Deal or no deal?


The main news story of the day – Israel's successful and peaceful operation to take control of a flotilla of ships aiming to break the blockade of the Gaza Strip – happened in the twilight zone between the time when newspapers are sent to print and the time they arrive on doorsteps. This rendered useless all the preemptive news coverage of the event and the analysts' advice on how best to carry out the operation.

According to Army Radio, IDF forces boarded the Gaza-bound protest vessel Marianne in the early hours of Monday morning. There were no reports of any casualties. The IDF spokesman said in a statement that, in line with the decision of the political leadership, and after all appeals via diplomatic channels to prevent the boat from reaching the coastal territory were exhausted, Israeli naval forces intercepted the ship and boarded it. The takeover process was brief with no reports of any confrontations or injuries. The decision to seize control of the Swedish-owned vessel was made after numerous requests to reroute to Ashdod port were rejected by those onboard.

A spokesperson for flotilla said earlier this week that activists onboard had taken an oath not to engage in violence by signing contracts that they would resist confrontation in a passive, non-violent manner. The Marianne was carrying solar panels and medical supplies in its cargo hull.

The Israeli government stressed repeatedly in recent days that it will not allow unauthorized boats to enter its territorial waters and that there are numerous channels to bring humanitarian aid to Gaza. Jerusalem has said it views these types of flotillas solely as a means for provocation.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu praised Israeli forces for their 'determined and efficient' action in detaining the passengers of the Gaza flotilla, which he said tried to reach the coast in contravention of the law. Netanyahu said the flotilla is nothing but a demonstration of hypocrisy and lies; that it only assists Hamas terror and ignores all of the horrors of the region. Netanyahu said Israel is not prepared to accept the entry of war materiel to the terrorist organizations in Gaza as has been done by sea in the past. He stressed that there is no siege on Gaza, and that Israel assists in transferring goods and humanitarian equipment to the territory.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon also praised the actions of the navy. 'I congratulate the navy at the conclusion of their taking control of the ship the Marianne,' said Ya'alon. 'This flotilla is not humanitarian and doesn't care about the welfare of anyone; the desire of the participants on it is to continue its delegitimization effort against the State of Israel.' Ya'alon said the flotilla 'is part of a demonstration of hypocrisy and lies by various sources in the world who prefer to strengthen and support a relentless terrorist organization like Hamas, which instead of taking care of the citizens of Gaza tries to smuggle weapons into the (Gaza) Strip to use them against the state of Israel and its citizens.'

The ship is to be taken to Ashdod Port where its contents will be inspected, as Israel maintains that its maritime blockade is meant to prevent Hamas from rearming via sea routes.

Perhaps wary of being overtaken by events, none of the Israeli newspapers led their Monday editions with the flotilla. Haaretz and Israel Hayom lead with a preview of today's cabinet vote on allowing the government to bypass antitrust laws in cases of national security or foreign policy. Specifically, the vote would allow the government to get around the antitrust commissioner’s opposition to the emerging agreement between natural gas companies and the government. Yedioth Ahronoth leads with the financial crisis in Greece, reporting that the entire country is on the verge of bankruptcy. 

           In other news, Netanyahu said at a meeting of the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee on Sunday that the nuclear agreement-in-the-works with Iran is going from bad to worse day by day. Netanyahu maintains that Iran's demands are growing while the concessions by the world powers are also growing. The prime minister said that the agreement would set the stage for Iran to become a superpower with the nuclear arsenal within a decade, and would allow Tehran to manufacture an atom bomb even earlier.

          Speaking to journalists during a press briefing at his office in Tel Aviv, defence minister Ya'alon said "the U.S. has a narrative on Iran that I don't buy," adding that the primary disagreement is about whether Iran is the problem or the solution. According to Ya'alon, Israel and the U.S. disagreed in choosing between pursuing an agreement at this stage, or increasing pressure on the Iranians. "We claimed that ramping up pressure would bring the [Iranian] regime to a dilemma: Either the bomb, or survival," said Ya'alon, adding, "but the way negotiations were conducted allowed the Iranians to avoid that dilemma. Because it went that way, we still find ourselves divided on the issue." 

