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Those interested in the Israeli election are no doubt following the news carefully in Haaretz, The Jerusalem Post, The Times of Israel , the LA Jewish Journal, The Jewish Daily Forward, and other news sources. The following three items encapsulate the dynamism of this election in Israel among Jews, Israeli Arabs and the American Jewish community.

Though anything can happen, as past Israeli elections have shown, I believe that this election may truly represent a sea-change. Polls indicate that in the closing week, Israeli opinion is solidifying. Here are two edited articles and a link to a third that reflects that dynamism and what this election means to Israelis, Arabs and American Jews.

[1] From a Letter of Rabbi Dow Marmur from Jerusalem. March 15, 2015. (edited)
Ari Shavit, whom the world reads nowadays more than ever thanks to the deserved success of his book, “My Promised Land,” suggested in his Ha’aretz column earlier in the week that the very possibility of a Herzog government has restored hope to many Israelis. They’re hoping, it seems, that:

*he’ll restore normal relations with the United States instead of siding with Republican extremists in Congress;

*he’ll see Israel’s security problems in the larger context than just Iran, something many experts in the field believe to be necessary;

*he’ll tackle the economic issues of the day, particularly the cost of housing which has soared because, according to one report, a third of all new homes have been bought by investors, not owner-tenants;

*he’ll stem the massive flow of funds and subsidies to the settlements;

*he’ll restart negotiations with the Palestinians and release the tax revenues which rightfully belong to the Palestinian Authority but that Israel is currently holding as retaliations for the Authority turning to the International Criminal Court.

[2] “Why I’m voting Meretz and not for the Arab ticket.” Salman Masalha. Haaretz. March 12, 2015. (edited)

The actions of the Joint List of Arab parties for the Knesset over the question of a surplus votes agreement with Meretz was the straw that broke the camel’s back for me. Meretz was willing to cancel its surplus votes agreement with the Zionist Union to sign such an agreement with the Joint List, just to prevent tens of thousands of votes from going to waste – but the Joint List refused….

I admit that I boycotted recent elections, and that I recently used this platform to call for boycotting the present election too. I had many reasons in favor of a boycott. The reasons have not changed. The circumstances have.

When Islamist imams declare in the Arab media that a vote for the Joint List will bring down the rule of the right, yet the Joint List includes an Islamic Movement whose candidates live a polygamous life, I wonder which right they are talking about. Do they themselves not represent the very same thing just in a different costume, the sheitel or the hijab?

We must say clearly that the Joint List includes not only the equivalent of Yisrael Beiteinu of the Arab street, in the form of the Arab nationalism of Balad; but also the racist parallel of Habayit Hayehudi in the shape of the Islamic Movement.

…Here it turns out that the nationalists of Balad, who are fighting with all they have to enter the Knesset and swear loyalty to the “Jewish and democratic” State of Israel, are not willing to sign an agreement with Meretz based on the claim that it is a Zionist party, but when the time comes they embrace the racists from the “Habayit Haislami” (“Islamic Home”) of the Arab street.

Therefore, this is the time to disperse the fog and put everything on the table. I confess that I have never voted for Meretz. I always gave my vote to Hadash. But the time has come to voice a clear and pronounced civil Arab call: If the choice is between a vote that will give Meretz a Knesset seat or a vote that will give another seat to the Arabs from the Joint List who are the counterparts of Habayit Hayehudi or Yisrael Beiteinu, then the proper choice of every responsible citizen is clearly Meretz.

Every vote for Meretz is a sure vote for separating religion and state, for civil equality and equality between the sexes. Every vote for Meretz is a sure vote for social justice, cultural and national justice, freedom of expression and freedom of thought. And above all, every vote for Meretz is a certain vote for the peace we all aspire to. It is impossible to say all these things with certainty about any other party.

That is why, for a sane country and equal citizenship for everyone, I have decided to vote for Meretz.

[3] “Israel’s Debates Creep (Back) Into Our Bloodstream – American Jews Realize They Are Part of Election Drama.” JJ Goldberg. Jewish Daily Forward. March 13, 2015.

http://forward.com/articles/216514/israels-debates-creep-back-into-our-bloodstream/#ixzz3UHJ19DA4

Shabbat shalom!

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