immigration, the subject of his hit book The Strange Death of Europe, which came out in 2017 and was released in Hebrew late last year.

“Immigration is the major issue everywhere, and even the countries where it isn’t the number one issue, it ends up becoming one,” Murray told The Jerusalem Post this week. Continue reading