The defence minister added that Israel doesn't believe that an immediate strike on Iran is the best course of action, but rather increasing pressure on the regime in Tehran should be top priority. "This pressure brought Iran into talks with America. But today there is no military threat on Iran, no diplomatic isolation, and there's been more talk of easing economic pressures since the interim agreement was signed. For all those reasons, Iran also has no fear of an internal uprising. The issue was decided among the West against Israel's wishes."

Ya'alon noted that Iran and the world powers are not headed for a breakdown, and that they will ultimately reach an agreement in the near future, even if they don't manage to do so by the deadline of June 30. According to Ya'alon, the emerging agreement is not good, and will only increase the danger posed by Iran. "The agreement will create a reality in which Iran is a nuclear threshold state, even if there is a 10-year freeze on certain parts of its nuclear program," added Ya'alon.

In Vienna, meanwhile, a senior U.S. official has acknowledged that the talks with Iran will go past their June 30th target date. The comment came as Iran's foreign minister was preparing to leave the talks in Vienna to travel to Tehran for consultations before expecting to return to Vienna for a final push for a breakthrough. Iranian media said that Foreign Minister Javad Zarif's trip back to Tehran had been planned in advance.

Elsewhere, a senior Islamic Jihad prisoner held in administrative detention by Israel has agreed to end a 56-day hunger strike, following assurances he would be released next month. The head of the Palestinian Prisoner Society, Qadura Fares, said that the prisoner, Khader Adnan, agreed to end the protest hunger strike after being told he would be released from jail in two weeks. Israel has sought to prevent hunger strikes by introducing legislation to permit prisoners to be force fed – but the measure has been met with opposition from Israeli doctors' associations, which say the practice contravenes ethical commitments.

Finally, Haaretz reports that Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades is trying to get Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu invited to address the heads of the 28 European Union nations at one of their upcoming meetings in Brussels. Anastasiades would also like to invite Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to make a similar speech at a separate event. The Cypriot president discussed the possibility with Netanyahu during his visit to Israel on June 15 and with Abbas in a phone call on June 19.


ISRAEL'S DRUZE DILEMMA: Writing in Maariv, Alon Ben David says that Israel's policy of noninvolvement in the Syrian Civil War could be sorely tested, if rebel forces attack the Druze communities on the Syrian side of the border.

"Much has been written over the past seven days about the attack on an Israeli ambulance on the Golan Heights, in which an injured Syrian rebel fighter was beaten to death by a mob of Druze from the town of Majdal Shams. Even without this very serious incident, Israel is rapidly approaching the moment that it must make a decision: will it continue its policy of remaining firmly uninvolved in the Syrian Civil War – even if we start to witness a massacre just across from our northern border?

There is no need to expand at length on the vile nature of last week's attack, or the negative impact it could have on the rebels' attitude toward the Syrian Druze or even toward Israel. The attack came, ironically enough, after Israel had reached a quiet understanding with the rebels that the Druze village of Khader would not be attacked and its residents left unharmed. We can only hope that the attack did not nix that understanding.

The rebels made it clear that the goal of their recent offensive was to take an outpost belonging to the Syrian army, located southeast of Khader, and that they had no intention of attacking the village. Their operational goal at the moment is to take control of the area near to Mazraat Beit Jen, which would give them territorial contiguity with the areas they have already taken in the central Golan Heights. >From there, they can more easily attack the Quneitra-Damascus road.

Israel, aware of the sensitivity of the Druze population to what could happen to their brethren over the border, relayed a warning to the rebels not to enter Khader – despite the fact that terrorists from the same village were responsible for detonating a roadside bomb close to an IDF patrol on the Golan several months ago. At the same time, Israel recognizes that the Syrian Druze have little choice but to support Bashar al-Assad's troops and Hizbollah, who – ironically – are protecting minorities. By the same token, there are those inside Khader who insist that, even if they were to come under attack, they would not accept Israeli help.

Every few days, the rebel forces drop off their wounded close to the border fence; most of them are seriously wounded and Israel treats them irrespective of the organization that they belong to. One senior officer told me that, 'Even if Assad himself turned up at the fence wounded, Israel would treat him without asking any questions.' Thus far, Israel has treated some 1,500 injured Syrians and, in most cases, saved their lives.

