Israel Elections Updates / Efforts for United Arab Knesset List Gain Momentum

84 days to go: Netanyahu: Israel expects Palestinain UN bid to be rejected; Livni says Western Wall will stay under Israeli sovereignty.

Tali Meyer

Haaretz's latest political analyses and opinions: Does Eli Yishai's party have a chance? (Yair Ettinger) | Cussing their way to the Knesset: Israeli politicians’ juiciest insults of the week (Asher Schechter) | The right's new tactic for the country's Arabs - unify and conquer (Oudeh Basharat)

Latest updates:

1:30 P.M. MK Mofaz: Netanyahu capitulated to terrorism like no other prime minister (Haaretz)

7:45 A.M. Livni: Western Wall will stay under Israeli sovereignty forever

Hatnuah chairwoman Tzipi Livni said on Sunday that the Western Wall will always remain under Israeli sovereignty, as she participated in the lighting of Hanukkah lights at the site with Labor Party head Isaac Herzog.

“Israeli sovereignty here [...] is the expression of the historic link between a people and its land” Livni said during the ceremony. “This holy place, this historical place, this place to which we are connected through the depths of our soul, will remain under Israeli sovereignty forever.”

Livni’s words were not coincidental, but an apparent effort to block efforts by the right wing to claim the Western Wall and its attendant emotions for one side of the political map.

“Every time I’m at the Kotel,” said Livni, “I see before my eyes the paratroopers who cried then, during the liberation of Jerusalem, their tears of excitement, of returning home. [...] Joy and excitement covered us all, like a prayer shawl of happiness that enfolded every Jew in Israel and throughout the world.” Read full story

6:01 A.M. Efforts for united Arab Knesset list gain momentum, but agreement remains elusive

Attempts to put together a united Arab list to run for the next Knesset are gaining momentum, though those involved say an agreement is still a ways off.

The past few days have seen talks among the factions, including between Balad and Hadash, whose leaders had been avoiding each other.

Over the weekend members of Hadash and the United Arab List, particularly representatives of the Islamic Movement’s southern wing, tried to bridge some of the ideological disagreements between them.

“If you define conversations in a good atmosphere as progress, then yes, there was a good atmosphere,” a negotiator for one of the Arab parties said. (Jack Khoury) Read full story

5:14 A.M. Netanyahu: Israel expects Palestinain UN bid to be rejected

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu continued to take a tough stance against the Palestinian Authority’s moves in the United Nations.

“It’s possible that very shortly the Palestinians will submit to a UN Security Council vote their proposal to unilaterally impose the establishment of a Palestinian state on Israel, and other conditions that are not acceptable to us,” said Netanyahu. (Jonathan Lis)

“We expect responsible parties in the international community to reject this proposal, but in any event we will oppose it with full force, and of course we won’t answer any dictates.”

5:00 A.M. Knesset speaker takes credit for Zoabi suspension

The Likud’s Hanukkah celebration, planned before the announcement of elections, turned into a hotbed of central committee activity. After Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein and Minister Yuval Steinitz lit candles together, Edelstein went on the offensive, taking credit for the suspension of Balad MK Haneen Zoabi.

“When Zoabi made a statement that was insufferable, I took a very exceptional and rare step for an MK,” he said, “and I turned to the ethics committee, which barred her from participating in plenum discussions for the maximal amount of time, six months.” (Jonathan Lis)