The toll that the coronavirus pandemic has exacted on the Israeli public isn't fully reflected in the number of fatalities, the number of infected patients or figures on those required to go into quarantine. COVID-19 also affected many chronically ill patients whose conditions require that they receive continuous monitoring, and fewer Israelis received preventative medical care.
A study published by the Israel National Institute for Health Policy on Tuesday found that in the course of the pandemic, the number of diagnostic tests for illnesses such as diabetes and cancer dropped markedly. The largest declines were seen during the first lockdown, in March and April of last year, but the ground lost at the time was never fully made up.
The data confirms hospitals' reports of a sharp drop in hospital visits, including for critical testing, in the early months of the pandemic, for reasons other than COVID-19. That, in part, was because people were afraid of becoming infected in the hospital and partly because hospitals and other medical providers were forced to postpone nonurgent care at peak periods of the pandemic.
The United Nations' envoy to the Middle East warned on Tuesday of rekindling the violence between Israel and Hamas and urged to "avoid provocations that could lead to confrontation" ahead of the planned right-wing Flag March in Jerusalem.
The march was originally scheduled for Israel's Jerusalem Day last month. It was, however, diverted due to security concerns as clashes between police and Palestinians in the city intensified. Shortly after it began, it was dispersed due to Hamas rocket fire from Gaza toward Jerusalem, which lead to an 11-day round of fighting between Israel and Hamas.
"Tensions rising again in Jerusalem at a very fragile and sensitive security and political time, when UN and Egypt are actively engaged in solidifying the cease-fire," UN Middle East envoy Tor Wennesland said on Twitter.
Nazi collaborator, the world's biggest drug dealer, a traitor to the United States, one of the most evil people in the world, even Satan's seed. To judge by some of the epithets hurled at him over the years, Jewish-American billionaire George Soros may certainly be one of the most hated people in the world.
Large swaths of Europe and America view him as evil incarnate, sure that he's putting entire countries at risk. They hold him responsible for the financial collapse of a long list of countries including Thailand, Malasia, Indonesia, Japan and Russia.
A few years ago, the government of Hungary, his country of birth, even launched an anti-immigration campaign featuring posters of Soros and the slogan Don't let Soros have the last laugh. The photo of the billionaire that was plastered all over the country showed a smile you wouldn't want to bump into in a dark alley.
Twitter on Tuesday introduced an "Arabic (feminine)" language setting enabling the social media site to speak to users using feminine grammar, part of what it said was an inclusion and diversity drive.
"We want our service to reflect the voices that shape the conversations that take place on our service," said Rasha Fawakhiri, Twitter's communications head for the Middle East and North Africa.
In Arabic, verbs agree with the gender of their subject. Masculine forms are used to address mixed or unknown audiences and are the default in most texts.
An analysis of bronze statuettes dating to a period of division and instability in ancient Egypt shows that during this time, the pharaohs were still importing imported massive amounts of copper from the southern deserts of today's Israel and Jordan.
The research sheds some light on a less-explored period in Egypt's and the Mediterranean's history, which followed the collapse of major civilizations at the end of the Bronze Age, some 3,200 years ago. It highlights how even in this supposed dark age' international trade links were not entirely cut, and in fact helped fuel artistic and cultural changes in Egypt, the researchers say.
The study, published this week in the Journal of Archaeological Science: Reports, focused on four funerary artifacts dated to around 1010 B.C.E. and unearthed at Tanis, a city in the Nile Delta that served as the pharaoh's capital in those troubled times. The statuettes are part of the collection of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem and were analyzed by the museum's conservators with the help of researchers from Tel Aviv University and Israel's Geological Survey.
Uzia Galil, one of the fathers of Israeli hi-tech, died last week at the age 96 at his home in Haifa.
In 1962, Galil founded Elron and led the company for 37 years. He died last Wednesday and today Elron trades on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange at a market cap of 650 million shekels ($200 million). He also served as chairman of Elbit Systems for many years.
Uzia Galil was the founding father of Israeli high-tech. At the start of the 1960s, when Israel's brand was oranges and orchards, he founded Elron with the vision of building a knowledge-based industry, Elron said in a statement.
U.S. President Joe Biden called Prime Minister Naftali Bennett only two hours after he was sworn in on Sunday, a timeframe orders of magnitude shorter than the near month-long wait between Biden's own swearing in and his first call to former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in February.
The delayed call was seen by many in Israel as a snub, although many believe that it instead reflected the low priority that the Biden administration initially placed on Israel as it grappled with the rollout of its coronavirus vaccination effort and attempts to rebuild ties with European allies estranged by the Trump administration.
However, the White House was soon forced to grapple with Israel and the Palestinians after fighting broke out last month, prompting a visit by Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, who was sent from Washington to try and shore up a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. By the time Blinken arrived, it was beginning to appear that Netanyahu's record-breaking term as prime minister was in danger of ending and America's chief diplomat quickly arranged a meeting with now-alternate Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid.
The Israeli military has deployed Iron Dome air defense batteries and raised its level of alert ahead of the Jerusalem Flag March on Tuesday, as Hamas says it would respond to the right-wing march if it goes through as planned, potentially with rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.
Omer Bar-Lev, the newly sworn-in public security minister, decided on Monday evening, after a meeting with Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai and representatives of several Israeli defense agencies, to let the march go on as planned.
"I was under the impression that the police is well prepared and that a great effort has been made to safeguard the delicate fabric of life and public safety," Bar-Lev said in a statement.
The Israel Health Ministry has given personal information about millions of Israelis to more than 250 local governments and other government agencies since the coronavirus pandemic began.
The data included the names and addresses of people who were ill or quarantined, test results, contact tracing information and information about vaccination status. In most cases, the data was provided without the person's knowledge or consent, but also without violating the Privacy Protection Act.
Data released by the ministry in response to a freedom of information request from Haaretz shows that between February 2020 and last month, 267 public bodies requested such details from the ministry at least once. Altogether, these requests covered most, or sometimes all, Israelis.
During its first days, the Bennett-Lapid government will have to deal with two security and political minefields inherited from the previous administration: The Flag March, which is scheduled to take place Tuesday in a limited framework in Jerusalem's Old City, and the unauthorized outpost of Evyatar south of Nablus, which the army will apparently be ordered to evacuate.
But for Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Defense Minister Benny Gantz, more significant strategic challenges are expected going forward. These challenges concern all the main arenas in which Israel is engaged: Iran, Syria and Lebanon, and the West Bank and Gaza Strip. And in all these arenas, the power that Israel will demonstrate and the room to maneuver it will have will largely depend on its relations with the U.S. administration.
During his 12 consecutive years in office, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu achieved great success from his perspective on the Palestinian channel, along with serious failures on the Iranian issue, which he refuses to admit.
Marjorie Taylor Greene, the controversial Georgia Republican congresswoman, toured the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and apologized for likening coronavirus protections to the Holocaust.
I have made a mistake and it's really bothered me for a couple of weeks now, and so I definitely want to own it. The horrors of the Holocaust are something that some people don't even believe happened, and some people deny but there is no comparison to the Holocaust, Greene said Monday outside the Capitol, after completing her private museum tour.
And there are words that I have said remarks that I've made, that I know are offensive, and for that I want to apologize; antisemitism is true hate, and I saw that today at the Holocaust Museum, Greene said. And I think it's something that we should all remember and never forget. So I just wanted to come here today and say that I'm truly sorry for offending people with remarks about the Holocaust, there's no comparison. There never ever will be.
The main message shared by all the disparate branches of the new government, from right and left, is clear: This week, Israel said no to a government with authoritarian characteristics.
After 12 years in power, MK Benjamin Netanyahu adopted more than a few traits of this type: He turned the members of the government and cabinet into rubber stamps and concentrated power and numerous types of authority in his office. He undermined the principle of the separation of authorities, and especially the independence of the justice system and law enforcement, he compartmentalized the executive branch, cultivated a personal and familial cult of personality, ascribed to himself superhuman qualities, quashed the political competition in Likud and became his party's supreme leader.
The ideological line of the movement he represented lost meaning because it was zigzagged in the service of his cynical needs. Netanyahu lied as easily as he breathed and always had in his pocket an external and internal enemy and an imaginary deep state that had to be fought while sowing divisiveness. He also challenged human rights and freedom of the press.
