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Today is election day in Israel, and socioeconomic issues have taken a central role in the campaign, challenging the long-held notion that Israel would always vote based on security issues first, BuzzFeed News Middle East correspondent Sheera Frenkel reports from Tel Aviv. This does not bode well for current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has touted national security as the core of his platform.
Netanyahu, who is of the conservative Likud Party, faces competition from Isaac Herzog, leader of the Labor Party, who has been able to cobble together a formidable opposition Zionist Union coalition. In Israel's parliamentary system, a politician becomes prime minister by putting together a coalition of parties who give an endorsement for that person to become party leader.
If Netanyahu becomes prime minister following today's vote, and serves for at least three years, he will hold the title of Israel's longest-serving prime minister.
And a little extra. Netanyahu reverses policy on Palestinian statehood. In a reversal from a previously stated stance, Netanyahu said in a video interview released Monday that he would not establish a separate Palestinian state if he wins the election, the New York Times reports. Palestinian officials consider the reversal a validation of something they have believed for a long time: that he has worked to undermine the two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Others saw it as a last-ditch election ploy to win right-wing voters.
This is what life in Syria is like after four years of war. As the country's brutal civil war enters its fifth year, more than half of the population have fled their homes and life expectancy has fallen by 20 years. BuzzFeed News' Shyamantha Asokan spoke to three Syrians about what everyday life is like in such a hellish situation. They described an amazing resilience, and even snatches of happiness.
U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron sat down for an interview with BuzzFeed News UK yesterday. Here are some of the highlights:
Cameron spoke out strongly in favor of trans and LGBT rights: "It's only when a society says marriage is there for everyone – whether you're straight or gay and it's a great institution … you end this idea that it's somehow fair to criticize people or do down people because of their sexuality."
He called the British schoolgirls who joined ISIS "deeply misguided," adding, "We want to get them back and get this radical nonsense out of their heads."
Asked whether he ever checked his Twitter mentions, which often involve abusive comments, he said: "I have a little bit, yes. Well, you've got to take the rough with the smooth in this job."
- Cameron maintains he would stay on as a member of parliament if he lost the upcoming national elections, set for May 7.
WE'RE KEEPING AN EYE ON
Nigeria says it has taken back key cities from Boko Haram. Nigeria's army says it has retaken the northeastern state of Yobe, one of the last strongholds of Boko Haram. It has also reclaimed the town of Bama, Deutsche Welle reports. The violence in Nigeria has killed more than 13,000 people since 2009 and has displaced 1.5 million. Earlier this month, the group swore allegiance to Islamic State militants.
What's next? Nigeria's elections were postponed in February to March 28, citing security concerns for voters due to Boko Haram. Current President Goodluck Jonathan of the People's Democratic Party will face former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari, who's seen as tough on security.
DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THIS?
Inside the lives of the wives and widows of ISIS. "Even my baby girl goes to bed with her gun." Arranged marriages, slave maids, and militant babies: Photos posted to the Twitter accounts of women claiming to be members of ISIS provide a glimpse into the world of female jihadis. Six months after its initial investigation, BuzzFeed News takes another look at the women who travel to Syria and join ISIS.
Ferguson just ousted a bunch of officials, so why are people still protesting? BuzzFeed News' Jim Dalrymple II spoke with protesters about what they still hope to accomplish, and why they keep coming out. Their answers were diverse — the protests are a collection of individuals, not a unified organization with a single agenda — but they all agreed that the protests will continue and there is more they want to accomplish.
Vice President Joe Biden announces $41 million in federal funding to end rape kit backlog — an estimated 400,000 untested rape kits are sitting in crime labs around the country. A rape kit, which is part of evidence collected after a sexual assault, are available to all rape survivors in the U.S. for free and are the best chance to convict rapists. However, testing one rape kit costs between $500 and $1,500, so police departments don't test every rape kit that comes in.
7 painful facts about working in fast food. The findings, including that managers have instructed burn victims to treat their wounds with condiments, came from a survey produced for the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health and reveals just how hazardous it can be to work in a fast food restaurant. It's led to 28 complaints being filed against McDonald's.
San Francisco 49ers linebacker retires at 24 due to his concern over brain trauma. Chris Borland, one of the NFL's top rookies this past season, has decided to retire from football because he's concerned about the effects of head trauma. "From what I've researched and what I've experienced, I don't think it's worth the risk," Borland told ESPN.
Apple will open its iPhone trade-in program to Android and BlackBerry. Sources familiar with Apple's plans told BuzzFeed News that the company plans to expand its iPhone "Reuse and Recycling Program" to include non-iOS phones. Soon you'll be able to trade in your old Android or BlackBerry for credit toward a new iPhone.
Firefox and Chrome users are better employees. Data scientists have found that people who use browsers like Firefox and Chrome that aren't the default options on computers tend to stay at their jobs about 15% longer than those who use default browser options like Safari and Internet Explorer, The Atlantic's Joe Pinsker writes. They were also found to be better at their jobs. Clearly, Internet Explorer is for the rebels.
A public service announcement on this St. Patrick's Day for those who like to dye everything green. Peanut butter doesn't deserve this kind of disrespect. Happy St. Patrick's Day!