Tuesday June 25, 2019
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Israel Moves Towards Election Rerun

The 66 to 44 vote set a tentative date of September 17 for a new election

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Israel, New Elections
An Israeli man casts his vote during Israel's general elections in Tel Aviv, Israel, April 9, 2019. VOA

Israel moved closer to new parliamentary elections Tuesday as lawmakers voted in favor of the first of three procedural moves necessary to dissolve the current parliament.

The 66 to 44 vote set a tentative date of September 17 for a new election, if the measure makes it through the final two rounds of voting.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been unable to form a new government since his party won the most seats in an election last month.

He has until Wednesday to reach a coalition deal with other parties or risk having Israel’s president give someone else a chance to form a coalition government. Netanyahu is unlikely to allow that to take place, preferring to take his chances in a new election.

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Israel’s former Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman speaks during his Yisrael Beitenu party faction meeting at the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, in Jerusalem, May 27, 2019. VOA

His prospective coalition has been thrown into turmoil by former defense minister Avigdor Lieberman, sometimes a Netanyahu ally and sometimes a rival.

Lieberman has demanded passage of a new law mandating that young ultra-Orthodox men be drafted into the Israeli military, like most other Jewish men, while Netanyahu’s ultra-Orthodox allies have called for the current draft exemptions to remain in place.

In a statement late Monday, Netanyahu called for his potential coalition partners to put “the good of the nation above every other interest” to avoid what he said would be “expensive, wasteful” elections.

​The Israeli leader said he was hopeful that a compromise could be forged before the late Wednesday deadline for him to form a new government.

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But he acknowledged, “Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to convince Lieberman to avoid another election. The reality is that we must be responsible and form a government immediately.”

Netanyahu cannot form a government without the five seats of Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party.

Israel, Election rerun
Israel moved closer to new parliamentary elections Tuesday. VOA

“The draft law has become a symbol, and we will not capitulate on our symbols,” Lieberman said, vowing to press for new parliamentary elections if his demand is not met.

Ultra-Orthodox parties consider military conscription a violation of their religious beliefs, fearing that military service will lead to secularization. But such exemptions from military service are widely resented by other Jewish Israelis.

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Some Likud adherents say that Lieberman is motivated by his personal spite for Netanyahu, but Lieberman says he will not give in to religious coercion.

“I will not be a partner to a Halachic state,” he said, using the word for Jewish law. (VOA)

Next Story

Israel to Help India with Desertification and Water Management

World Day to Combat Desertification, which is observed every June 17 to promote public awareness of international efforts to combat desertification

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The country is one of the world's leading nations in desert technologies and methods of dealing with desertification. Wikimedia Commons

At a time when several parts of India are facing acute water shortage and drought situation, Israel has expressed its keenness to share its experience in dealing with desertification and water management, in which it is a world leader.

Israel, with over 60 per cent of its territory being a desert and another 20 per cent semi-arid land, has developed a variety of solutions to desertification through desert agriculture, irrigation, desalination, aquaculture, afforestation and management of water resources. The country is one of the world’s leading nations in desert technologies and methods of dealing with desertification.

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The statement assumes significance as it comes at a time when several parts of India are facing acute water shortage and drought situation. Wikimedia Commons

“As part of our growing partnership with India, Israel is keen to work together and share all its experience and cutting edge technology in our joint fight against desertification, including a strategic partnership on water management and water security,” said Israeli Ambassador to India Ron Malka in a statement.

His statement came in the context of World Day to Combat Desertification, which is observed every June 17 to promote public awareness of international efforts to combat desertification. The statement assumes significance as it comes at a time when several parts of India are facing acute water shortage and drought situation.

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World Day to Combat Desertification, which is observed every June 17 to promote public awareness of international efforts to combat desertification. Wikimedia Commons

A statement issued by the Israeli Embassy said MASHAV, the country’s Agency for International Development Cooperation, places special emphasis on development cooperation and assistance in the fight against desertification and drought by introducing international programs of capacity building, training, project development and research.

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MASHAV’s approach is based on Israel’s experience in facing harsh climatic conditions, combines the transfer of adaptable technology, research and development, and a hands-on experience originating from leading Israeli experts and institutions, it added.

Under the Indo-Israeli Agricultural Project with the federal and state governments of India, the centre of excellence for date palms in the heart of the desert in Bhuj, Gujarat introduced Indian farmers to date palms suitable for arid conditions made more common by desertification, the statement said. Date palms are ideal value crops for farmers in arid conditions that can be found in India and Israel alike, it added. (IANS)