Moreover, there was no festive handover ceremony on Monday, even though that's the usual custom when ministries change hands. This was a display of ungentlemanly stinginess on the part of a man who doesn't know how to lose someone who exalts the state in words, but is always driven by his own personal welfare in practice.
The hasty handover and the refusal to hold any ceremony to mark the transition reflect the fact that Netanyahu isn't willing to accept his defeat. The venomous speech he delivered during the new government's swearing-in ceremony attested to the same problem. It's impossible to have confidence in someone who defrauded his voters in a way we haven't seen since the state was founded, he said. We'll quickly topple this fraudulent government and save the people of Israel. After the longest prime ministerial tenure in the country's history, Netanyahu hasn't managed to muster the ability to transfer power with even a modicum of dignity.
In his new book Restricted Data, the historian Alex Wellerstein examines the birth of a new kind of secrecy, a type unknown in the United States prior to the development of the atomic bomb. Its objects were the scientific and technological discoveries and developments of the Manhattan Project. Its subjects were the roughly 500,000 people who staffed the atomic project's secret research and development sites.
Creating an environment of secrecy for brilliant scientists people whose work is nourished by the free flow of information was a major challenge for the project's commander, Lt. Gen. Leslie Groves, and his security officers. Robert Oppenheimer, the project's scientific director, warned Groves that any attempt to impose rigid information security rules would not only fail, but would undermine the work itself. This created inbuilt conflicts between the scientists and the security officers.
As a solution to this problem, Oppenheimer proposed setting up Los Alamos as a secret research and development town in the heart of a New Mexican desert. It was necessary to build a geographic working environment for the scientists whose very existence would contain the secret. Maintaining information security was essential to the work, but it was also essential not to alienate the scientists doing it.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan sounded upbeat after his first face-to-face talks with Joe Biden, though he announced no major breakthroughs in the awkward relationship between the two allies, at odds over Russian weapons, Syria, Libya and other issues.
Erdogan characterized his talks with the new U.S. president on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Brussels as "productive and sincere". "We think that there are no issues within U.S.-Turkey ties, and that areas of cooperation for us are richer and larger than problems," he said.
Turkey, with the alliance's second-largest military, has angered its allies in the Western military alliance by buying Russian surface-to-air missiles and intervening in wars in Syria and Libya. It is also in a stand-off with Greece and Cyprus over territory in the Eastern Mediterranean.
For hundreds of thousands of years, hominins made pretty much the same stone tools: rough scrapers, heavy triangular spearheads, and other fairly sophisticated but unchanging artifacts. Suddenly, around 50,000 years ago, the utensils abruptly changed. Spear-points became sharper and lighter, while slender and deadly blades started to appear. Within a few millennia, a heartbeat in prehistoric terms, this new technology had taken over the world.
This is what archaeologists call the transition between the Middle and the Upper Paleolithic in Eurasia. Experts have long wondered if this technological revolution could be linked to the spread of modern Homo sapiens from Africa, which occurred roughly around the same time.
Now, archaeologists digging in Israel's Negev desert have identified the earliest appearance of the so-called Initial Upper Paleolithic tool culture. Indeed, they link its emergence to the last great migration of our human ancestors out of Africa.
Israel is canceling its mask mandate, save for a few exceptions, starting Tuesday.
The Health Ministry's director general, Chezy Levy, signed the amendment to its coronavirus health order on Monday, effectively ending the obligation to wear masks in closed spaces. The exceptions include airplane flights, welfare institutions and institutions for elderly considered high-risk and people in quarantine.
The requirements for the so-called purple and green standards were lifted on June 1. The purple standard, which allowed business to operate during the pandemic, went into effect in April 2020. The green standard, which constituted approval for people who had been vaccinated or had recovered from COVID-19 to enter public spaces, was instituted in February.
Indeed, the moment we stopped talking to check messages on our phones, she took the opportunity and asked: So, what do you two think about the new government? Are you happy? Don't you think it's a good thing? And added, as though to convince us: The important thing is that they're finally a part of the government, even if they're religious.
She is from Tel Aviv and votes left, she later told us. I couldn't help but wonder what would have happened had I congratulated her if Shas, United Torah Judaism or Bezalel Smotrich's party had assembled the coalition. So what do you think about the new government? I would have asked her. You must be happy. Don't you think it's a good thing? The important thing is that they're finally a part of the government, even if they're religious.
First of all, please remind me to send a basket of baklava to Knesset member Bezalel Smotrich and a kilo of knafeh to MK Itamar Ben-Gvir. Without their pure racism, we would be mired in a Benjamin Netanyahu-Ben-Gvir-Mansour Abbas government. These two right-wing Knesset members helped pave the way to the government of change.
It's good that the Netanyahu era is ending; good that the architect of incitement, hatred, divisiveness and fascism enablement is leaving. Jews and Arabs alike have reason to celebrate. An unbearable period is over. Now we can be free to battle the injustices of the new era.
We just note first that it was sad to watch the opening scene of the new government, as Prime Minister Naftali Bennett was armed to the teeth with a nationalist narrative covering at least 2000 years and appropriating the entire land for the chosen people.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who is vying to mend Turkey's battered relations with its Western partners, said Monday that a revival of dialogue with fellow NATO member Greece to resolve long-standing disputes will serve stability and prosperity in the region.
Speaking on the sidelines of a NATO summit, Erdogan also lamented what he said was a lack of support by Turkey's NATO allies in its fight against terrorism. It was a veiled reference to Turkey's disappointment with U.S. military support for Syrian Kurdish fighters, who Ankara argues are inextricably linked to a decades-long Kurdish insurgency in Turkey.
Erdogan is holding a series of one-on-one meetings with NATO leaders, including U.S. President Joe Biden. The Turkish strongman has recently toned down his anti-Western rhetoric as he seeks foreign investments for his country, which has been troubled by a currency crisis and an economic downturn made worse by the coronavirus pandemic.
In the transition of power from Benjamin Netanyahu to Naftali Bennett, Israel went from having its most powerful prime minister since the founder, David Ben-Gurion, to its weakest prime minister ever.
Netanyahu was, and still is, the domineering leader of the largest party. As prime minister, he marginalized every other source of authority the Knesset, the civil service and his own ministers to concentrate as much power within his own office.
Bennett, by comparison, barely controls his own tiny Yamina party. Under the coalition agreement, he cannot fire any minister of another party. And in the cabinet that he officially leads, at least four ministers Yair Lapid, Benny Gantz, Avigdor Lieberman and Gideon Sa'ar now control wide swaths of government policy over which the prime minister will have little if any influence.
Host Simon Spungin is joined by Haaretz's Ravit Hecht and Anshel Pfeffer, the day after a coalition headed by Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid unseated Benjamin Netanyahu and brought his 12-year reign to an end.
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We discuss Netanyahu's legacy, his farewell speech to the Knesset and his plans for the future which, he insists, includes bringing down the new government.
NATO leaders designated China as presenting "systemic challenges" in a summit communique on Monday, taking a forceful stance towards Beijing at Joe Biden's first summit with an alliance that Donald Trump openly disparaged and ridiculed.
The new U.S. president has urged his fellow NATO leaders to stand up to China's authoritarianism and growing military might, a change of focus for an alliance created to defend Europe from the Soviet Union during the Cold War.
The language in the summit's final communique, which will now set the path for alliance policy, comes a day after the Group of Seven (G7) rich nations issued a statement on human rights in China and Taiwan that Beijing said slandered its reputation.
Israel's new interior minister, Ayelet Shaked, said on Monday that she would move to return asylum seekers to their countries of origin and to persuade them to voluntarily leave Israel for a third country.
It's a strategic matter. We will protect the borders and the country, said the Yamina party minister at her handover ceremony. Israel is a Jewish and democratic country, and I will move with all my might to implement a responsible immigration policy while providing a fair solution for well-founded humanitarian situations.
Former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had struck a deal with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in April 2018 to end the operation deporting thousands of asylum seekers to Rwanda and instead to settle some of them in Israel and some in the West.
Haaretz journalist Gideon Levy is one of the winners of the prestigious Sokolow Prize for 2021, which is awarded by the city of Tel Aviv. Levy, 68, who has been writing for Haaretz since 1982, won the prize for print journalism.
