Global media prematurely eulogizes Netanyahu government
(Israel Hayom/Exclusive to JNS.org) Some news outlets found themselves prematurely hinting at the defeat of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tuesday’s Israeli election, before Wednesday’s official vote tallies revealed a decisive victory for Netanyahu’s Likud party.
The French newspaper Liberation featured a picture of Netanyahu captioned “Bye Bye Bibi?” and The New York Times reported that Netanyahu was “fighting to stay in power.” Yet television exit polls on Tuesday night showed Likud with either an advantage of one Knesset seat over the Zionist Union or in a tie with that party, and Wednesday’s official results produced a six-seat advantage for Likud. Other media outlets chose to focus on the prime minister’s remarks right before the election. The British newspaper The Guardiandescribed Netanyahu’s call for citizens to vote in light of the reported high Arab voter turnout as “incitement.”
Meanwhile, Arab media outlets referred to Israeli Arab voters as “Palestinians.” Al-Jazeera reported that the Arab public was showing up to polling stations in large numbers and took credit for prompting Netanyahu and the Likud to call a special meeting to warn against a possible upheaval. The Saudi news outlet Al-Arabiya reported that despite the high Arab turnout numbers that were reported in the morning, by the afternoon the Arab turnout had stabilized to its statistical norm, and that it would likely not be higher than 55 percent of eligible Arab voters.
Al-Arabiya’s Arabic-language website featured a report that quoted senior officials in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait as saying they preferred a Netanyahu government over one led by the Zionist Union’s Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni, since those Arab states assume Netanyahu will be more determined to stop Iran’s nuclear program.
Three swastikas sprayed on Jewish fraternity’s house at Vanderbilt University
(JNS.org) Vanderbilt University is investigating an incident in which three swastikas were found spray-painted on the chapter house of the Jewish fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi (AEPi). The anti-Semitic graffiti was discovered on Saturday after a party.
Vanderbilt Provost Susan R. Wente wrote in an email to the student body that “the university condemns the reprehensible depiction of this symbol that since the time of Nazi Germany has come to be associated with hate, anti-Semitism, violence, death and murder.”
“We understand the anguish and pain that this hateful symbol causes and we stand together to condemn any effort to intimidate or send an unwelcoming message to the Jewish members of the Vanderbilt community,” she wrote. “We seek the perpetrators so that they may be held accountable and learn that this behavior is simply not tolerated at Vanderbilt.”
Vanderbilt campus police, along with Office of the Dean of Students, are investigating the graffiti as a hate crime. In late January, swastikas were found spray-painted during Shabbat on another AEPi house, at University of California, Davis.
Israeli ambassador thanks Canada for support at United Nations
(JNS.org) Israeli Ambassador to Canada Rafael Barak thanked the Canadian government, led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, for helping Israel improve its standing at the United Nations.
Barack said that Canada helped Israel gain admission to the U.N.’s group of Western nations about a year ago. Previously, Israel was barred from the Asian U.N. group, where it belongs from a geographical standpoint, due to opposition from Muslim nations.
As a result of being admitted to the Western group, Israel can better defend itself against anti-Israel resolutions at the U.N. and can run for seats in U.N. bodies, including in the Human Rights Council, which is currently investigating Israel’s actions (but not those of Hamas) during last summer’s Gaza war without the Israeli government’s cooperation.
The Canadian government believes Israel “should be a player in an international forum and the multilateral community… so this makes a difference,” Barak said in a story published Tuesday by Canada’s Global News.
“We are very, very thankful to Canada,” he said.
Harper is known to be very friendly to Israel and critical of U.N. bias against the Jewish state. “Canada believes that Israel should be able to exercise its full rights as a U.N. member-state and to enjoy the full measure of its sovereignty,” Harper said in a speech to the Israeli Knesset last year.
Kulanu party wins 10 Knesset seats, cements decisive role in coalition process
(JNS.org) Kulanu leader Moshe Kahlon, whose new centrist party won 10 Knesset seats in Tuesday’s Israeli election and is widely considered a deciding factor in the formation of the country’s next government, said Kulanu “will sit in a government that will allow us to fulfill our promises.”
“It was a historic election campaign that dealt with day-to-day problems,” said Kahlon. “They tried diverting us left or right, Iran and Washington, and Gaza and Sinai, but we said our lives are no less important. Our children’s chance to have an apartment is no less important, the chance to allow our parents to live with dignity and not on welfare is no less important. This was the first campaign since 1977 in which social issues were discussed, and this is because of us (Kulanu). Where others have given up, we vowed to fight and to win.”
He added, “We embarked on a demanding journey and saw it through honorably. We have a responsibility, and we will take care of those who for many years have been abandoned—the middle class and the weaker sectors.”
To create a government in Israel, the party leader appointed by the president must build a coalition of at least 61 of the 120 Knesset seats. Likud won the most 30 Knesset seats in Tuesday’s election—30—and the party’s likely coalition partners include eight for Jewish Home (eight seats), Shas (seven), United Torah Judaism (six), and Yisrael Beiteinu (six). With Kulanu in the fold, a Likud-led coalition would have 67 Knesset seats.
Kahlon is a former Likud member, and served as both Minister of Communications and Minister of Welfare and Social Services under Netanyahu from 2009-13.
“I have no doubt Kahlon is a true Likudnik and he will join our coalition,” said Deputy Foreign Minister Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud), Israel Hayom reported. “The prime minister will keep his word and Kahlon will be finance minister.”
As JLNJ went to print on Wednesday night, Joel announced that YU will look to consolidate the science and arts departments of YU and Stern as of July 1.
The Observer, the Stern College campus newspaper reported that the merger was announced in the Gottesman board room in the 215 Lexington building. It was also announced that Karen Bacon, dean of Stern College, will act as the Dr. Monique C. Katz Dean of the Undergraduate Faculty of Arts and Science at Yeshiva University.
In a letter to students printed in The Observer, Joel wrote: “ During the next three years, we will work together to fashion collaborations, synergies, unified departments and processes to function as a single entity. Where appropriate, we will develop blended courses and use technology to ensure that your teaching and our students’ learning is the best it can be.”