When asked why Israeli taxpayers' money is being used to treat wounded Syrians, the army's answer is always the same: Anyone who spends six months in an Israeli hospital and who owed his life to Israelis is unlikely to forget that and will help Israel in the future. This is one of the wiser investments the government has made, along with its decision to refrain from engaging in the Syrian Civil War. If Israel were to get directly involved in the fighting, all of the combatant factions would unite against us.

This policy could be severally tested, however. When 300,000 people were massacred in fighting in Syria, the world stood silently by – but if the massacres get closer to our borders, we will have to make a decision. Can we – descendants of people who were victims of genocide while the world remained silent – not act if we witness a massacre taking place just over our border? There is no easy answer to that question and it is clear that there will be political considerations to be borne in mind – but the moral question is a profound and complex one.

Some 15,000 Druze live in the northern Golan Heights. If they come under attack from the rebels, Israel will have to decide whether it opens its borders to refugees or whether it tries to establish a safe zone on the eastern side of the border. It would be hard for Israel to do nothing.

At the moment, there is no such imminent threat and the more significant concern for the Druze is focused on their largest population center – Jabal al-Druze – where they number some 500,000. Forces from ISIS and the al-Nusra Front are closing in on them. Israel, which is just 50 kilometers away, cannot really help them. The Jordanians, who can help them, are doing so. For Jordan, supporting the Druze helps create a buffer zone between the territory of the Hashemite kingdom and areas controlled by ISIS, which also has aspiration of moving southward.

The Druze have never had nationalist aspirations. As an eternal minority, their ethos calls on them to identify with whichever country they are in and to enjoy the protection of the ruling regime. But what used to be Syria can no longer be considered a regime and will not return to being one. We have witnessed the demise of a central regime in Damascus ruling over Syria in its current borders. Syria as we know it has disintegrated into cantons. Jordan can help the Druze bring stability to their little canton."



FIGHTING ISIS: Writing in Israel Hayom, Professor Eyal Zisser comments on the American new strategy for fighting ISIS – involving Iran, Syria, Hizbollah and various local militias – and says that Israel must be wary.

"During the course of the past year, American officials have declared ISIS is close to being defeated on several occasions; on the ground, however, it is very much alive and kicking. In fact, it seems that it has never been in better shape – and not just in Syria and Iraq. Over the weekend, ISIS sent a Ramadan greeting, a reminder that it still exists, to the entire world. The message was delivered in Tunisia, in France and in Kuwait. Even in Jerusalem there were flyers bearing the name of ISIS, calling on Christians to leave the city and to stop sullying it with their presence during the holy month.

In Washington, they have long realized that the American strategy for dealing with ISIS has failed and that airstrikes alone will not bring the organization to its knees or even do it significant damage. The Americans, therefore, are now promoting an alternative strategy, whereby they seek to recruit local allies – such as the Kurds in northern Iraq and eastern Syria – as well as Shiite militias in southern Iraq. The Kurds and the Shiite militias have an existential interest in fighting ISIS in order to protect their homes and, with American help, they are proving themselves to be determined and effective fighters. The Americans would be well advised to expand this policy to include Jabal al-Druze in southern Syria.

These ethnic forces can, in the meantime, protect their homes from ISIS, but they do not have the ability or desire to retake the vast areas of land that the organization has already captured from Syria and Iraq, in which there is a Sunni majority. In order to do this, they would need political power, which is sorely lacking because of the political disintegration of both countries.

The Americans tried, of course, to create a Sunni coalition to fight against ISIS, but it was a coalition that existed on paper alone and, in any case, it proved to be ineffective. Saudi Arabia was preoccupied with its operations in Yemen, while Ankara has no real desire to fight ISIS. After all, most of the volunteers who have joined ISIS have travelled through Turkey. Meanwhile, the Sunni rebels in Syria see Bashar al-Assad as their main enemy. Indeed, if Assad were to fall one day, it's hard to see how the militias will be able to fight ISIS. Any time ISIS has fought against one of these groups in the past, it has always come out on top.

Given all of the above, it is easy to understand why the United States is so keen to recruit a new ally in its war against ISIS: Iran, and, indirectly, the Assad regime and Hizbollah. After all, the Shiites in Lebanon and the Alawites in Syria could, by the same logic as the Americans are applying to the Kurds, become another layer in the war against ISIS, while Iran would provide the political clout that is lacking in the battle against the organization today.