Levy has been writing a weekly column, The Twilight Zone, since the First Intifada on the suffering of Palestinians in the occupied territories. In his opinion pieces in Haaretz, he writes about the injustice of the occupation and does not hesitate to express unpopular views against Israel's policies, which often draw a heavy criticism from readers and the general public.
Journalist Gideon Levy regularly challenges the Israeli consensus in courageous work on the ground that brings the testimonies and stories of those who do not receive adequate exposure in the local media discussion the voices of Palestinians in Judea, Samaria and in the past the Gaza Strip, wrote the judges in their decision to award the prize. Levy presents original and independent positions that do not surrender to convention or social codes, and in doing so enriches the public discourse fearlessly.
Six Arab men from Jaffa were indicted on Monday for the attempted murder of a 19-year-old off-duty Israeli soldier last month, during the latest Gaza conflict.
The soldier, Lion Shernin, was seriously injured in the Jaffa attack, which took place on May 13, sustaining a brain hemorrhage. He is undergoing rehabilitation at Tel Aviv's Ichilov Hospital, where he was taken immediately after the attack.
The attack took place during the riots that broke out in Jaffa, as well as in other mixed Jewish-Arab cities, in response to the fighting in the Gaza Strip. Shernin was in Jaffa to visit his grandfather when rioters threw rocks at him and sprayed him with pepper spray, according to a Magen David Adom ambulance service medic, Nadav Arazi, who treated Shernin at the scene.
The expulsion of a far-right lawmaker from the Knesset during Naftali Bennett's final speech before being sworn in as prime minister on Sunday evening angered the families of some terror victims, while others have come out strongly in favor of using images of the dead for political purposes.
During Bennett's address ahead of the lawmakers' vote of confidence in his government, Religious Zionism party chairman Bezalel Smotrich and MK Orit Strock were ejected from the Knesset hall for yelling shame at the prime minister designate while holding pictures of Israelis killed by Palestinians.
At least look into the eyes of the victims of terrorism, the people whose killers were hugged by the people you are hugging and forming a government with now. Shame on you, Smotrich tweeted, in a reference to Bennett's inclusion of the Arab Islamist Ra'am party in his government, soon after being forcibly removed by Knesset ushers.
Naftali Bennett and his wife Gilat wanted it all when they returned to Israel from a stint in the United States in the early 2000s: a spacious villa in a neighborhood full of synagogues, preschools and an elementary school in walking distance, populated by families ranging from strictly Orthodox to secular.
Like many other affluent modern Orthodox Israelis, they ultimately chose to raise their family in the northeast corner of Ra'anana, just north of Tel Aviv,
The area is a magnet for English-speaking immigrants and Israelis like the Bennetts. Their neighborhood offers them the family-friendly tranquility one would find in the suburbs of New Jersey or Long Island, with a half-hour commute to Tel Aviv and only an hour-long ride to Jerusalem.
During wartime, we know what the Israel Defense Forces does. Its soldiers, even if their identities aren't exposed or familiar, receive the nation's collective embrace. In times of quiet not only are the soldiers anonymous, but so are their acts. But why shortchange them, or fail to praise them to their faces and those of their parents? For example: In the six days between June 3 and June 9, IDF troops killed three Palestinians, wounded dozens, carried out 151 raids throughout the West Bank and East Jerusalem, arrested 99 people, including 16 minors, and demolished 10 tents and nine huts in the Jericho area.
Rabbi Dov Lipman, a former Knesset member and well-known advocate for English-speaking immigrants, has been fired from his leadership position at a global Zionist movement.
Haaretz reported last month that the 49-year-old Orthodox rabbi was embroiled in a legal battle with a woman who accused him of sexual misconduct and another woman who published a Facebook post describing allegedly improper behavior on his part, which he denies.
Lipman had been serving as secretary-general of the World Confederation of United Zionists, a centrist organization with representatives in the World Zionist Congress. He was appointed to the position late last year.
The distressed caller was on the line from Gaza when an explosion drowned out his voice and the line suddenly went dead.
For counselors at the Sawa 121 (One-to-One) Palestinian helpline in Ramallah, it is a grimly familiar end to calls in times of conflict, most recently during the 11-day hostilities between Israel and Hamas in May.
"You don't know if they're still alive or not," Sawa co-founder Ohaila Shomar told Reuters at her call center office in Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank.
After having dedicated his political career to the destruction of any prospects of peace, Benjamin Netanyahu's departure won't be mourned by many worldwide, with the exception of his friends Orban, Bolsonaro and the team behind President Trump's "Deal of the Century."
But the real issue isn't about one name, one individual, but about the policies that represent his real legacy: Hateful incitement, racism, discrimination and an illegal colonial-settlement occupation are among the policies Mr. Netanyahu so strongly enshrined in Israel's political life through laws such as the Jewish Nation State law.
And the real question now is whether the new Israeli government is merely a name-change, or if it has any intention of ending that racist colonial legacy for the sake of a comprehensive and just political solution with the Palestinian people.
WASHINGTON Republican and evangelical leaders on Sunday lauded the legacy of opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu, while expressing confidence in Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's ability to deepen ties between the United States and Israel.
Republican officials and evangelical sources, as well as certain Jewish establishment organizations associated with Netanyahu, thanked the former premier for his efforts but also quickly welcomed Bennett. Evangelical leaders also said they would pray for the new prime minister.
Senators Bill Hagerty and Ted Cruz, Republican members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee who both recently visited Israel, were among the first lawmakers to comment on the new government.
Newly sworn-in Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said on Monday that Israel must change the way it deals with U.S. Democrats, who he said had been abandoned by former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
"The Republicans are important to us, but not just them. We find ourselves, as you well know, facing a Democratic White House, a Democratic Senate and a Democratic Congress," Lapid told Israeli diplomats. "And these Democrats are angry."
Lapid said that he spoke to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sunday night. "Both of us believe that we need to build our relationship with the government based on mutual respect and on better dialogue," he said.
Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh hailed on Monday the end of "a dark chapter in the history of the conflict" with the departure of former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, but played down hopes of any progress with the Bennett-led coalition.
At a Palestinian Authority government meeting, Shtayyeh warned that "we do not see the new government as less dangerous than its predecessors," and cited Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's support for Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
"This government has no right to exist if it ignores the rights of the Palestinian people," Shtayyeh said, "especially when the number of Palestinians from the Jordan River to the Sea is exceeding the number of Israelis, the same nation that united last month against Israeli aggression" a reference to the riots in mixed Jewish-Arab cities throughout Israel during the flare-up with Gaza in May.
As world leaders congratulated Naftali Bennett who was sworn in as Israel's 13th prime minister on Sunday, so too did a Jewish day school in New Jersey which the Yamina head attended in the 1980s.
Mazal tov to former Yavneh Academy student, Naftali Bennett on becoming Israel's new Prime Minister, the school posted on its Facebook page on Sunday evening, alongside a class picture featuring the future leader.
Wow, this is great, one alumus commented. Yavneh graduates go places, another crowed.
Thirty-eight years ago, on a flight from Washington to New York, a senior Israeli officer studying at Georgetown bumped into the young deputy ambassador he had first encountered a decade earlier when Benjamin Netanyahu was an officer in the IDF's elite Sayeret Matkal unit.
I asked Bibi on the flight, Where do you see yourself in 10 years?' the officer would later recall. Without hesitation he answered: As prime minister.' Come on,' I said. You'll have to first overcome the Likud dinosaurs like Shamir, and then the Likud princes.' Bibi answered: The dinosaurs are dying out and the princes are too blue-blooded to fight for the crown. I'll get there.'
Netanyahu's boastful prediction was only three years off. He would become prime minister in 1996 at age 46 to the chagrin of those Likud princes. But back in 1983, it sounded preposterous.
World leaders congratulated Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and alternate Prime Minister Yair Lapid, who were sworn in on Sunday night, ending Benjamin Netanyahu's 12 consecutive years in office.
Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated Bennett on Monday, adding that the cooperation between Russia and Israel will help promote peace in the Middle East."
I expect that your work at the helm of the government will facilitate a further development of constructive bilateral cooperation along all directions, Putin said in a statement released by the Kremlin.
