David Isaac

Israel Heads Again to Elections as One Politician Gambles It All

Avigdor LibermanFive weeks after being sworn in, the 21st Knesset voted to dissolve itself. It's a first for Israeli politics; the country has never held back-to-back elections. Two freshman legislators even burst into tears. One man, Avigdor Liberman, is responsible for both the most recent April 9 elections and the new elections to be held Sept. 17. The question is why? Consensus is building that Liberman brought down the previous government (when he resigned as defense minister) and refused to join a new one in a bid to put himself back on the political map as his influence fades.

How to Reform Israel’s Runaway Supreme Court

On March 17, Israel’s Supreme Court banned Michael Ben-Ari, a member of the Otzma Yehudit or “Jewish Power” Party, from being a candidate in the Israeli elections. The court made its decision even after Israel’s Central Elections Committee said he could run. What especially provoked indignation was that at the same time the Supreme Court rejected Ben-Ari, it also overturned the Central Election Committee’s decision to ban the Arab party, Balad, which rejects the very idea of a Jewish State, and a radical-left Jewish candidate, Ofer Cassif, who is running on a joint list of two other Arab parties, Hadash and Ta’al, and who has compared Israel to Nazi Germany and referred to Israel’s War of Independence as the “Naqba” or catastrophe.

High Stakes for Likud as Netanyahu Indictment Looms

Benjamin NetanyahuThe “Bezeq-Walla! Affair” is one of three corruption cases facing Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It’s also the most serious in that everyone, including the prime minister, believes that it will lead to an indictment in the coming weeks—an X factor that could prove fatal to Likud Party hopes in the April 9 elections.

The Gamble of Israel’s ‘New Right’

Israeli flag"Boom!" read the headline of a supplement in Israeli weekly Makor Rishon, after two leading politicians, Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, announced on December 29 that they were jumping ship from the Jewish Home Party to create the New Right Party. The question Israeli pundits are trying to answer now is whether that boom—or "blast" as most of the press characterizes it—is an explosion or an implosion. Will it strengthen the national camp or will it bring it to its knees?

Operation Northern Shield: A Notch in Israel’s Belt

Israeli soldiers gathering by an army vehicle across the concrete Lebanon-Israel border wall near the site of an Israeli excavation siteOperation Northern Shield is a victory for Israel. In the early morning hours of Tuesday, Dec. 4, Israel's military thwarted a Hezbollah plan to attack the country through tunnels. Israel revealed the first tunnel that day. It has since found two others. The Israel Defense Forces estimate there are 10 such tunnels.

Bibi’s Rallying Cry

Benjamin Netanyahu"Anyone but King Bibi," is the sort of derisive comment you'll hear from a Tel Aviv resident in a bar after a couple of Goldstar lagers. But Israel's prime minister earned the nickname as praise after his U.N. appearance last week. Like him or not, Benjamin Netanyahu has proven effective at moving the ball down the court on the Iran issue. Even the extreme leftwing Haaretz complimented him for "one of his most convincing and effective performances."

Avenue to Oblivion

Review: 'To Heal the World? How the Jewish Left Corrupts Judaism and Endangers Israel' by Jonathan Neumann

Jonathan Neumann has written a splendid book. The first-time author has produced a devastating broadside against Jewish radicals who have co-opted tikkun olam—a Hebrew phrase meaning "to heal (or repair) the world"—to claim a special Jewish religious obligation to engage in left-wing politics. "This theology is a contrived religious system," he writes, "a sort of New Age mysticism that distorts the biblical Creation story and Kabbalistic (Jewish mystical) motifs in order to portray the politics of social justice as an organic Jewish teaching."