A Guide to the Israeli Election

Thanks to Israel’s system of proportional representation, there are eleven parties that have a good chance of winning seats in the Knesset in today’s election. Their opaque and sometimes untranslatable names don’t help outsiders make sense of what they represent. Carrie Keller-Lynn, Haviv Rettig Gur, Tal Schneider, and Jacob Magid provide a useful guide to each of them. Of particular note is Yesh Atid (“There Is a Future”)—founded less that ten years ago—whose leader, Yair Lapid, has been prime minister since July:

Yesh Atid, which describes itself as a “centrist” party, has published and updated one of the most comprehensive platforms of any party running in recent years, offering proposals on issues including corruption, religion and state, violence against women, and Israel’s dwindling population of Holocaust survivors.

Among the platform’s many, many proposals: legislating a ban against politicians convicted of moral turpitude from holding the post of lawmaker, minister, mayor, president, or state comptroller; promoting humanitarian initiatives in the Gaza Strip in exchange for reduced Hamas influence; reducing the gender wage gap; incentivizing large workplaces to create childcare options and increasing work-from-home hours; adopting the Istanbul Convention against violence against women; and integrating more of the population into the workforce, with an emphasis on ḥaredi men and Arab women.

There are also a host of minor parties, some of which focus on such single issues as housing prices and marijuana legalization, which always have a slight chance of winning a seat—potentially obtaining the ability to make or break a coalition. Among the best known is the Pirate party:

Leaders of the Israeli branch of the Pirate party define their goals as promoting freedom of expression, science, the individual, and the right to take copyrighted material, as well as “development and promotion of the pirate sector” and a direct democracy. The party is known for silly pranks, like dressing up to file its registration, but has also championed the use of the Internet in democratizing society. The party has run in every Israeli election for the last sixteen years, but has yet to come close to raising the Jolly Roger in the Knesset plenum.

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Israeli Election 2022, Israeli politics, Yair Lapid

The Right and Wrong Ways for the U.S. to Support the Palestinians

Sept. 29 2023

On Wednesday, Elliott Abrams testified before Congress about the Taylor Force Act, passed in 2018 to withhold U.S. funds from the Palestinian Authority (PA) so long as it continues to reward terrorists and their families with cash. Abrams cites several factors explaining the sharp increase in Palestinian terrorism this year, among them Iran’s attempt to wage proxy war on Israel; another is the “Palestinian Authority’s continuing refusal to fight terrorism.” (Video is available at the link below.)

As long as the “pay for slay” system continues, the message to Palestinians is that terrorists should be honored and rewarded. And indeed year after year, the PA honors individuals who have committed acts of terror by naming plazas or schools after them or announcing what heroes they are or were.

There are clear alternatives to “pay to slay.” It would be reasonable for the PA to say that, whatever the crime committed, the criminal’s family and children should not suffer for it. The PA could have implemented a welfare-based system, a system of family allowances based on the number of children—as one example. It has steadfastly refused to do so, precisely because such a system would no longer honor and reward terrorists based on the seriousness of their crimes.

These efforts, like the act itself, are not at all meant to diminish assistance to the Palestinian people. Rather, they are efforts to direct aid to the Palestinian people rather than to convicted terrorists. . . . [T]he Taylor Force Act does not stop U.S. assistance to Palestinians, but keeps it out of hands in the PA that are channels for paying rewards for terror.

[S]hould the United States continue to aid the Palestinian security forces? My answer is yes, and I note that it is also the answer of Israel and Jordan. As I’ve noted, PA efforts against Hamas or other groups may be self-interested—fights among rivals, not principled fights against terrorism. Yet they can have the same effect of lessening the Iranian-backed terrorism committed by Palestinian groups that Iran supports.

Read more at Council on Foreign Relations

More about: Palestinian Authority, Palestinian terror, U.S. Foreign policy