Iran does not expect Israeli foreign and security policy to change under its new government, a foreign ministry spokesman said on Monday, according to ISNA news agency, a day after Israel's parliament ended Benjamin Netanyahu's 12-year run as prime minister.
"Iran's enemies are gone and powerful Iran is still here. I don't think Israel's policies will change with the new government," Saeed Khatibzadeh said.
In his speech to Knesset ahead of the swearing-in of the new government, Netanyahu gave a speech excoriating his rival, the new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, saying that he will not be able to keep Washington from re-joining the nuclear agreement with Iran.
A fascinating political experiment got underway Sunday night: A government full of contradictions, built entirely of impossible combinations and precedents, some of which deserve to be called historic, won the confidence of the Knesset. At 8:52 P.M. local time Benjamin Netanyahu ended his term as prime minister. Naftali Bennett, who had once served as the head of his office and his punching bag, has replaced him.
If the red phone rings in the middle of the night, it will awaken Naftali and his wife Gilat. At the Prime Minister's Residence on Jerusalem's Balfour Street, the night will have passed quietly, undisturbed at least in regard to national security.
Thirty-five governments have come and gone through the Knesset. For the losers, it has always been difficult sometimes quite bitter to hand over the reins of power. In 1996, for example, Netanyahu, who had been elected in the aftermath of Yitzhak Rabin's assassination, was received respectfully by a battered and shocked Labor Party when he was sworn into office.
The inauguration of the new Bennett-Lapid government is an important turning point in the political arena in Israel. A country that since 2009 has only known Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister will have to get used to referring to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett. The excitement among the public and the media is understandable, especially since for more than a decade the prime minister was trying to build the Third Kingdom of Israel in his image and for the sake of his own survival.
Moreover, the desire to replace Netanyahu led to the seemingly illogical connections between a conservative Arab Islamic party and a liberal party headed by a proud member of the gay community. Add to this Avigdor Lieberman and his well-known affection for Arab citizens, and Bennett, a religious Zionist. This is a celebration of democracy that cannot be ignored. But therein arises a question of how Israeli Arab citizens, as well as the Palestinians, will view the new government.
Israeli politicians and journalists mistakenly assume that Israeli Arab citizens and the Palestinians of the West Bank and Gaza examine the new government from the Israeli perspective. As such, any differing line of thought or opposing opinion is considered illogical and leads once again to the view that among the Arabs there is no partner and they miss every opportunity to make a change. The prevailing view in the change camp is that the Palestinians should be saying thank you and be partners to the Israeli celebration of democracy.
A person who worked with Benjamin Netanyahu after his 2009 election victory recalled recently that when his boss returned to the Prime Minister's Office, he met with then-Attorney General Menachem Mazuz. Mazuz waited in the reception area. Netanyu came out of his office, approached him, shook his hand and walked him to the office, said the person, who spoke with Haaretz on condition of anonymity. It was a small gesture that demonstrated Netanyahu's respect for the judiciary and perhaps even his fear of it, and certainly his desire to maintain good relations with it. Mazuz is largely responsible for enabling Netanyahu's return to the Prime Minister's Office in March 2009, nearly a decade after he left it, after ordering the criminal investigation of his predecessor Ehud Olmert, which interrupted his term at its height.
Netanyahu entered his second term armed with a lesson from the first one not to become involved in a head-on collision with the legal establishment. Yehuda Weinstein, Mazuz's successor as attorney general, was one of the people closest to Netanyahu; they spoke daily and met regularly. As long as Weinstein didn't order examinations and investigations against the Netanyahus and didn't challenge them on the ethical or criminal spheres, the prime minister acceded to all his demands and carefully protected him and the status of the legal system.
When MKs Yariv Levin and Zeev Elkin submitted a bill requiring Supreme Court nominees to undergo a Knesset hearing and giving the Knesset Constitution, Law and Justice Committee veto power over the appointments, then-Supreme Court President Dorit Beinisch contacted Weinstein and asked him to take action. Weinstein called Netanyahu, who crushed the draft law immediately and even criticized it harshly in public. The independence of the Supreme Court is above everything, he stressed. There will be no such law in a government I head.
On Sunday the Bennett-Lapid government, Israel's 36th government, was sworn in. After more than 12 years in which Benjamin Netanyahu served as prime minister, his authority was transferred to the new prime minister, Naftali Bennett. This government also constitutes a breakthrough in its composition: Not only is it made up of both right-wing and left-wing parties, but for the first time an Arab party is a full partner in the governing coalition.
We must congratulate this government of change, and wish it success. Bennett's conciliatory and statesmanlike address, that spoke of the hope inherent in the union between different types of people, was repeatedly and rudely interrupted by lawmakers with no respect, who humiliated the Knesset, the president, their political parties, their families, their voters and primarily themselves. They didn't stop their offensive heckling even when Bennett acknowledged that this is a sensitive political moment, nor did they respond to his call, addressed to both sides, to show restraint.
Bennett acknowledged that there are a lot of disagreements within the government that he formed with Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid, and with his partners on the right and left, Jews and Arabs; he committed to implement what they could agree on, and what divides us, we will leave aside for now. Aware of the division among the people on the one hand, and the gaps within his coalition on the other, Bennett set realistic goals for the new government. The new government will seek real, practical solutions for the state's problems. It seems that it's been a long time since Israeli citizens had a government that simply worked, that comes to work.
The essential foundation of a democratic regime is trust between the citizens and the state institutions. The decade of rule of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his cronies broke this trust. The Knesset also contributed to the shattering of its own status and to the transfer of tremendous power to the government. It was the Knesset that waived its power and lost the ability to oversee the government, and the government dealt a mortal blow to our human rights. The new government and Knesset will have to take on the Herculean task of rehabilitating the public's trust in its country.
The main system that requires rehabilitation is the kingdom of secrecy of our security state. In the past week the country has been in turmoil surrounding the terrible case of the military intelligence officer who was found dead in his prison cell. We learned, once again, that the system can disappear a person, and can operate secret courts, with select lawyers who are the only ones authorized to see the information and to handle an ostensibly legal process in the dark. In such a trial there is no trust. In a situation where there is no knowledge, there are conspiracy theories and conspiracy undermines the basic trust necessary for a democracy.
Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi defended the army's actions in the affair in a conference organized by the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya and the National Security College: Everything we did was done in order to safeguard his privacy and that of his family, in order to treat them fairly. In my response I said at the conference that if we want to prevent erosion in public trust, it is unconscionable for Israel to have detainees or prisoners whose existence is known only to the defense establishment, and that this is a blow to transparency and to the public's right to know.
What we talk about when we talk about Bibism. Following are axioms of the Bibist movement:
1. Benjamin Netanyahu must be Israel's prime minister. Any other prime minister will endanger the country's security and even its very existence. That is the existential argument.
2. Only Netanyahu is allowed to be the prime minister (he is the only one who has a right) because that is the will of the people, which is the sovereign. This will is irrefutable. If Netanyahu loses the election, or is unable to form a government in the wake of their outcome, that means that agents of the deep state (see Article 4) distorted the will of the voters, defrauding them. It is axiomatic that in the Knesset there is always a majority for Netanyahu. The problem is that the agents of the deep state do not permit this majority to express itself. The purpose of the election is to ratify the people's desire for the continued reign of Netanyahu. If the election fails to fulfill this mission, it is a sign that the election is defective. That is the moral argument.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and U.S. President Joe Biden spoke on the phone, about two hours after the new Israeli government was sworn in.
A statement from Bennett's office said the two "stressed the importance of the alliance between Israel and the United States, as well as their commitment to strengthening ties ... and maintaining Israel's security."
The White House said Biden "highlighted his decades of steadfast support for the U.S.-Israel relationship and his unwavering commitment to Israel's security."
The Bennett-Lapid government, born on Sunday after an agonizing journey that is far from over, had one central mission, which was fulfilled with stunning success at the moment of its birth: replacing the regime of Benjamin Netanyahu. Never have politicians fulfilled their election promises so rapidly. From here on, things can only deteriorate. Therefore, the new government's second goal will be to avoid at all costs any dispute over core issues between its left and right wings, a dispute which could lead to its downfall, thereby foiling its primary mission.