In Iraq, an alliance of this kind already exists and, in practice (although not directly or openly) Washington and Tehran both support the Shiite militias that are fighting ISIS. Syria could be the next country in which this happens. It is little wonder, incidentally, that some people have already suggested that, once Assad falls and ISIS sets up shop in Lebanon's back yard and on the Golan Heights, Israel and Iran will renew their alliance from the days of the Shah and will join forces to fight a common enemy. This, however, remains a delusional and fantastical vision.

Although an Israeli-Iranian alliance against ISIS is not realistic, the penny has dropped already in Washington and, because of the threat that ISIS poses to American interests, the administration is willing to hand over control of the Middle East to Iran. In this respect, the nuclear deal is just the first stage. Iranian arms and advisers are already flowing freely into Iraq and Syria and the next stage could see Iranian troops dispatched – as well as volunteer fighters. Even if such a move is sanctioned by the United States, Israel must oppose it vehemently. Even if we would be happy to see the Islamic Republic's troops sinking into the Syrian quagmire, we must not allow it to establish a presence on our border – unless it is coordinated in advance with Jerusalem.

Either way, the Obama Administration wants to reach the end of its tenure in November 2016 without incident. The problem is that once Obama leaves the stage, we in the Middle East will be left to clean up the mess."



SAUDI STRATEGY: Writing on the News 1 website, Yoni Ben Menachem says that the West's nuclear deal with Iran is leading to a regional arms race – as witnessed by deals reached recently by Saudi Arabia with France and Russia.

"The ruler of Saudi Arabia, Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, continues with his policy of defiance toward the United States, in protest at the nuclear deal with Iran that seems certain to be signed in the coming days and weeks. Having already sent his son, Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud, to Russia 10 days ago, to finalize the details of a strategic alliance with President Vladimir Putin, he subsequently sent him to France on a similar mission.

When it comes to the most important issues in the Middle East, France's positions are very similar to those of Saudi Arabia: it is hawkish when it comes to a nuclear deal with Iran, it supports the ouster of Syrian tyrant Bashar al-Assad and it backs Saudi Arabia's initiative on the Palestinian issue.

This new Saudi policy is highly pragmatic; it is based solely on protecting the interests of the kingdom. It seeks to create strategic new alliances beyond the alliance with the United States, after it discovered to its shock and dismay that the pact with Washington was not as strong as Saudi Arabia believed. The final proof of this, as far as Riyadh is concerned, is the nuclear deal with Iran.

A few weeks ago, the Saudi monarch boycotted a summit that U.S. President Barack Obama hosted at Camp David with leaders of other Gulf States. Obama used the occasion to try and convince his guests to accept the deal with Iran; he told them that the United States' support for the Gulf States remains as strong as it ever was.

Prince Mohammad, meanwhile, has met with French President Francois Holland and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius; he signed a series of deals with them, valuing a staggering $12 billion. Among the deals signed was one for the construction of two nuclear reactors in Saudi Arabia, one for the purchase of 23 French helicopters, another for the purchase of civilian Airbuses and a whole host of infrastructure projects.

Anyone who was afraid that the Iranian nuclear deal would signal the start of an arms race in the Middle East can now feel vindicated: Saudi Arabia has launched a full-blooded arms race and is making no effort whatsoever to conceal its intentions.

Prince Mohammad is considered the rising star of the Saudi royal house; he is also the heir apparent. Some 10 days ago, when he met with Putin in Moscow, he agreed with the Russian president on six strategic agreements. The most significant of these was the signing of an agreement whereby the two countries would cooperate on nuclear issues. Saudi Arabia plans to build 16 nuclear reactors – for peaceful purposes. Russia is supposed to build and operate most of them. The rest of the agreements between Moscow and Riyadh deal with the procurement of arms, construction projects, energy, agriculture and investment. It's worth remembering that Russia sold Iran its nuclear reactor at Bushehr, as well as the technological knowhow needed to operate it. Now Saudi Arabia is marching down the same path.

By signing the agreements with Russia and France, the Saudi ruler is sending a clear message to President Obama, that the nuclear deal with Iran grants other countries in the Middle East – including Saudi Arabia – the right to pursue nuclear technology and the right to enrich uranium. One of the agreements that Prince Mohammed reached in Paris was for the purchase of attack helicopters. His visit to Moscow also dealt with weaponry – specifically the purchase of Russian T90 tanks and 9K720 Iskander missiles.

