Israel

Existen cuatro crímenes execrables, repugnantes, que conmocionan las conciencias de la mayoría de los seres que habitan el planeta: el genocidio, los crímenes de guerra, la depuración étnica y los crímenes de lesa humanidad. Con esa u otras denominaciones se han cometido desde el inicio de los tiempos. Tras la Primera Guerra Mundial hubo reacciones ante los horrores vividos. Vividos nuevamente y aumentados tras la Segunda, la Carta de las Naciones Unidas incorporó en 1945 estas preocupaciones.

En 1998, impulsado por la ONU, nace el Tribunal Penal Internacional (TPI), hoy integrado por 124 Estados. Si bien algunos de los más poderosos (EE UU, Rusia, China) no forman parte de él (tampoco Israel) por temor a que algunos de sus nacionales puedan ser incriminados, es destacable que tantos Estados de culturas y acervos jurídicos dispares hayan concordado en un objetivo común.…  Seguir leyendo »

Dos sentimientos sobrevolaron este año la conmemoración de la liberación de Auschwitz en Yad Vashem (el centro en memoria del Holocausto en Jerusalén); dos impulsos contradictorios que subyacen a la creación del Estado judío: el cosmopolitismo y el nacionalismo. Este aniversario estuvo marcado por un contrapunto entre ambas perspectivas, reflejado en las declaraciones de los funcionarios que asistieron y en las objeciones de los que no estuvieron.

En la apertura de la ceremonia, el primer ministro israelí Binyamin Netanyahu dio la pauta de lo que vendría a continuación. Describió a Auschwitz como “un abismo” y a Jerusalén como “una cima”, representante el primero de “esclavitud” y “muerte”, encarnación la segunda de “libertad” y “vida”.…  Seguir leyendo »

While denounced by many as a dangerous escalation of tensions that could lead to war, the killing of Iran’s Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani was welcomed in Israel and throughout the Middle East. Justice was done for the thousands of people killed under Soleimani’s command, and he helped prop up Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria, which was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians. Following a period of non-response to Iranian attacks and provocations, American deterrence was restored. Israelis say this knowing full well that the Iranian regime is almost certain to seek revenge and that its first target could be Israel.…  Seguir leyendo »

Netanyahu socava la democracia en Israel

Los electores israelíes volverán a las urnas en marzo de 2020 por tercera vez en menos de un año. Los comicios de abril y septiembre de 2019 no consiguieron producir en la Knesset la mayoría indispensable para formar Gobierno. La razón fundamental de este bloqueo sin precedentes es el empeño del primer ministro Netanyahu en aferrarse al poder. Después de haber presidido el Gobierno de 1996 a 1999, regresó al cargo en marzo de 2009 y desde entonces no ha vuelto a dejarlo, además de hacerse cargo también durante varios años de carteras como Asuntos Exteriores, Sanidad, Economía y Comunicaciones. Esta longevidad en la cima del poder y este acaparamiento de ministerios no tienen tampoco precedente en la historia de Israel, ni siquiera en las circunstancias excepcionales que caracterizaron la fundación del Estado en 1948 por David Ben Gurion.…  Seguir leyendo »

‘He had a greatness about him, a nobility. Even towards those who attacked him.’ Amos Oz in 2014. Photograph: Uzi Varon

Amos Oz was a teacher to me, a friend. About once a month I would travel early in the morning from my house just outside of Jerusalem to his house in Ramat Aviv. He would make me “the best coffee in town” according to him, and we would sit and chat.

I’m not sure if it was the best coffee in town, but it definitely was the best company. We spoke about the state of the country, which seemed like it had no solution. We spoke about the dream and how that dream was shattering. About the books we had read.…  Seguir leyendo »

Si hay un país occidental que está sufriendo disfunción democrática, es Israel. Tras un nuevo fracaso de la dirigencia política del país para formar gobierno después de la última elección parlamentaria en septiembre, los votantes volverán a las urnas en marzo de 2020 por tercera vez en menos de un año. Pero con la intensidad y polarización de la política de Israel y la gran proporcionalidad de su sistema electoral, ¿qué puede esperarse de la próxima elección nacional excepto más parálisis?

El primer ministro de Israel, Binyamin Netanyahu, siempre se vio a sí mismo como un Winston Churchill israelí: el salvador supremo de un pueblo confrontado a la presunta amenaza de un nuevo Holocausto por parte de un Irán nuclearizado.…  Seguir leyendo »

Israeli lawmakers voted on Wednesday to call a third election after negotiations to form a unity government stalled.Credit...Gali Tibbon/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

It’s official. Israel will hold another election in March, our third national vote in less than 12 months. With trust in Israeli political parties already at a historic low, this election will only reinforce how broken Israeli politics have become.

