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Israel Postpones Local Elections as Hundreds of Soldiers Serving in Gaza War Unable to Run

Israeli soldiers operate at the Shajaiya district of Gaza city amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian terror group Hamas, in the Gaza Strip, Dec. 8, 2023. Photo: REUTERS/Yossi Zeliger

The Israeli government has approved a plan to postpone local elections until Feb. 27, following uncertainty over some 4,000 reservists in the military seeking office — including 688 who would be unable to run — as well as many more soldiers who would be unable to vote in a time of war.

“I congratulate the members of the Israeli government for the decision to postpone the elections,” tweeted Israeli Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, who has been outspoken about the need to postpone voting. “When our soldiers are at the front they cannot participate in the vote, and the last thing the citizens of Israel need is debates of an election campaign. We led this rejection in the name of tens of thousands of soldiers who are not willing to give up the right to choose and choose.”

Israel called up some 350,000 reservists in a massive military mobilization following the Hamas terror group’s Oct. 7 massacre in southern Israel. Beyond waging a campaign of air strikes and ground operations against Hamas in Gaza to the south, the Jewish state has also been clashing with the Hezbollah terror group on its northern border, where fighting has escalated in recent weeks.

The reservists running for office, covering 144 municipalities throughout the country, were told by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) that they could not leave due to the nature of their service.

A group of four soldiers seeking office had filed a petition with the Supreme Court, asking it to intervene and postpone the elections until the war in Gaza has mostly subsided.

Smotrich had tweeted earlier on Sunday, telling members of the government that they will “have to decide whether to disconnect from the people and turn your back on the hundreds of thousands of reservists and their millions of family members, or to be attentive and connected to them.” He urged the government “to make the right decision.”

Israeli’s parliament, known as the Knesset, approved the government’s decision on Monday. The measure to postpone the elections was supported by all but two lawmakers — members of Arab parties — with one opposing the delay and one abstaining. They argued that pushing the elections to the end of February could mean that runoff votes would be scheduled during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

The chairman of the Interior Committee, the panel of the Knesset that approved the decision, said in response: “We will find a solution for this with the Interior Ministry. Maybe we will advance the date of the second round before the beginning of the holiday.”

The elections were supposed to be held on Oct. 31, until they were initially postponed due to the war until January.

The post Israel Postpones Local Elections as Hundreds of Soldiers Serving in Gaza War Unable to Run first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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Brian Mulroney (1939-2024) was a steadfast supporter of Israel and the Jewish community

World Jewish Congress honoured him with the Herzl Award last November.

The post Brian Mulroney (1939-2024) was a steadfast supporter of Israel and the Jewish community appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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Quebec officially opened a representative office in Tel Aviv after months of war-related delay—with Israeli consul general Paul Hirschson greeting director Alik Hakobyan

Quebec’s representative office is opening in Tel Aviv this week, after months of delay, caused by the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks and the subsequent war. Alik Hakobyan, who is the director of the office, had been operating the bureau in Montreal but officially moved to Israel this week to continue his work with the bureau. […]

The post Quebec officially opened a representative office in Tel Aviv after months of war-related delay—with Israeli consul general Paul Hirschson greeting director Alik Hakobyan appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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Uncommitted: Rashida Tlaib Refuses to Say Whether She Will Support Biden in November

Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) listen as Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan testifies before the House Oversight and Reform Committee on “Trump Administration’s Child Separation Policy” on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., July 18, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) refused to say earlier this week if she planned to vote for her party’s incumbent, President Joe Biden, in the 2024 election.

During a press conference where she and other members of the so-called  far-left “Squad”, including Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), and Jamaal Bowman (D-NY),  were calling for a permanent ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war, Tlaib did not comment when asked if she would be voting for Biden in November.

Tlaib is the only Palestinian-American member of Congress and also represents the most Arab district in the country.

During this week’s Michigan primary, she supported the campaign to vote “uncommitted” rather than for Biden, in protest of his pro-Israel stance since Hamas’s October 7 terrorist attack.

While she would not answer what she plans to do in November, when asked about others who voted “uncommitted,” she told them, “Don’t stay home,” adding, “One thing that I know about staying home is you’re making us more invisible. I want you to exercise your right to vote, I really mean this. But also think of the whole ballot.” 

She urged people to “not always think about that top of that ticket.”

In 2020, she did not endorse Biden, but did campaign against Trump.

During this week’s primary, more than 100,000 people cast an “uncommitted” ballot, making up 13.2 percent of the vote. If a sizable portion of that group decides not to vote for Biden in November, it has the possibility of tipping the state and election toward his opponent — which is likely going to be former President Donald Trump. In 2016, Trump beat Clinton in the state by only about 10,700 votes.

In Tlaib’s district, about 17 percent of people voted “uncommitted,” and 78 percent voted for Biden.

For context, in the 2012 primaries, just over 10 percent of Michigan voters cast an “uncommitted” ballot against former President Barack Obama. However, in raw numbers, it was only about 20,000 people.

Tlaib was clear that she wanted to avoid a second Trump term, saying “I am incredibly, incredibly scared of a second Trump term, and I think it’s really important to emphasize this.” She continued: “Right now, our democracy is at stake. Many of us are saying change course because you’re threatening our democracy.”

During the press conference, Tlaib emphasized that she was not pushing for a temporary ceasefire with Hamas but rather a permanent one.

“A temporary ceasefire isn’t enough,” she said.

Critics of her approach point out that such a solution would allow Hamas to remain in power and would likely leave some number of hostages in the hands of Hamas as well — neither of which is conducive to short or long-term peace.

In recent months, Tlaib has strongly spoken out against Biden’s Israel policy. In November, she said “Joe Biden supported the genocide of the Palestinian people.”

Then, this week, she said “Over the past few weeks, we’ve heard a lot about how the president and his administration are concerned and troubled by the Israeli government’s actions. We’re here to tell him, so are we.” 

“And yet again, once again, we are continuing though to veto resolutions at the United Nations for the third time calling for immediate, lasting ceasefire,” she lamented.

The post Uncommitted: Rashida Tlaib Refuses to Say Whether She Will Support Biden in November first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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