Tag Archives: benjamin netanyahu

Observations of an expat: Israel’s political demographics

Supreme Court changes. West Bank settlers. Fighting on Temple Mount and renewed missile exchanges between Israel, Lebanon and Gaza.

They are the result of growing divisions within Israeli society and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is as much a reflection of these realities as he is a driver and exploiter of the splits.

Roughly a quarter of Israel’s 9.2 million Jews are Orthodox. Another quarter regard themselves as Secular. The 50 percent balance are a variety of in-between shades which means a more or less even split between the two sides of the debate.

And it is a debate. A vicious and increasingly divisive one. Virtually everyone is agreed on Israel’s role as the Jewish homeland. A big majority support the 2018 law which defines Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people and were pleased that the Israeli Supreme Court upheld that law with a 10-1 vote.

But there are heated arguments about what should be the values of the state of Israel and how to achieve them.

One big difference is the special treatment handed out to religious Jews. Until 2014 they were exempt from military service– a big deal in a country which prides itself on a semi-professional citizen’s army. In that year the Supreme Court ruled the exemption unconstitutional. They have, however, allowed postponements for the purposes of religious studies. They have also allowed the exemption for Orthodox Jewish women to continue.

Unsurprisingly, secular Jews are angry that they bear the brunt of physically protecting their homeland.

The situation is exacerbated by generous welfare subsidies paid to Orthodox men to allow them full-time study of the Torah. Sixty percent of Orthodox Jewish men live on welfare compared to 10 percent in the population as a whole.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged | 5 Comments

David Steel writes… Time to talk to Hamas

Gaza Burns - photo by Al Jazeera EnglishI suspect that there is growing dismay, not to say anger, among our population as they watch on television the daily slaughter and destruction in Gaza, at the mealy-mouthed statements from both our Government and the American’s in response.

Spokesmen for the Israelis regularly recount the huge number of rockets fired from Gaza into Israeli territory, but fail to tell us that the vast majority of these have been successfully intercepted without casualties. In fact, over the entire last decade they have killed …

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 44 Comments

Will Israel attack Iran, and will this break the Coalition?

Although not widely reported in the British media, there is a build up of expectation that Israel will attack Iran. It amazes me that this was barely discussed at our recent Brighton conference. There were two motions on this submitted for conference but both with rejected by Federal Conference Committee and, perhaps as a consequence, there were no foreign policy motions debated at conference.

To raise the question I had to wait until Tuesday when there were two Centre Forum fringe meetings on foreign policy. Neither of the fringe meetings was specifically on Iran, but the question was asked about what …

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged , , and | 29 Comments

Daily View 2×2: Jenga special

It’s Sunday. It’s 9am. It’s time for jenga, but first the news.

2 Must-Read Blog Posts

What are other Liberal Democrat bloggers saying? Here are two posts that have caught the eye from the Liberal Democrat Blogs aggregator:

  • A failure of scrutiny on digital bill: Peter Black blogs about the letter signed by, amongst others, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidates Bridget Fox and Julian Huppert. Danger of Parliament rushing through legislation without proper debate? Who would have thought it.
  • Elementary errors: Giles Wilkes on the important difference between a stock and a flow. More interesting and useful than I’ve made it sound.

Spotted any other great posts in the last day from blogs that aren’t on the aggregator? Do post up a comment sharing them with us all.

2 Big Stories

BA fights to limit the impact of cabin crew strike

Posted in Daily View | Also tagged , , , , , , and | 1 Comment

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