Israel faces a twin crisis: structural deadlock in our political system and a rapid descent into divisiveness within our social fabric. This is by no means a fatal course, and with the removal of a number of political obstacles, it could be reversed.

To understand the origins of these crises, we must go back to Israel’s origins. Ours is a young state comprising an ancient people.…  Seguir leyendo »

Mahmoud Illean/AP Photo

Moad Rayan, a twenty-five-year-old Arab citizen of Israel, had planned to study engineering in England—but it was not to be. On February 1, 2009, he drove with a friend to his local supermarket in Kafr Bara, a town about fifteen miles east of Tel Aviv, and as he waited in the car outside, another car pulled up and two masked men got out, drawing their guns. They sprayed him with bullets and drove off. “Until today, no one knows why,” his father, Kamel, told me recently. Since Moad’s murder, the police have not found any suspects. “It’s not just my son,” said Kamel.…  Seguir leyendo »

In Israeli politics, the old saw goes you can be dead—or dead and buried. Thursday’s statement by the Israeli attorney general that Prime Minister Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu will be indicted on charges of bribery, fraud and breach of trust is likely going to put Netanyahu’s political career in the latter box. It’s almost certainly the beginning of the end of his political career.

However Bibi’s story plays out — and it will take time — you can take this to the bank: Netanyahu will make this fight (and likely) exit as painful, prolonged and destructive as possible.

Here are some key takeaways:

Netanyahu will go down fighting

If anyone thought that Netanyahu would use his speech to the nation following news of the indictments to put country over party and go quietly into the night, they don’t know Netanyahu.…  Seguir leyendo »

Members of the Joint List Osama Saadi, Ayman Odeh, Ahmad Tibi and Mansour Abbas arrive for a consulting meeting with the Israeli President, to decide who to task with trying to form a new government, in Jerusalem on September 22, 2019. AFP/Menahem Kahana

As Israel’s politicians negotiate what government can take power after the 17 September elections, it is worth noting a historic step taken by ten out of thirteen members of the country’s Joint List of small Arab-Palestinian majority parties. Their recommendation of Blue and White’s chairperson Benny Gantz for prime minister is the first by an Arab-majority party or list for a Zionist party since 1992. That Blue and White is headed by three former Israel Defense Forces (IDF) generals, one of whom campaigned on his heavy-handed treatment of Gaza, makes this doubly ground-breaking.

What explains this reversal? For one, the Joint List’s recent decision to move by majority rather than consensus vote allows it to better reflect the views of Israel’s Palestinian citizens.…  Seguir leyendo »

Por fin, Israel dio un paso para alejarse del abismo nacionalista‑religioso al que lo estuvo conduciendo el primer ministro Binyamin Netanyahu. En la elección parlamentaria del 17 de septiembre (segunda que se celebra en el país en cinco meses), la “coalición natural” entre el partido Likud de Netanyahu, grupos judíos ortodoxos y facciones protofascistas no consiguió alcanzar el umbral de 61 escaños que hubiera permitido a Netanyahu formar otro gobierno.

Para Netanyahu, que pasó 13 años en el poder, esta elección sólo tuvo que ver en parte con su proyecto político nacionalista. Su principal objetivo era reproducir la única coalición que podría otorgarle inmunidad parlamentaria contra el juicio político que se cierne sobre él por acusaciones de fraude, soborno e incumplimiento de los deberes de funcionario público.…  Seguir leyendo »

Hussein and Suha Abu Khdeir, whose son’s murder is the subject of the HBO series “Our Boys.”CreditCreditAmmar Awad/Reuters

The HBO mini-series “Our Boys” dramatizes the investigation into the killing of a Palestinian teenager following the kidnapping and killing of three Jewish teenagers by Hamas militants in 2014. In the first episode, Simon, the investigator with Israel’s security agency, the Shin Bet, questions his commander’s decision to give the Israeli public false hope about the fate of the three Jewish boys. Thousands of Israelis had joined the parents of the abducted boys to publicly pray for their safe return. To allow the hopefuls to believe such an unlikely outcome, Simon feels, is to prime them for heartbreak and anger if the boys do, as he suspects, turn up dead.…  Seguir leyendo »

Olvidémonos de Palestina

Israel se está acercando a otra elección parlamentaria y los palestinos apenas han sido mencionados. La votación se produce en un momento en que Estados Unidos está impulsando su plan Paz para la Prosperidad, mal concebido y centrado exclusivamente en la economía. Considerando que el conflicto palestino-israelí ya no mina la prosperidad económica o la postura global de Israel, prácticamente ha quedado fuera de la agenda política interna.

