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June 17, 2013

IRAN & SYRIA - ISRAEL PLAYS IT COOL

Israel has reacted coolly to two new developments in the Middle East - the surprise victory of 'moderate' cleric Hassan Rohani in Iran's presidential election, and the U.S. decision to supply weapons to Syria's rebels. It's still early days and it remains to be seen how the situations will play out. 

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June 08, 2013

MIDDLE EAST CAULDRON

 'Double, double, toil and trouble; Fire burn and cauldron bubble.'  

 Could the Bard's memorable lines also portend that two non-Arab countries, Turkey and Iran, will now embark on the course of the 'Arab Spring'. Will Iran follow the latest round of anti-government protests that have rocked Turkey? Ten days before Iran's upcoming presidential election on June 14th, tens of thousands of Iranian mourners flocked to the funeral of dissident cleric Ayatollah Jalaluddin Teheri in the town of Isfahan. It was described as the biggest anti-government demonstration against the 'dictator' Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in recent years. The protesters also demanded the release of thousands of political prisoners who were slammed behind bars for demonstrating against the rigged election of 2009. That same political chicanery is happening again - the government has restricted the list of presidential candidates to supporters of the Khamenei regime. So how will Iranians who aspire to a more democratic society react to the 'election' of a new puppet to replace Muhammad Ahmadinejad? Will they again take to the streets in Tehran and other urban centers to challenge the Ayatollahs, who are supported by Muslims in the rural regions of Iran?

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May 07, 2013

U.S.- ISRAELI PACKAGE DEAL ON SYRIA & IRAN

 Are Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu & U.S. President Barack Obama Collaborating On New Strategy For Taking On Syria and Iran? Analyst David Essing sees signs the two new-found allies have agreed that Israel will tackle the clear and present threat of the barbaric Assad while the U.S. will continue to pressure Iran. 

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May 06, 2000

Arab World's Jewish Refugee Problem

It is probably the least known fact in the long and vociferous Arab-Israeli conflict, but more Jewish refugees were forced to flee from their homes in the Arab countries than all the Palestinians who were forced to flee or left of their own volition, from the newly born state of Israel in 1948.

At a Jerusalem news conference, Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon announced that Israel insisted that the Jewish refugees be ‘a core element in any future negotiation or settlement to resolve the conflict’.

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May 06, 2000

SPECIAL - NEVER BEFORE RELEASED MUSIC FROM 1967

 The stunning victory of the Six Day War gave way to nation-wide enthusiasm and euphoria, even some of the Palestinian residents were excited and now hoped that better days had arrived.

 As a result, this uplifting national spirit inspired many new songs that singers and military bands performed for troops all across the country - the Sinai, the West Bank, the Jordan Valley, and Golan Heights.

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April 02, 2013

YOM KIPPUR WAR, U.S. & IRAN

 Publication of confidential IDF protocols reveals dramatic details of confrontation between Defense Minister Moshe Dayan and IDF Chief of Staff David Elazar, just hours before Egypt and Syria launched a combined offensive against Israel. Dayan later dissuaded Prime Minister Golda Meir from carrying out a preemptive air strike or a total mobilization of the IDF reserves; this while Egyptian and Syrian aircraft, artillery, tanks and troops were about to go to war. Although Dayan's position was previously known, the new details cast the final hours before the Yom Kippur war of 1973 in a new light. Israel, at Dayan's insistence, bowed to the U.S. which believed the Arabs would not attack. In so doing Israel paid a heavy price – many of the Israeli soldiers and pilots killed in the war would be alive today, if Israel had decided differently. It also raises the issue of what will happen if Israel and the U.S. disagree over when to act on a nuclear Iran, even if Netanyahu and Obama have reached a tentative understanding. 

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March 24, 2013

OBAMA WIELDS 'SOFT POWER' IN MIDDLE EAST

 Have U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu forged a new deal on how to approach the Iranian nuclear crisis? After Obama took Israel by storm, Bibi declared:" I am absolutely convinced the President is determined to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons!" IsraCast is of the view that the dazzling impact the U.S. President has made on Israeli leaders and people makes it difficult to arrive at a rational assessment of the visit's longer term outcome. However, it can be said most Israelis now believe that Barack Hussein Obama is a true friend of the Jewish state. 

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March 19, 2013

'BIBI' COZIES UP TO BARACK

 Two days before U.S. President Barack Obama arrived in Israel, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu presented his new coalition government to the Knesset, Israel's parliament. The House approved the new cabinet by a 68 seat majority in the 120 member House. In his address, Netanyahu referred to the imminent visit of U.S. President Barack Obama.

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March 15, 2013

INSIDE ISRAEL'S NEW COALITION GOVERNMENT

 After a protracted round of coalition haggling, Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu finally wrapped up his new government. On the way, Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett taught him a trick or too.

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March 02, 2013

IRAN & NETANYAHU'S COALITION CAPERS

Almaty, Khazakhstan has now joined the list of exotic venues for the Great Power negotiations with Iran - aside from that nothing else has changed. The Iranians continued to string along the P5 +1, the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany, as they did so skillfully in Geneva, Istanbul, Moscow and Baghdad. The scene may shift but the Iranian nuclear negotiators always stick to their two-step routine - one step forward and one step back.

