Daily TIP

The Daily TIP: Upcoming Vote Could Strengthen Hezbollah's Hold over Lebanon

Posted by Tip Staff - April 18, 2018

Upcoming Vote Could Strengthen Hezbollah's Hold over Lebanon
At Anti-Semitsm Debate MP Mann Says Using Zionism as an “Insult" is "Racist"
EU Passes Bill to Prevent Funding of Palestinian Anti-Israel Hate Education
Artifacts Confirming Jewish Historical Ties to Israel Discovered Along New Hiking Trail


Upcoming Vote Could Strengthen Hezbollah's Hold over Lebanon

The upcoming Lebanese elections scheduled for next month could lead to the formation of a "Hezbollah government," a political analyst told Agence France-Presse in a report published Wednesday.

The elections would be the first since 2009 and would be held according to Lebanon's new election law passed last year.

Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed terrorist group, ended a deadlock that allowed the election of pro-Hezbollah president Michel Aoun in October 2016. This enabled the formation of government, which passed the new election law.

The new law changes the method of voting, from voting for individual candidates to voting for lists of candidates. In addition, the new election scheme would replace a majoritarian system with a proportional one. The proportional apportionment of seats in parliament was a change insisted on by Hezbollah. It is believed that this will give Hezbollah an outright majority of seats in the next parliament.

There are 917 candidates running belonging to 77 lists across the country. Many lists are reaching out to others to form alliances after the election. Hezbollah, which is backed by Iran, and currently dominates the Lebanese government, has not announced alliances with any competing lists.

"From a western perspective, there is a concern that Hezbollah may sweep electoral seats and turn the balance in its favour," Imad Salame, a political science professor at the Lebanese American University, told AFP. This would make any government formed after the vote "a ‘Hezbollah’ government,” Salame said.



At Anti-Semitsm Debate MP Mann Says Using Zionism as an “Insult" is "Racist"

In a powerful speech during a debate about anti-Semitism in the British parliament on Tuesday, Labour MP John Mann said “Any Jewish person has the right to say…’I am a Zionist’ and I have no right to deny them that and those that do are racists.”

Mann observed that the word “Zionist” has become “a pejorative insult by the Labour Party” under leader Jeremey Corbyn, effectively denying Jews the right to their own homeland.

Mann said that explicit anti-Semitism was "constant", while there was a bigger group of "excusers" who said the issue was being used to challenge Corbyn’s leadership. He added: "Five years ago Jewish people would come up to me and they'd say we're concerned that there's a rise in anti-Semitism. I'm stopped in the street everywhere I go now by Jewish people saying to me, very discreetly, I am scared.”

Despite facing growing criticism over anti-Semitism claims within the Labour Party, Corbyn did not speak during the debate and instead walked out of the chamber.

The three-hour debate saw a string of Labour MPs stand up to condemn Corbyn's failure to tackle the problem.

Luciana Berger, a Jewish Labour MP, spoke of the abuse she had received at the hands of supporters of the party leader: “It is anti-Semitism of the worst kind; suggesting that I'm a traitor to our country.”

Ruth Smeeth, another Jewish Labour MP, broke down in tears after her colleague's speech. Smeeth also detailed the abuse she had received.



EU Passes Bill to Prevent Funding of Palestinian Anti-Israel Hate Education

The European Union's Parliament passed legislation to bar EU aid from being used to fund anti-Israel hate education in Palestinian schools, The Jerusalem Post reported Wednesday.

The Parliament's Committee on Budgetary Control introduced legislation in March to ensure that all initiatives supported by EU funds "reflect common values such as freedom, tolerance, and nondiscrimination within education.”

Funds transferred to the Palestinian Authority through the EU's PEGASE mechanism will be subject to this legislation. Since it was created in 2008, PEGASE has been the primary source of EU financial support for the PA. During that time, approximately 3 billion euros ($3.7 billion) of aid has been used to support the PA's Reform and Development plan, which covers both social development and education.

Monitoring Peace and Cultural Tolerance in School Education (IMPACT-se), a Jerusalem-based organization that seeks to fight extremism through education, assisted the EU's Parliament in drafting the legislation.

“It is bizarre that for over ten years, The PEGASE fund has transferred around €3 billion to PA, a significant amount of which goes to the Palestinian education sector,” IMPACT-se CEO Marcus Sheff said. “In all that time, there have been no real attempts by the European Commission to ensure that Palestinian children receive an education based on European values.”

Last year, IMPACT-se reported that PA textbooks had become "more radical," despite assurances from the PA Ministry of Education that they hadn't. Sheff observed, "There is clear evidence of a strategy of radicalization of young Palestinians, devised and implemented by the ministry.”



Artifacts Confirming Jewish Historical Ties to Israel Discovered along New Hiking Trail

When students and volunteers began their work on Israel’s first interactive hiking path, a 70-kilometer (43-mile) historic stretch of land dubbed the Sanhedrin Trail, they didn’t expect to find physical pieces of the country’s history.

During preparations for the trail, set to open in honor of Israel’s 70th Independence Day celebrations, the students’ excavation work uncovered ornamental items dating back 1,800 years.

The findings include an ancient oil lamp engraved with an eight-branched menorah, a rare gold coin inscribed with the name of Suleiman the Magnificent, and evidence of the glass industry mentioned in rabbinical texts.

“Unlike the modern day symbol of the state in which the Temple’s menorah is depicted with seven branches and a single broad base, the menorah engraved on the ancient lamp has eight branches and a three-legged base,” explained Einat Ambar-Armon, an archaeologist with the Israel Antiquities Authority and an expert on ancient clay lamps.

“The discovery of a lamp decorated with a menorah, a symbol of the Jewish people, is without doubt exciting, especially at a site with such a unique heritage in part of the Sanhedrin Trail.”

The trail will bring hikers back in history to the Second Temple period more than 2,000 years ago, when the Great Sanhedrin — the supreme Jewish authority of sages – was active in this region.

Hikers will have access to an innovative augmented reality-based smartphone application that will virtually reconstruct heritage sites, integrate virtual guides for children along the route.

(via Israel21c)


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