The message that Saudi Arabia is sending to the Obama administration is clear: the United States and its weapons manufacturers no longer enjoy precedence when it comes to selling arms to the kingdom and Saudi Arabia has the right to seek out new sources of weapons in order to safeguard its national security. Saudi Arabia is considered the leading Gulf State and it is safe to assume that the other countries will adopt this new Saudi strategy and will follow in Riyadh's footsteps. The Middle East is on the verge of a new and dangerous era, which is the direct result of the Iranian nuclear deal and which will see the Gulf States – followed by other Arab countries, such as Egypt and Jordan – engaged in an arms race.

Rather than calming the region and reducing tensions between Iran and other countries in the region – as the United States hopes – the nuclear deal with Iran is increasing tensions and concerns, and is creating a dangerous race to obtain conventional weapons. This could easily change into a nuclear arms race, in which Arab countries seek to maintain a strategic balance with Iran.

This arms race has security implications for Israel, too. Israel cannot afford to lose its qualitative edge over Arab armies, especially given the new and dangerous situation in the region, when countries are disintegrating and their weapons are falling into the hands of radical Islamic groups. The United States understands the dangers, but it appears that President Obama has decided once and for all to prioritize the nuclear deal with Iran – even though this entails main dangers and potentially dangerous ramifications."



THE LAST LAP?: In its editorial on Monday, The Jerusalem Post warns that, with nuclear weapons, the Iranian regime would likely feel free to act without fear of any consequences from the West.

"The deadline for the nuclear talks between the great world powers and Iran was supposed to be on Tuesday, June 30. It has now been extended by several days.

Many have wondered why the U.S. and other Western nations are even talking to the Iranian regime about its nuclear weapons programs at a time when it is sponsoring terrorism abroad and suppressing dissidents at home. The Iranians are not being asked, as part of the negotiations, to curtail their sponsorship of Hizbollah or terrorist groups operating in the Gaza Strip; to scale back their support for the Assad regime in Syria; to stop destabilizing Yemen through their support for the Houthis.

No demand has been made of them to release any of the American citizens in their country’s prisons, such as Jason Rezaian, a Washington Post correspondent; nor have they been asked to end the six years of house arrest imposed on the leaders of the 2009 Green Movement, such as Mir-Hossein Mousavi.

Some have likened the U.S.’s approach to Iran to the Cold War era, when America pursued nuclear arms control with the Soviet Union at a time when it was imprisoning dissidents at home and undermining Western-backed governments abroad. No linkage was made between the nuclear arms talks and the bad things the Soviets were doing, because the nuclear issue was prioritized.

Similarly, nothing the mullah regime in Iran does – no matter how bad – is perceived to be as important as preventing it from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Any attempt to reach a broader deal with the Iranian regime – to change its policies at home or abroad – would almost certainly fail, not least because its supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, has ruled out talking about anything else. The best strategy is to focus on the biggest threat – a nuclear- armed Iran.

The parallel drawn between present talks with Iran and the negotiations that went on in the 1970s and 1980s between the U.S. and the Soviets makes some sense. But this does not explain the U.S.’s failures on the nuclear front. The U.S. and other Western nations have caved in on a few basic principles that essentially pave the way for Iran to become a threshold nuclear state. It is imperative that they change tack before it is too late.

First, the U.S. must ensure that inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency are permitted to effectively monitor compliance with the agreement. That means IAEA inspectors must be given timely and effective access to any sites – including military sites – in Iran they need to visit in order to verify its compliance with the agreement. The inspectors must be able to take samples, to interview scientists and government officials, to inspect sites, and to review and copy documents as required for their investigation of Iran’s past and any ongoing nuclear weaponization activities. All this must be accomplished before any significant sanctions relief is permitted.

Second, the deal must establish strict limits on advanced centrifuge R&D, testing, and deployment – at least in the first 10 years. The goal must be to push back Iran’s deployment of advanced centrifuges as long as possible.

Third, sanctions relief must be linked to Iran’s implementation of its obligations. Sanctions must not be lifted before the IAEA confirms Iran has complied with the agreement’s requirements.

Finally, and most importantly, the U.S. must go on record, again, that it is committed to using all means necessary, including military force, to prevent Iran from producing enough fissile material to produce a nuclear weapon.