La elección parlamentaria del mes próximo será la segunda de Israel este año. Después de la primera, realizada el 9 de abril, el primer ministro Benjamin Netanyahu –cuyo partido Likud ganó 35 de las 120 bancas- no logró crear una coalición de gobierno.…  Seguir leyendo »

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in his stunning acquiescence last week to President Trump’s wish that Israel bar entry to two Democratic members of Congress, shows he has no qualms with interfering in U.S. politics.

So he shouldn’t mind when Americans offer political advice to Israelis. Here’s mine: Dump this guy in next month’s election. He is rapidly destroying the 71-year-old U.S.-Israel alliance — if he hasn’t doomed it already.

Last week’s denial to U.S. lawmakers who criticize Israel may have been Netanyahu’s most egregious provocation, but it was the latest of many. The previous day, Democratic lawmakers had received a letter from Netanyahu taking issue with their request that he refrain from deporting a U.S.…  Seguir leyendo »

“Are we a vassal state of yours? Are we a banana republic?” Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin whipped U.S. Ambassador Samuel W. Lewis with rhetorical questions. It was December 1981. The Israeli leader was furious about a series of punitive measures against Israel by President Ronald Reagan, the latest in response to Israel’s annexation of the Golan Heights. Even more, Begin was incensed by what he perceived as Reagan’s attitude that Israel had to follow instructions from Washington. The prime minister called in the ambassador and read out a prepared statement. “We have enough strength,” Begin declared, “to defend our independence and to defend our rights.”…  Seguir leyendo »

Me acerco, como con un microscopio, a un texto arameo para apreciar unos fragmentos del Génesis apócrifo de mil años antes de Cristo, en el que se habla del arca de Noé. El pergamino forma parte de un millar de manuscritos encontrados en las inmediaciones del mar Muerto, que representan para Israel lo que la Gioconda para Francia. Le pregunto a Adolfo Roitman, su prestigioso curador, qué es lo más importante que ha deducido de estos textos y me sonríe cabalísticamente que: «el judaísmo cambió con los rabinos».

Deambulo sobrecogido en el museo del Holocausto por una genuina calle de adoquines de Varsovia, rodeado de rostros de niños que esperan horrorizados su muerte.…  Seguir leyendo »

or Amir Ohana, the shift that led to Israel’s current political moment — and indirectly, to his own unlikely rise — can be pinpointed to one incident in the fall of 2000. Mr. Ohana, who was just appointed this country’s first openly gay cabinet minister, was then a 24-year-old from a desert backwater making his way in Tel Aviv. The Israeli right, his political camp, was out of power, the public still hoping for peace with the Arab world.

On Oct. 12, two Israelis in their 30s reporting for their annual stint of reserve duty took a wrong turn in the occupied West Bank and ended up detained in a Palestinian police station in Ramallah.…  Seguir leyendo »

Las elecciones en Israel han dibujado un panorama desolador. El primer ministro Benjamín Netanyahu se ha asegurado su quinto mandato (el cuarto consecutivo) y se encamina a superar a David Ben Gurión, el fundador del Estado de Israel hace 71 años, como el líder más longevo en la historia del país. No obstante, en Israel se pone de manifiesto que “el pasado es un país extranjero”, como enunció el novelista L. P. Hartley. Y es que el Israel de Netanyahu no sería demasiado reconocible para Ben Gurión, que siempre trató de compatibilizar el carácter judío y democrático del Estado.

Mientras que en los últimos tiempos Israel ha reforzado su carácter judío, no puede decirse lo mismo de su maltrecha democracia, que la reelección de Netanyahu ha dejado en respiración asistida.…  Seguir leyendo »

When will the “deal of the century,” as President Trump has called his forthcoming plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace, finally be unveiled?

Certainly not before April 9, when Israel holds its next election. But how soon after? “In less than 20 years,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo noncommittally told a congressional committee recently.

In any case, American peace plans are nothing new. Does anyone recall, for instance, the Rogers Plans, named after Secretary of State William P. Rogers, who served under President Richard Nixon 50 years ago? When the second of his plans was discussed in the Knesset in 1970, one Israeli legislator confidently projected that “it won’t be long — a year, a year and a half, two at most — before the thing called ‘the held territories’ is no more, and the Israel Defense Force pulls back into Israel’s borders.”…  Seguir leyendo »

Labourers work on hanging up a Likud election campaign banner depicting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with his party candidates, in Jerusalem 28 March 2019. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

Who will win the upcoming parliamentary election?

Current polls project that the governing Likud party will secure enough seats in the Knesset for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to put together a new right-wing governing coalition, similar to the one he now leads. Netanyahu’s campaign has emphasised his claim to be a strong defender and saviour of Israel and other successes, such as keeping Israel out of new wars and overseeing a period of macroeconomic prosperity and improved standing in the world. Neither the opposition’s charges against him nor the Attorney General’s recommendation to indict him seem to have harmed him much so far.…  Seguir leyendo »