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  • ANALYSIS Missing from mass Israeli rallies: The three contenders for premier

    JERUSALEM, Feb. 16 (JTA) — On the face of it — a paradox. One of the largest outdoor mass gatherings in Israeli history, held at the height of an election campaign — and all three leading candidates for prime minister stayed away. Sunday’s two opposing rallies in Jerusalem — a vast Orthodox prayer demonstration against…

  • NEWS ANALYSIS Complacent Israelis begin to think seriously about Iraq

    JERUSALEM, Feb. 17 (JTA) — With a single offhand comment, Defense Minister Yitzhak Mordechai has sent Israelis into a panic. In a radio interview, Mordechai suggested that Israelis buy plastic sheeting and masking tape to be equipped if and when the order comes to prepare a ‘sealed room’ to deal with an unconventional weapons assault…

  • NEWS ANALYSIS Barak faces new challenge: opposition in party he heads

    JERUSALEM, June 15 (JTA) — “Midsummer madness” was how Labor Party leader Ehud Barak this week dismissed signs of dissent in the senior ranks of his party. “I know it’s only June,” he said, “but apparently some of our people are feeling the heat as though it were July or August already.” Barak, who often…

  • NEWS ANALYSIS Moderate coalition partners not willing to challenge premier

    JERUSALEM, May 26 (JTA) — “Netanyahu and Mordechai trying to persuade Sharon,” proclaimed the headline of the Israeli daily Yediot Achronot. An outsider completely unfamiliar with the peace process players would naturally assume from the story that Ariel Sharon is the prime minister and that two of his more moderate Cabinet members, named Netanyahu and…

  • NEWS ANALYSIS Israelis debate wisdom of plan to hold redeployment referendum

    JERUSALEM, June 23 (JTA) — Referendum fever swept Israel this week as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu blew hot, then cold, then hot again over the idea of holding a national plebiscite on the next Israeli redeployment from the West Bank. As legal experts debated precedents for the idea and technological wizards proposed state-of-the-art methods for…

  • NEWS ANALYSIS Growing international pressure creates quandary for Netanyahu

    JERUSALEM, March 24 (JTA) — Amid growing international pressure for Israel to give the Palestinians more West Bank territory, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is fighting back. And the gloves are off. Last week, Netanyahu suddenly cut short a meeting with the visiting British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook and canceled a planned state dinner after Cook…

  • NEWS ANALYSIS Israelis wary as tensions among Palestinians escalate

    JERUSALEM, April 13 (JTA) — Israelis are watching the escalating tensions between the Palestinian Authority and Islamic militants with apprehension and uncertainty, wondering how the rift will spill over. On one hand, Israeli citizens remain on heightened alert for terrorist attacks after the fundamentalist group Hamas issued threats last week against Israeli targets. At the…

  • NEWS ANALYSIS U.S. standing in Arab world may influence peace process

    JERUSALEM, March 2 (JTA) — With the U.S.-Iraq confrontation off the front burner, Israel and the Palestinians are busily preparing for a new bout of American diplomacy. A new peacemaking initiative was widely anticipated in the aftermath of a showdown with Iraq. Pundits predicted that the United States, unpopular and resented in large parts of…

  • NEWS ANALYSIS Showdown in Israel likely in wake of compromise plan

    JERUSALEM, March 25 (JTA) — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears headed for a showdown with his coalition — yet again. The likelihood of a confrontation became apparent this week when Israeli officials confirmed a New York Times report that Israel had presented to the U.S. administration a compromise proposal regarding further Israeli withdrawals from the…

  • NEWS ANALYSIS Netanyahu strives to satisfy competing U.S., Israeli demands

    JERUSALEM, May 12 (JTA) — The space between a rock and a hard place would represent for Benjamin Netanyahu a veritable paradise compared to his current predicament — stuck between Madeleine Albright and Ariel Sharon. The Israeli prime minister, staring at the daunting prospect of a full-scale confrontation with the Clinton administration, must have been…