Just last week, Khamenei ruled out foreign inspections of the country’s military nuclear facilities. There is real danger that because the Obama administration is so intent on reaching an agreement, it will cave in to Khamenei’s dictates.

If the Iranians manage to build a nuclear weapon because the U.S. and other world powers rushed into signing a bad deal, Iran’s pernicious influence in the region and in the world will only grow. With nuclear weapons, the Iranian regime would likely feel free to act without fear of any consequences from the West.

The U.S. has decided to ignore Iran’s support for terrorism abroad and its suppression of political opposition at home, in an attempt to focus on the truly important issue of nuclear weapons control. That is a defendable position, but only on condition that the deal signed with Iran contains the requisite elements for preventing it from achieving nuclear capability."



TREADING ON ISRAEL'S SACROSANCT PRINCIPLES: Writing in Haaretz, Moshe Arens says that there are elements in Israeli society who are riding roughshod over our most sacred tenets.

"Sometimes your blood boils when you see someone trampling on a sacrosanct principle. This occurred last week when Yaron Mazuz called out to Arab Members of Knesset that 'we' were doing them a favor by issuing them Israeli identity cards and allowing them to sit in the Knesset. This outrageous statement was not made by somebody who had never gone to school and might be excused for having no understanding of the functioning of a democratic society. It was made by none other than the deputy minister of the interior, addressing the Knesset in the name of the Minister of Interior Silvan Shalom.

All of Israel’s citizens have the right to vote and to be elected to the Knesset regardless of gender, ethnic background, religion, and not least important, regardless of political opinion. If the deputy minister of interior does not know this or prefers to disregard it, he cannot continue to hold that office.

It was a bad week for sacrosanct principles. The attack carried out by a mob of over a hundred Druze, who ambushed an ambulance carrying wounded who had escaped the fighting in Syria to hospitals in Israel, was an abhorrent crime. No explanations regarding the presumed affiliation of the wounded, or the Druze belief in the transmigration of souls, can excuse this barbaric act. The victims of the attacks were injured, in need of medical attention, and were unarmed and defenseless.

One can understand the strong feeling of concern of Druze living on the Israeli side of the Golan Heights for their brothers and sisters in danger as a result of the fighting across the border in Syria. One can even understand their feelings of loyalty to Bashar Assad, the butcher of Damascus, who they believe will protect the Druze community in Syria. But one would have expected that the belief in the sanctity of human life would be part and parcel of their value system, a sacrosanct principle, especially after having grown up in Israel for the past 48 years. Something is amiss in their continued estrangement from Israeli society and its values, which has been ignored for too long by Druze religious leaders and by Israeli authorities.

So now we go back 10 years to the forcible eviction of Israeli citizens from their homes in Gush Katif in 2005. Evicting people from their illegally built homes is a painful process, which becomes unbearable if they have been living in those homes for many years. But the families of Gush Katif did not build their homes illegally. They were encouraged to settle there by the Israeli government and had been living there for more than 20 years. Their forcible eviction was a gross violation of their civil rights, it was a crime.

Although the decision to uproot them was taken by the government headed by Ariel Sharon, the ultimate responsibility for this crime rests with Israel’s High Court of Justice which gave its approval. It is supposed to be the last resort for those citizens seeking to prevent such a violation of their rights by the government. In this case, it failed miserably. Nothing can excuse it. Those who are charged with protecting our rights failed to do so and instead trampled on a sacrosanct principle they are charged with defending.

As our deputy minister of interior, Yaron Mazuz should have known that voting in elections is not a privilege which the government can award or deny to Israeli citizens. It is a basic inalienable right of every citizen and brooks no interference by the government or the Knesset. It is a sacrosanct principle.

And yet over 150,000 Israel citizens who happen to be abroad on Election Day are denied that right. Those who are travelling abroad after serving in the Israel Defense Forces, professors on sabbaticals, students who are studying abroad, tourists who happen to be overseas, Israelis working for Israeli companies abroad — they and many others have their basic civil rights violated by being denied the right to vote.

Democratic countries around the world have solved this problem, universally common in the age of globalization, by allowing for an absentee ballot. But not Israel. A sacrosanct principle, the right of citizens to vote, is being trampled. It is time for a change."




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