In these kinds of controversies, the left wing of this patchwork government will find itself in a structural and permanent disadvantage. It all began with the endless process in which the left in Israel drifted towards the center, submitting to the terms of discourse dictated by the right. Subsequently, replacing Netanyahu became the overarching goal of this camp, more than the realization of an ideology. That's how Naftali Bennett, a leader with six Knesset seats, became prime minister; this was how the possibility of adding the Joint List to the coalition was rejected out of hand; and that is how the right-wing nature of this coalition was predetermined.
From that point on, the center-left continued paying a hefty price for the ousting of Netanyahu from the official residence on Balfour Street. In terms of the allocation of portfolios, the placement of Gideon Sa'ar as justice minister, of Ayelet Shaked as interior minister and of Ze'ev Elkin as minister of housing will give the center-left serious and daily headaches. Another volatile portfolio has not been handed out after Habayit Hayehudi MK Hagit Moshe rejected it, leaving the post in Bennett's hands. This is the new ministry for settlement, established after a previous election cycle by Likud's Tzipi Hotovely and Tzachi Hanegbi. This ministry is in fact the one responsible for settlements beyond the 1967 borders.
Benjamin Netanyahu excelled in two qualities: quick perception and focus on the goal. He didn't offer a unified, sweeping vision or world-embracing ideas that would remain in the public awareness after his departure. Netanyahu was and is a task-oriented person who chooses what to deal with and neglects the rest, as was demonstrated just last year in the coronavirus crisis and the import of vaccines.
He entered politics with four goals: to prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state and the return of territories; to stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons; to turn Israel into a capitalist state where the rich are talented and successful; and to crush the old establishment, which he called replacing elites. Above all, the most important condition for meeting these goals was to remain in power for as long as possible.
From Netanyahu's perspective, the outcome is clearly balanced in his favor. Since his return to power, in December 2005, Israel has not relinquished a millimeter of land to the Palestinians or to Syria, the Palestinian state is off the agenda and four Arab states have signed peace treaties with Israel.
Rabbi Eliezer Berland, who was convicted of defrauding his followers and is under house arrest, is guarded by a member of his inner circle contrary to the strict conditions of his release. Berland was released to house arrest in February, required to wear an electronic bracelet and to be guarded by a private security firm at his own expense.
The company, MAG 58, was selected after it stated that it had no connection to Berland. Haaretz has learned that although MAG 58 is officially in charge of Berland's security, he is actually being guarded by one of his followers, Shmuel Gabbay.
A sentencing hearing was scheduled for Sunday, after the parties agreed that Berland would serve an 18-month prison term. After deducting for time served and the near-automatic sentence reduction of one-third, he is not expected to be in prison for more than a few days.
Outgoing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu revealed on Sunday that the U.S. government had demanded Israel immediately freeze construction in the Jerusalem neighborhoods of Arnona and Givat Hamatos, which are beyond the Green Line, as well as in settlements and "new Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem."
Netanyahu divulged the American demands during a speech to the Knesset ahead of the vote approving the new government: Apart from Iran, the second challenge we face is preventing the establishment of a Palestinian state that threatens our existence. The new administration in the United States has already revived efforts in this direction, Netanyahu said.
It has already demanded that we now freeze settlement building in Judea and Samaria and freeze construction of new Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem. I firmly rejected an appeal to freeze construction in Arnona and Givat Hamatos.
WASHINGTON U.S. President Joe Biden congratulated Israel's Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and his coalition partners moments after they were sworn in, saying in a statement he looks forward to working with Prime Minister Bennett to strengthen all aspects of the close and enduring relationship between our two nations.
Biden was the first world leader to react to the swearing-in, which ended Benjamin Netanyahu's 12 years as prime minister.
Israel has no better friend than the United States, Biden said. The bond that unites our people is evidence of our shared values and decades of close cooperation and as we continue to strengthen our partnership, the United States remains unwavering in its support for Israel's security.
WASHINGTON Jewish and pro-Israel organizations in America welcomed the new Israeli government helmed by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, highlighting the hope they see in the diverse coalition.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the most powerful pro-Israel organization in Washington, said it "welcomes the new, diverse Israeli government led by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and look forward to further bolstering the bond between the U.S. and Israel."
The North American Reform Jewish Movement, the largest Jewish movement outside of Israel, expressed hope that the government will further a pluralistic agenda, combat extremism and incitement, and act as a government for all of Israel's citizens.
Yamina chairman Naftali Bennett was sworn in on Sunday as Israel's 13th prime minister, ending Benjamin Netanyahu's 12 consecutive years in office. Yair Lapid of Yesh Atid was sworn in as the alternate prime minister.
Bennett will lead a coalition composed of parties from polar opposites of the Israeli political spectrum: from his own right-wing party to the centrist Yesh Atid, the leftist Labor and Meretz and the Islamist party, the United Arab List. Holding this fragile alliance together, with Netanyahu sniping from the opposition, will be a challenging task.
The new Bennett-Lapid government won the Knesset confidence vote, with 60 voting for, 59 against and one abstaining. Having received the confidence of the Knesset, the new government, with Yamina's Naftali Bennett as prime minister, will now be sworn in, unseating Benjamin Netanyahu after 12 years in office.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said he and U.S. President Joe Biden must use a meeting on Monday to move on from past troubles, including a bitter dispute over Ankara's purchase of Russian S-400 missiles.
Before travelling to Monday's NATO summit in Brussels, Erdogan said he expected an "unconditional approach" from Washington when he sat down with Biden for their first face-to-face session since last year's U.S. elections.
He said he would also raise the White House's recognition of the 1915 massacres of Armenians in the then Ottoman Empire as "genocide", a move which had infuriated Ankara, and the U.S. removal of Turkey from an F-35 fighter jet program.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader, had a few regrets last week. A mistake was made in disqualifying some of the candidates and an injustice was committed by blackening their name, he said. Khamenei was referring mainly to the decision to disqualify Ali Larijani, the former speaker of the Iranian parliament, from running for president.
Despite being a member of Iran's conservative camp, Larijani worked closely with Iranian President Hassan Rohani, supporting him throughout his term, and backed the nuclear agreement. Larijani could have swept up votes from the reformists if he had remained in the race, and that is precisely what Khamenei was afraid of.
Four days before the election, scheduled for June 18, Khamenei could give himself permission to criticize the Constitutional Council, whose members banned more than 1,400 presidential candidates and left only seven in the ring, since it is Khamenei who appoints half of the 12 members of the council, and decides the names of the worthy candidates, striking down all the others.
Jordan's military court will start the trial next week of a former royal court chief and a minor royal on charges of agitating to destabilize the monarchy, state media said on Sunday.
Prosecutors last week referred to court the case of Bassem Awadallah, an ex-royal court chief and finance minister who played a big role in the drive to liberalize Jordan's economy, and Sherif Hassan Zaid, a distant relative of King Abdullah.
They were arrested in early April when former heir to the throne Prince Hamza was placed under house arrest over allegations that he had liaised with foreign parties over a plot to destabilize Jordan, a close U.S. ally in the Middle East.
The National Infrastructure Committee intends to exempt the Europe Asia Pipeline Company (formerly the Eilat-Ashkelon Pipeline) from conducting an environmental impact survey of its installation in Ashkelon, sparking backlash from activist groups in Israel who are citing several serious incidents caused by the pipeline.
This move by the committee would mean that many of the pipeline's functions would go unreported, and therefore unregulated by authorities.
The Association of Cities for the Environment called on the committee to require an environmental survey, and noted that it was needed considering the number of environmental concerns regarding the pipeline in recent years.
In recent years, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made the Foreign Ministry irrelevant. He slashed its budget and ostracized it from the centers of decision-making. In its place, the prime minister's office opened an independent diplomatic branch through which Netanyahu advanced a series of Israel's foreign policy achievements.
Out of the sight of the foreign minister and his aides, Netanyahu facilitated the signing of the Abraham Accords between Israel and the Gulf states and Morocco. By leveraging his personal ties with former U.S. President Donald Trump, Netanyahu prompted the U.S. recognition of the Golan Heights as a part of Israel, and the move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem.
