Fears Over Old Vote System

Staff Writer
With polls showing Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon leading by as much as 22 percent over rival Benjamin Netanyahu in this week's primary for Likud chairman, attention already began focusing on the Jan. 28 general election. "If Sharon wins [the primary] by a great deal, he can pursue his own line," said Gabriel Ben-Dor, a political science professor at the University of Haifa. "But if it's close, he will have to compromise with Netanyahu and that would make life difficult for him" in the general election.

Israel Now Has Stark Choice

Staff Writer
Amram Mitzna, the dovish mayor of Haifa who was largely unknown nationally when he announced in August his candidacy for leadership of the Labor Party, sought to develop a united party after wresting control from the more hawkish former Defense Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer in Tuesday's decisive primary. He immediately announced plans to form a staff that included supporters of Ben-Eliezer, 66, and his other primary opponent, political veteran Haim Ramon, 52. And he offered Ben-Eliezer the No. 2 spot on the Labor Party ticket.

Olmert’s New ‘Primary’ Strategy

Staff Writer
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert bowed to party pressure Wednesday and said he would allow his Kadima Party to select a new party leader. But it was not immediately clear that he would step aside and allow the winner to assume the premiership.

Partial Pullback Being Tested

Staff Writer
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon walked a tightrope this week, trying to downplay the significance of an Israeli troop withdrawal from Bethlehem to mollify the political right while at the same time giving the green light to proceed with pullbacks elsewhere. "All that Israel has done is to pull a few jeeps and tank transporters out of the center of Bethlehem," Israel Radio quoted Sharon as telling his security cabinet Wednesday, even as concern increased about Iraq attacking Israel.

Israel's Dilemma: Humane Defense

Staff Writer
After another horrific week of Palestinian terrorism, punctuated by the killing Sunday of 13 Israelis that brought the Israeli death toll to more than 600 in 22 months, Israeli officials continued to seek new ways to deter future attacks.

Bronfman Backlash

Staff Writer
  Are well-known presidents of major Jewish organizations ever free to speak out as private citizens on controversial issues concerning Israel?   That was the question being debated this week after Edgar N. Bronfman, Sr., president of the World Jewish Congress, wrote to President George W. Bush expressing his views on the peace process. His letter was co-signed by former Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger.  

A Preview Of Israel’s Race For Prime Minister

Editor and Publisher
Jerusalem — North American delegates to the General Assembly of the United Jewish Communities, meeting here this week, got a preview of the substance and styles of the three main candidates for prime minister in Israel’s upcoming elections. And the candidates had a chance to see how their appearances were received by the leaders of diaspora Jewry.

Whose Party Now?

Staff Writer
Editor's Note:  This story was published before Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's annoucement Wednesday that he would resign after the Kadima primary next month.   As Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni arrived in Washington this week for Palestinian peace talks, her chief opponent in next month’s Kadima Party primary warned her not to discuss core issues.

Electoral Reform In Israel: Needed, But Not Likely

Editor and Publisher
Jerusalem — The potential silver lining from last week’s inconclusive national elections — resulting in a frustrated electorate without a clear-cut leader or stable government — is that the country’s voting system, finally exposed as disastrous, will be overhauled.

Labor Gains?

Staff Writer
Five candidates are vying for the leadership in a Labor Party primary June 28 that some are viewing as crucial in positioning the party for major gains in the general election next year. "It's clear that [Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon's government is in trouble," said Yossi Alpher, a political analyst and former adviser to then-Labor Prime Minister Ehud Barak. "It's not clear that [Sharon] will get his [Likud] party's nomination." Alpher said it was unclear also how the Gaza disengagement slated to begin Aug. 15 would affect Sharon's nomination.
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