October 16, 2012-Deri Returning to Politics, Jews Probably the Minority Between the Mediterranean and the Jordan Marc Schulman

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Israel Update
A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman

October 16, 2012-Deri Returning to Politics, Jews Probably the Minority Between the Mediterranean and the Jordan

Today, as Israel’s parliament voted to disband and call for new elections, the big political news was the impending return of Aryeh Deri to the Israeli political scene, as the new head of the Shas party. Deri, who was convicted of bribery and fraud, served two years in jail. He also completed the mandatory 7-year cooling off period. The fact that someone who was convicted of bribery and fraud can now head a major religious party says something about the sad state of both Israeli politics and Orthodox Jewry in Israel. I will spare my readers a tirade regarding the thought of Ehud Olmert returning, or Avigdor Lieberman remaining in politics. (Lieberman has not yet been indicted).

As I write this piece, the news is breaking that the prosecutors plan to appeal both Ehud Olmert's ridiculously light sentence and his acquittal on a number of accounts.

There was one singularly troubling statistic discussed today in parts of the Israeli media- The fact there are now 12 million people living between the Mediterranean and the Jordan Rivers; Of that number 5.9 million are Jews (1.7 million live in the Gaza strip). Somehow my friends on the right seem to be ignoring this problem and assuming it will just go away. 

The situation with Egypt gets ever more complicated. On one hand, the head of the Muslim Brotherhood gave a virulently anti-Israel speech on Thursday night, at the same time President Morsi was trying to use the idea of total sovereignty over the Sinai as a popular rallying cry- and a way of uniting the country and the army. On the other hand, members of the opposition in Egypt with whom I have been in touch seem to be despairing more deeply about the future of the country under the Muslim Brotherhood. Prime Minister Netanyahu was correct to point out today that changing the peace agreement is a dangerous precedent and will make reaching further agreements that much more difficult. However, my concern is that there is no sign of any serious public discussion here on the impact of events in the Arab world on our future.

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