Foreign Minister-designate Yair Lapid will now have to follow in the path of his predecessor Gabi Ashkenazi, who began efforts to restore the ministry's status after his appointment in 2020. Lapid will have to propel the Foreign Ministry's senior officials into the heart of public action and mobilize significant funding to upgrade its activities.
On June 7, 1981, 40 years ago last week, Israel destroyed the Osirak (aka Tammuz) nuclear reactor near Baghdad. The decision to use the air force to launch the surprise attack on the unfinished facility was made by the government headed by Menachem Begin, in consultation with all the country's defense and intelligence bodies, after other options to thwart Saddam Hussein's nuclear weapons program had failed.
A recently published memoir sheds light on the contribution by Israel Atomic Energy Commission scientists to code-named Operation Opera, and for the first time confirms that Mossad operatives had two years earlier, in 1979, sabotaged an essential shipment of materials in France destined for the Iraqi facility. Until now the information about Israel violating French sovereignty was based on foreign reports. However, the author of the new book, Michael (Micky) Ron, claims that the Israeli operation did not actually achieve its goal because the Mossad did not listen to the advice of the experts from the IAEC.
The roots of the Iraqi nuclear program were planted in the years after the 1973 Yom Kippur War. Jerusalem began to receive worrying information about efforts by Saddam Hussein initially the deputy chairman of the Ba'ath Party's Revolutionary Command Council in Iraq, but in reality the strongman in his country even before he became president in 1979 to obtain nuclear weapons secretly, by building a research reactor imported from France.
Israeli prosecutors asked the judges in a bribery case against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday to reverse their ruling ordering a new search of the cellphone of a key witness.
In the Bezeq-Walla case, Netanyahu is charged with bribery, fraud and breach of trust for having allegedly conferred massive regulatory benefits on the telecom giant Bezeq in exchange for favorable coverage on the Walla internet news site.
On Wednesday the judges told prosecutors in the case to find correspondence with politicians, businesspeople, media figures and law enforcement on the phone of former Walla chief Ilan Yeshua, and deliver it to Netanyahu's lawyers.
Prime Minister-Designate Naftali Bennett addressed on Sunday the Knesset ahead of a confidence vote. Here is the full text of his speech, as released by his office:
H.E. President Reuven Rivlin; President-elect Isaac Herzog; Mr. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu; President of the Supreme Court, Justice Esther Hayat; Speaker of the Knesset Yariv Levin; my partner in forming the Unity Government, Member of Knesset Yair Lapid, and his wife Lihi; Ministers of the outgoing government; Ministers of the incoming government; Members of Knesset; honored guests.
I want to begin my words by saying, on my own behalf, and in the name of the members of the designated government, in the name of this House, and in the name of all the citizens of Israel thank you. Thank you to the outgoing Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, for your many years of service, replete with achievements, for the sake of the State of Israel. As Prime Minister you acted throughout many years to embolden Israel's political, security, and economic strength. I saw you from up-close, in extensive security deliberations, late into the night, investigating, making inquiries and considerations out of a sense of grave responsibility.
In what is set to become his final speech as prime minister on Sunday afternoon, Benjamin Netanyahu evoked the Holocaust to suggest that the incoming government headed by Naftali Bennett would be incapable of standing up to pressure by U.S. President Joe Biden.
Describing the incoming government as an existential threat to the state of Israel, Netanyahu claimed that Biden, his friend of 40 years, asked him to keep their disagreements about Washington's attempt to rejoin its nuclear agreement with Iran out of the public eye but that he had rejected his entreaties.
In 1944, at the height of the Holocaust, Roosevelt refused to bomb the trains and gas , which could have saved many of our people. Today we have a voice, we have a country and we have a defensive force, he said, in an implicit rebuke of Biden.
Naftali Bennett, who is on track to become Israel's 13th prime minister within days, is easily labeled religious hard-liner, ultranationalist and settler leader on the one hand, high-tech millionaire, special-forces operative and political wunderkind on the other. Most of these labels, on closer scrutiny, don't really apply. At least not fully.
Bennett at 49 is the man who has come closest to the holy grail of Israeli politics, replacing Benjamin Netanyahu, but he's not really a politician, certainly not a consistent one. In the last 14 years he has been in five different parties. He entered the Knesset for the first time just eight years ago, and just two years ago one of his parties even failed to cross the electoral threshold. Now he's about to become prime minister and his current party, Yamina, is falling apart with half its members having either defected or considering it.
In interviews he likes to present himself as not being like other politicians who never ran a business instead, he's a tech executive and a commando, an expert in hunting down rocket launchers behind enemy lines. But the sum of his years in the military and business is even shorter than his stint in politics. Those who know him well predict that in a few years he'll be doing something else.
In Benjamin Netanyahu's final hours as prime minister, some of his closest political allies in the ultra-Orthodox camp expressed their regret that he did not step aside, making room for another right-wing leader who could potentially have built a workable Likud party-led coalition.
Speaking on Sunday only hours before the new government headed by Yamina and Yesh Atid chairmen Naftali Bennett and Yair Lapid is expected to be sworn in, United Torah Judaism Knesset faction chair MK Yitzhak Pindrus told Kan public broadcaster that Netanyahu refused ultra-Orthodox requests to allow himself to be replaced because he knew we were no real threat to him because we could not go with the other side.
We're not Naftali Bennett, after all, he quipped, referring to incoming Prime Minister Bennett's promise to voters not to leave Netanyahu's right-wing bloc.
Supporters of outgoing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu repeatedly disrupted Yamina Chairman Naftali Bennett as the incoming prime minister attempted to deliver a speech from the Knesset plenum on Sunday afternoon prior to a vote of confidence in his new government.
Bennett, who thanked Netanyahu for his years of service to the state of Israel, endured extended heckling and screaming from Netanyahu loyalists, including Transportation Minister Miri Regev and Regional Cooperation Minister Ofir Akunis.
Despite Bennett's pleas for silence, the chamber was filled with loud recriminations from lawmakers who had spent years in power and appeared enraged at the prospect of entering the opposition.
Chickens are delicious: roasted, fried or barbecued. Pretty much the only way they're objectionable meal-wise is when they're undercooked. But we seem to have discovered the bird's culinary charms relatively belatedly.
New evidence shows that chickens living from the Iron Age to the Roman and Saxon periods in the UK apparently lived two to four years, compared with, all too often, mere months today. But that longevity in ancient Britain is still a far cry from how long a chicken can live, with a little care.
The report on the relative longevity of fowl was published in the International Journal of Osteoarchaeology.
After demonstrating for 51 Saturdays straight, there was a different atmosphere at the weekly protest outside the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem on Saturday. The anger and frustration had been replaced by smiles and hugs and a cautious, celebratory feeling. At the center of Paris Square, children turned the submarine-shaped balloons, a fixture of the demonstrations, into playthings. Jubilant songs played over the loudspeakers, including Israeli singer Yehuda Poliker's This is the time, this is the moment.
Almost everyone was warned not to cheer before the goal was achieved, but it was hard to contain the optimism before the anticipated change in government on Sunday, which will unseat Benjamin Netanyahu after 12 years in office. On the one hand, there's great joy, and on the other, a lot of anxiety, stress sitting in my chest that still won't go away, one of the founders of the so-called Balfour protests, Etti Yehieli Harari, said.
On June 11, 2020, almost a year ago to the day, Amir Haskel, a brigadier general in the IDF reserves and a regular at the anti-Netanyahu protests, arrived at the sidewalk next to the prime minister's residence and declared a sit-down strike until Netanyahu resigned.
The DVD, the one place we used to occasionally find English-subtitled Israeli shows, has largely gone the way of dodo-flavored cat food. But the rise and rise of streaming services means that, today, you are only one monthly subscription payment (in reality, two or three) away from accessing a whole har's worth of Israeli content.
There is one man who forged this unnaturally heterogeneic coalition and team of rivals government set to be sworn in on Sunday. Benjamin Netanyahu.
By virtue of his years-long demeanor, personality traits, resentment he generated across the board, the huge mass of lies he perpetuated, the critical mass of people he offended and deceived, and the war he waged on Israeli democracy, Netanyahu made an implausible and unfathomable coalition possible.
There is one man who masterfully and astutely built this governing coalition. Yair Lapid.