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February 23, 2013

ISRAEL'S WEEK – COALITION, IRAN, TURKEY, PALESTINIANS

BIBI DOESN'T GET IT, YET!

Israel's coalition crisis drags on with Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu still unable to cobble together a new government that can command a solid majority in the 120 member Knesset. In fact, King Bibi is now facing a determined bid by two apparent heirs to his throne: Yair Lapid of 'There's A Future' and Naftali Bennett of 'Jewish Home' parties.

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February 07, 2013

BARACK OBAMA & BIBI'S COALITION PUZZLE

The timing is critical - smack in the middle of Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu's complex coalition consultations U.S. President Barack Obama announces a long overdue visit to Israel. Both the White House in Washington and Bibi's backers in Jerusalem are playing down any notion of a new U.S. peace initiative for Israel and the Palestinians. Perish the thought! But in international relations, actions speak louder than words.

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January 24, 2013

Israeli Elections - Nevertheless Bibi?

 It's a long way from over but there has already been a major shift in Israel's general election. Prime Minister Binyamin has suffered a major setback with his Likud-Beiteinu party dropping by 25% in its Knesset seats taking only thirty one seats. Newcomer Yair Lapid is the big winner; his 'Future' party', although expected to do well, is expected to win at least 19 seats. Lapid has now become kingmaker, unless Netanyahu wants to commit political suicide by sticking to his former ultra-orthodox parties and including the far Right Naftali Bennett. Analyst David Essing says the question is whether Netanyahu can now make an offer that Lapid will find hard to refuse and join a new Netanyahu government.

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January 21, 2013

Israel at the Ballot Box

 With Israeli society more polarized than ever, a staunchly right-wing government is only more likely to exacerbate these divisions. Gilead Sher and Olivia Holt-Ivry discuss the elections in Israel.

 Projecting elections is a risky task, even more so in Israel. At the end of the dramatic 1996 Election Day, the public went to bed with expectations of Shimon Peres as the next prime minister, only to awaken the following morning to Binyamin Netanyahu having won by a slim 30,000 votes. Beating all political commentators, politicians and analysts, the outcome of those elections — held after the traumatic assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin — should be a lesson in humility when predicting developments in the Israeli political arena. Consequently, the following is a guide for perplexed observers, rather than a projection of the general elections’ results.

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January 19, 2013

Israel's Perplexed Voters

 The Israeli election campaign has entered the home stretch with all the polls indicating that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's Likud-Beiteinu party will win more seats than other. As things stand, Netanyahu could form a new coalition government with Naftali Bennett's Jewish Home party and the ultra-orthodox parties that could command a 63 seat majority in the 120 member Knesset. However analyst David Essing reports that the Left and Centrist parties contend there are as twenty seats that could be decided by floating voters; this means there is still a chance of closing the gap and forging a blocking majority. In any case, state President Shimon Peres will consult with all the parties that win seats and ask them whom they support for prime minister. Peres will then decide which leader has the best chance of forming a new coalition and authorize him or her to commence negotiations on building a coalition that will command a 61 seat majority in the Knesset.

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January 11, 2013

Chuck Hagel & Shimon Peres

 In the midst of Israel's current election campaign, two developments have caught the headlines in Israel. First, U.S. President Barack Obama's selecting of Chuck Hagel as the new U.S. Secretary of Defense and the New York Times interview with Israel's President Shimon Peres have caught the headlines in Israel. 

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January 01, 2013

Israel's Ambassadors Criticize Governments Settlement Building

 Israeli ambassadors have dropped a bombshell on Israel's current election campaign. At a Foreign Ministry gathering of Israeli diplomats serving abroad, Israel's UN representative Ron Prosor appeared to take issue with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's recent decision to announce the building of 1300 new housing units in the area of E-1 near East Jerusalem on the West Bank. The Palestinians claim this construction would drive a wedge between a Palestinian state on the West Bank. Netanyahu said the announcement was in response to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's violation of the Oslo Accord in pushing for a Palestinian non-member observer state by the UN General Assembly on Nov.29th.

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December 23, 2012

Israel's Election Pyromania

 Are Israeli politicians from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on down now shooting from the hip in trying to attract voters in the January 22nd election? It appears so. Just listen to the rash of reckless rhetoric that is now being bandied about by some party leaders. Naftali Bennet, who heads the ultra Right-wing 'Jewish Home' party, has set fire to the campaign by stating "If I were an IDF soldier and was ordered to evacuate a Jewish settler from his home, I would first ask permission to be recused and if not, I would rather be sent to the military brig!" Analyst David Essing updates the election campaign that was kicked off by the ruling Likud-Beiteinu party this week.

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December 17, 2012

Palestinians & Israeli Elections

 What is the most dominant factor that determines the winner of an Israeli election campaign? Without fail it is how Israeli voters perceive Palestinian intentions and without fail the Palestinian leadership takes a hostile stance smack in the middle of the campaign. Analyst David Essing is of the view it is happening once again.

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December 12, 2012

TEDxJerusalem - A FIRST-HAND RECAP

 On December 10, 2012, Jerusalem proper hosted its first TED event, TEDxJerusalem, and IsraCast was there to give you a first account. There have been other official and unofficial TED events held in Israel, however, TEDxJerusalem brought its own special angle to what TED in the Holy Land has to contribute.

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