1. Which Middle Eastern nation's historic election last week heralded political change, but was marred by allegations of bias and vote rigging?
Answer: B. Jordanians went to the polls on January 25 and elected opposition candidates in 25% of parliamentary slots. Voter turnout was low, however, following a recent law that suppressed voter clout in the big cities, giving tribal-dominated rural areas more power. The Muslim Brotherhood, Jordan's largest opposition party, boycotted the elections entirely, and later claimed there had been voter fraud. Nevertheless, the vote was historic: for the first time, King Abdullah will consult Parliament when he chooses Jordan's next Prime Minister.
2. Israel's national elections on January 22 brought a change in the political landscape, with the emergence of several vivid new political parties. How many of Israel's lawmakers will be women and minorities?
- The incoming Knesset will have the lowest number of women and minorities in years.
- The incoming Knesset will have the highest number of women and minorities in years.
- Half will be women and minorities.
- None will be women and minorities.
Answer: B. The 2013 Knesset will have 26 women. Three parties are headed by women, and the big surprise in the election – the newly formed Yesh Atid party – fielded a candidate list that was 40% female. One Yesh Atid representative, Karin Elharrar, is disabled and uses a wheelchair. Penina Tamono-Shata, a lawyer and reporter whose family immigrated to Israel when she was three, will become the first Ethiopian woman to serve in the Knesset. Orthodox Jewish legislators will account for nearly third of the new MKs – including Aish.com author Dov Lipman. 30 MKs will be of Sephardi, or Middle Eastern, descent. There will be one Druze MK, