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Sat. March 28, 2015 EDITOR'S PICKS :  
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Lead Story in Context
Issue: Israel's Jewish Identity. What Does it Mean?
MidEast Week
PA: Made "Generous" Offer; Israel: "Bring it to the Table"
Israeli and Palestinian Women Wage Peace
Israel's Arab Parties United For Election
More Arabs Join Israel's National Service
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Gaza Reconstruction Has Barely Begun
Palestinians Hope for Upset in Israeli Elections
Netanyahu's Planned Speech to Congress Sparks Controversy
Egypt Intensifies Crackdown on Islamists
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Israel Goes to the Polls

Israelis are voting to elect a new Prime Minister and parliament. Polls show that current leader Benjamin Netanyahu is set to win a third term of office. Netanyahu, however, will not have enough seats in the 120-seat parliament on his own and will have to form a coalition either with hard line and ultra-Orthodox parties or with centrist parties. Some 5.66 million Israelis are eligible to vote, and turnout is expected to be around 70 percent. “We want Israel to succeed, we vote Likud –Beytenu,” Netanyahu said after voting along with his wife and two sons. “The bigger it is, the more Israel will succeed.” Likud-Beytenu, which ran as two separate parties in the last election, is expected to win about 32 seats, followed by the center-left Labor party with about 17 seats. Netanyahu has repeatedly said that his main priority is to stop Iran’s nuclear program.


Algeria Vows to Fight Al-Qa’ida after Raid on Gas Plant

Algeria’s Prime Minister said a Canadian citizen was responsible for the attack on a gas plant deep in the Sahara desert. He also defended Algeria’s decision to storm the complex where 38 foreign hostages were killed. Abdelmakel Sellal told a news conference that a Canadian citizen named as Chedad, a common surname among Arabs in the region, was among 29 gunmen killed. Another three militants were alive and taken into custody. He also vowed that Algeria will never succumb to terrorism.

Bahrain’s King Invites Opposition to Talks

Bahrain’s King Hamas bin Issa al-Khalifa invited opposition parties to restart talks as unrest grows in this small pro-Western Gulf nation. Bahrain, which is also home to US Fifth Fleet, has seen growing protests by its Shi’ite majority demanding democratic change. The King is a Sunni Muslim, and has resisted moves toward more democracy. Human rights groups have accused the government of trying to crush dissent and target opposition leaders.

Palestinian leader Asks Arab States to Pay Up

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, who is visiting Riyadh, called on Arab states to pay their pledges to implement a strategic plan to support Jerusalem. “We began to embody the decision on the ground, and we’re seeking at the same time to find an approach to end the current conflict,” Abbas said. “If the Israeli government chooses to keep expanding “settlements” we will start using all possible ways including going to international organizations.” Following the November decision by the United Nations to recognize “Palestine” as a non-member observer state, Israel announced the construction of thousands of homes in land Israel acquired in 1967 and annexed to Jerusalem. Israel says a united Jerusalem will remain part of Israel, Palestinians say east Jerusalem must be the capital of a future Palestinian state.

Abbas Claims Zionism Connected to Nazis

Speaking in a lengthy interview with Al-Mayadeen, a Beirut-based TV station that is affiliated with Iran and Hizballah, Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas reportedly said the Zionist movement had links with the Nazis before World War II. Asked about allegations that he denied the Holocaust Abbas said that he had “70 more books that I still haven’t published” about links between the Zionist movement and the Nazis. “I challenge anyone to deny the relationship between Zionims and Nazism before World War II.” Abbas’s spokesman denied the reported comments and said Abbas remains committed to the peace process with Israel.

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