Hamas, the Islamist group that rules Gaza, excoriated on Friday U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar's remarks equating the militant organization's actions with those of Israel.
The remarks made by U.S. congresswoman Ilhan Omar are very peculiar; she equated the victim and the executioner when she treated the resistance of the Palestinian people, the Israeli crimes in Palestine, and the U.S. aggression in Afghanistan as on equal footing, Basem Naim, a Hamas spokesperson, wrote on the group's website.
Hamas highly appreciates Omar's stances in support of justice and the rights of the oppressed around the world, foremost among them is the just rights of the Palestinian people. However, it is unacceptable to make such an unfair comparison, which contradicts with basic norms of justice and international law.
Israel's new government, set to sworn in on Sunday with Yamina head Naftali Bennett at the helm, unseating Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's longest-serving prime minister.
According to the rotation agreement signed by Bennett and Yesh Atid head Yair, Bennett will serve as prime minister for two years with Lapid as foreign minister. Later, Lapid will assume the premiership for the following two years with Bennett as interior minister.
The new governing coalition will include 27 ministers, nine of them women. This is the full list.
As has been well-known for millennia, in either 587 or 586 B.C.E., the forces of Nebuchadnezzar II, king of Babylonia, served a deadly blow to the small and rebellious Kingdom of Judah. They wiped it off the map, deported large swathes of its population, and destroyed its holy temple, the Temple of Solomon.
Or not. This, says renowned biblical scholar Richard Elliott Friedman, a professor of Jewish Studies at the University of Georgia and author of the best-selling book Who Wrote the Bible? may have been a case of mistaken identity. The Babylonians may have destroyed Judah and kicked out its populace, but they did not destroy the temple. The culprits were the Edomites, a small kingdom in the southern Transjordan, he posits.
In a short article published in Academia, "The Destruction of the First Jerusalem Temple," Friedman suggests that the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple were two separate events, which a biblical scribe collapsed into one and thus led us all to misplace the blame.
For the past 13 years, the Min El Bahar From the Sea, in Arabic group has been bringing Palestinian families from the West Bank to the beach in Tel Aviv. Their first encounter with the sea and the sand is an exciting one, especially for the children among them. While it is accompanied by a fear of the people, of the water itself and of the whole experience within a short time the apprehension evaporates and is replaced by smiles and shouts of joy.
When they return home, to cities and villages located just a few dozen kilometers away from the coastline, these people wonder whether there will be another time, whether there will be another such experience. But they also feel a sense of fulfillment: Now they have gotten to know the sea. Photographer Orna Naor documented the encounter between the people, the water and the hot sand.
The Haaretz photography blog is curated by Daniel Tchetchik.
Much of the world's attention regarding Israel's new prime minister, Naftali Bennett, has focused on his right-wing ideology. However, fears that the leader of the ultra-nationalist Yamina party and former head of the Yesha Council of Settlements is about to pursue annexation of the West Bank are unwarranted. Bennett lacks the mandate to implement even a partial annexation ("Area C" of the West Bank) given his narrow, ideologically disparate coalition.
The more salient question is whether a Bennett premiership will be able to curb the Netanyahu era's right-wing populist rhetoric and stem Israel's illiberal slide, and lead a return to democratic norms. The record of several key actors in the new coalition, including Bennett's own history of populist politics, raises serious concerns about whether the self-described "government of change" will do so.
Israeli democracy took a hit in recent years not only because of Netanyahu's increasingly authoritarian leadership, but also due to the incessant attacks by the political right on democratic institutions, civil society actors, and minority groups; the profusion of nativist legislation with racial overtones like the Jewish Nation-State Law; and the divisive, inflammatory rhetoric against leftists as well as key state institutions including the army.
The British politician Enoch Powell wrote that all political lives, unless they are cut off in midstream at a happy juncture, end in failure. By this standard, it's hard to describe the way Benjamin Netanyahu's term in Israel's Prime Minister's Office is about to end as a defeat. He is incapable of leaving the stage voluntarily, and he is no different in this than the country's previous 11 premiers. None of them chose the circumstances in which they left office. That's the nature of the job. It doesn't end well.
Like his predecessors, Netanyahu is leaving against his will. But, assuming the new government is sworn in on Sunday afternoon, he's leaving as a winner.
The man who was written off so many times as a passing and inconsequential politician, even after his first term as prime minister in the 1990s, became Israel's longest-serving leader even longer than the founder, David Ben-Gurion. Someone who managed to hold onto power for 15 years didn't lose, even if he was forced out at the end.
Located in a place of immense honor the Central Pavilion of the Venice Architecture Biennale the work of an artist, not an architect, can be seen these days. She is Michal Rovner, arguably Israel's most successful contemporary artist, whose works have been displayed at leading museums around the world and sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars. The biennale opened on May 22 after a one-year delay, and Rovner's creation, which was chosen as a special participation and does not represent a specific country, blends in well with the atmosphere and with the events of the last year.
Entitled "Culture-C1, 2021," Rovner's work, an extension of her artistic approach, features dozens of red and white figures projected on a black background, moving in a sort of coordinated chaos; sometimes they overlap, sometimes they move together as in a military parade, while at other times they look like falling leaves or viruses under a microscope.
Rovner, 63, splits her life between New York and Kfar Shmuel in central Israel, where she spent the year of the coronavirus. She lives alone in a tiny 48-square-meter house, at the edge of a large yard, surrounded by trees, as well as a few structures that featured in her 2011 exhibition at the Louvre. Her untamed dogs and donkeys roam about in the field.
A few days after the May 17, 1999 election won by Ehud Barak, the outgoing cabinet secretary, Gideon Sa'ar, went to the prime minister's residence. He found the soon-to-be-former occupant in the basement, pedaling furiously on an exercise bike. Have to start working on my comeback, Benjamin Netanyahu said between breaths.
A decade later, he returned. A dozen years have passed since then, and on Sunday he will say goodbye (insert standard warning here: unless Š) to the position and perhaps also to the dream. By the way, Sa'ar had a significant hand in Netanyahu's return to power in 2009, and an even greater one in ousting him from power in the last election.
Today Netanyahu is 72 years old, after four successive electoral and/or political defeats and in the thick of a criminal trial. The government that will be sworn in Sunday is entirely a product of his actions and failures, his haughtiness and his scamming. In no other situation could the head of a party with just six Knesset seats become prime minister, just as there could not be a coalition including the United Arab List and Meretz, Yamina and New Hope. Only Netanyahu, to paraphrase the old Likud slogan, could bring together such opposites for a goal that is much greater than his replacement: to return us to normalcy, restore our political stability and rescue us from the vicious cycle Israel has been trapped in for the past 30 months.
The Education Ministry deleted a number of questions on an international test to check students' global competence, including attitudes toward migrants, respect for other cultures and commitment to international action.
However, the official report published by the ministry last year barely addressed the decision to censor so many questions.
It has now emerged that the questions were deleted because they dealt with political views, as ministry representatives informed Heela Goren, a Ph.D. candidate in education who is researching the subject. The only other country to censor questions like Israel did was the United Arab Emirates.
An unusual conjuncture will bring Naftali Bennett to be sworn in as prime minister Sunday, with few people in his orbit believing him to be the right person in the right place. He became anathema overnight to the right wing, who see him as a swindler who joined up with the right to topple their adored leader.
His own tiny party includes a few grumpy lawmakers who look like they are caught in a situation that is well beyond their pay grade. His new coalition partners, too, are convinced that he doesn't deserve the position; they see him chiefly as a contractor for the project to replace Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
It's hard to succeed under such conditions, which means Bennett has no choice but to succeed: He must not constantly look to some imagined base, he must resist the temptation to put spin on his actions and be always thinking about exit points and the next election. If he fails, the left and the right will tear him to pieces with equal pleasure. If the government makes it to the two-year mark and the handoff with Yair Lapid, it will be considered a great success, but it must also have something to show for it: in transportation, infrastructure, education, the labor market and a reduction of crime in Arab communities. There are enough issues to work on besides the eclectic and contradictory composition of the new government.
Nobody is taking their eyes off the monitor during this risky birth. Until the new government is sworn in, nothing is final. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's opponents fear an unexpected obstacle on the way to the historic moment for which they've hungered so many years, Netanyahu's departure from government. Among Likudniks there are still pockets of denial a desperate expectation that their magician will still manage to pull some Elkin out of a hat or perform some other trick to change reality.
