Originally published 02/14/2013
Yesh Atid party leader Yair Lapid. Credit: Flickr.Originally posted on Al Jazeera English.Former anchorman and middle-class darling Yair Lapid stunned the Israeli political scene in the recent elections. His party, Yesh Atid (There is a Future) won nineteen seats, second in size only to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s Likud-Beiteinu alliance, thus ensuring that Lapid will play a pivotal role in the next government.But who is Lapid and what exactly does he stand for?
Originally published 01/25/2013
Jim Sleeper lectures in political science at Yale and posts frequently at TPM. He has been a New York newspaper columnist and is the author of The Closest of Strangers and Liberal Racism. His website is www.jimsleeper.com."In the space of a few hours, Netanyahu watched as the American people formally gave their president four more years, and the people of Israel gave their prime minister six more weeks. That is the prime minister's deadline for forming a new coalition based on a Knesset majority, and it is going to be one long row," writes Bradley Burston of the liberal Haaretz, Israel's equivalent of Britain's The Guardian.In Burston's judgment, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu won a mostly Pyrrhic victory in the recent elections not only because he'd tried to offset religious rightists' defections from his coalition by moving farther right himself; his big mistake was to assume "that the center was as dead as the left. [But] the center, unimaginably, woke from years of suspended animation."
Originally published 01/16/2013
Martin Kramer is Schusterman senior visiting professor at the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University, and president of Shalem College in Jerusalem.Former Nebraska senator Chuck Hagel is President Obama’s nominee for secretary of defense. Much has already been said about the pros and cons of the nomination, and much more will be said during confirmation hearings in the Senate. Here is one possible line of questioning: given the centrality of the Middle East in U.S. military planning, how does Hagel think the region works? If the United States has limited resources, and must apportion them judiciously, where is it best advised to invest them?Hagel has a view of this, expressed on numerous occasions. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is the core problem of the Middle East. Until it is resolved, it will be impossible to make progress in treating any of the region’s other pathologies. Hagel claims to have reached this conclusion by talking with leaders of the Middle East. He’s just repeating what they tell him, he has said. So it’s interesting to go back and see just what they did tell him—an exercise made feasible via WikiLeaks. (If you belong to that class of persons who have to avert their eyes from WikiLeaks, don’t follow the links and take my word.)...
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