But even there, the realization that it's over is beginning to dawn. After all the disinformation, protests, shouts, curses and threats, some Likud Central Committee members said Saturday that they were truly heartbroken. They explained that they felt their home had been stolen from them. That is, that their own flesh and blood had played a trick on them and stolen the government (that's quite a surprising notion, and particularly unfair, given that Bennett's voters few though they were compared to those of Likud chose of their own free will to vote for Yamina and not for Netanyahu).
Likud is looking at a few strategies to bring down this government in a year to a year and a half. In the coming weeks they will put forward bills of a clear right-wing nature, which Yamina lawmakers and their partners on the right had proposed in the past to embarrass the government. The purpose of these bills will be to show the public that this is truly a left-wing government held captive by Labor's Merav Michaeli and Ibtisam Mara'ana, United Arab List's Mansour Abbas and others. We got a taste of this in a bill put forward by Likud lawmaker Miki Zohar to restrict the right to petition the High Court of Justice an idea supported enthusiastically by most of the change bloc, who still voted against it.
Yoav Gallant's final chord as education minister is very symbolic of the rot and degeneration that spread during the years of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's rule. On Friday, Gallant informed Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit that he had made his final decision not to grant the Israel Prize in computer science to Prof. Oded Goldreich of the Weizmann Institute.
Prof. Goldreich does not at this time meet the condition of a contribution to Israel, because his contribution through his research is offset by his energetic action to boycott Israeli research institutions actions carried out consistently and intentionally and that have caused real damage and continue to damage Israeli academia, Gallant wrote to Mendelblit, in the authoritative tone of someone on his first day in office, not his last, on his way to the opposition.
The words Gallant uses to describe Goldreich depict him as an enemy of the state. They withhold from him the prize for his contribution to mathematics and computer sciences, and the honor and the recognition that go with it. But more than the words that describe Goldreich, they fit the McCarthyist atmosphere of political persecution of opponents of the occupation that has prevailed in Israel in recent years under Netanyahu's reckless leadership.
The Haaretz archive doesn't lie, even if it occasionally surprises: I discovered that I am in favor of Naftali Bennett.
November 2014: ith Israel will no longer wear its lying, false, pretty face, which has allowed it to continue its policies. That's why I'm for him. August 2020: "We need to start thinking about it Naftali Bennett, the next prime minister of Israel. Š That's bad news, but there's worse a chain of events that's not imaginary: Netanyahu's Likud party slumps, Bennett's Yamina rises, the center-left lacks proper leadership and Bennett attracts the longed-for 'Anyone But Bibi' coalition. Š Far right would replace moderate right, religious would replace secular, Š the end of deception. With Bennett at the helm, Israel would be officially declared a capitalist, colonialist apartheid state. Even a broken clock is right twice a day.
It starts Sunday. The former director general of the Yesha Council of settlements from Ra'anana will be sworn in as prime minister. Half the nation feels it is going from darkness to light, the other half feels it's doing the opposite, and in both cases it's not because of Bennett. He is still bad news, yet not the worst. But the truth is that, save for an extreme, imaginary, inconceivable scenario, Bennett as prime minister is not news. Deducting for all the reforms to public health and to transportation that will or will not be implemented, in the end the Pretoria of the Middle East chose a prime minister, and he will continue to do as the Pretorians do.
Four Afghan asylum-seekers were sentenced to 10 years in prison in Greece on Saturday for their part in a fire that destroyed the Moria migrant camp last year, in a case that highlighted the chronic refugee problem on Europe's borders.
The men, charged with arson with risk to human life over the fire on the island of Lesbos last September, were found guilty after a court rejected a request by lawyers for three of them to be tried by a juvenile court because they were under 18 at the time.
Before the blaze, Moria was considered Europe's biggest migrant camp, a sprawling and overcrowded town of tents and improvised shelters notorious for its poor and often dangerous living conditions.
Prime Minister-designate Naftali Bennett on Saturday urged anti-Netanyahu protesters to avoid "provocations," as some 1,500 of them took to the streets in Jerusalem and across the country for the 51st consecutive week.
"This is not the time for demonstrations and provocations," Bennett said in a statement, pleading activists to "treat Netanyahu and his family with respect."
With protesters' main goal unseating Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu closer than ever as the Bennett-Lapid government faces a Sunday confidence vote, which it is likely to pass, this should be the last major anti-Netanyahu demonstration.
Our hearts are filled with excitement as 4 P.M. on Sunday approaches, when the Knesset is set to vote to end Benjamin Netanyahu's prolonged rule, but our brains insist on spoiling the party.
We still remember those TV images from 1990 of Sonia Peres in a rare public appearance in the Knesset visitors' gallery, waiting in vain for the swearing-in of her husband, Shimon, and his government at the height of the so-called stinking maneuver to unseat the national unity government. We all remember that embarrassing episode, I said a few days ago at a meeting of the news editors, who gazed at me with surprise mixed with a look that said: You're showing your age.
Algerians vote Saturday for a new parliament in an election with a majority of novice independent candidates running under new rules meant to satisfy demands of pro-democracy protesters and open the way to a new Algeria.
Tension surrounded the voting in the gas-rich North African nation. Activists and opposition parties boycotted the election, and voter turnout was low midway through the day.
Authorities have tightened the screws on the Hirak protest movement in recent weeks, with police stopping weekly marches and arresting dozens, the latest a Hirak figure and two journalists. The three prominent opposition figures, including journalist Khaled Drareni, a press freedom advocate, were freed early Saturday, three days after their arrests, the National Committee for the Liberation of the Detained said.
Iran held a final presidential debate Saturday that showed the fissures within the Islamic Republic's politics, as hard-liners referred to those seeking ties to the West as infiltrators and the race's two other candidates brought up the unrest that surrounded Tehran's disputed 2009 election.
Analysts and state-linked polling put hard-line judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi as the clear front-runner in Friday's upcoming vote, with the public now largely hostile to the relative moderate President Hassan Rohani after the collapse of Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers.
But that didn't stop Rohani's former Central Bank chief Abdolnasser Hemmati from harshly criticizing Raisi, at one point getting up from his chair to hand him a list he described as naming individuals who haven't paid back huge loans from state banks. He again tried to link Raisi to former U.S. President Donald Trump, whose decision to unilaterally withdraw America from Iran's nuclear deal has seen the country crushed by sanctions.
Despite concerns some expressed in jest, some very serious that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will try to cling to authority after his ouster, the fact remains that an outgoing prime minister cannot remain in power after a new government has been sworn in.
Israel, unlike many countries, lacks a detailed protocol for the transfer of power, but the Basic Law on the Government explicitly states that the government shall be established once the Knesset has expressed confidence in it, and the ministers shall thereupon assume office.
In other words, as soon as a vote of confidence in the new government is passed in the legislature, the authority automatically passes to the new prime minister and cabinet members, without the need for any transition or for the ratification of the decision by any individual or authority.
A social campaign in support of Arab-owned businessed in Israel and the West Bank drew large crowds to a series of events of the past week, meant to offset calls to boycott them following a spike in Jewish-Arab violence across the country last month.
The National Palestinian Economy Week campaign, which is set to end on Sunday, was conceived over social media mainly by young social activists from the Arab community.
The campaign aims to strengthen the Palestinian economy, much of which was exposed to calls for boycott due to the recent , Rabia Eid, project head for the Haifa-based NGO Arab Culture, said.
Indirect talks between Tehran and Washington on reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal resumed in Vienna on Saturday as the European Union said negotiations were "intense" and Germany called for rapid progress.
The sixth round of talks began as usual with a meeting of remaining parties to the deal Iran, Russia, China, France, Britain, Germany and the European Union in the basement of a luxury hotel.
The U.S. delegation to the talks, known as the Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), is based in a hotel across the street as Iran refuses face-to-face meetings.
Large number of US citizens demonstrated against the war in Iraq (and the possible war in Iran) during this October weekend. Massive turnout in Boston and San Fransisco, and also in Chicago, LA and DC people took to the streets. The message was: NO more war in Iraq! NO to a war with Iran!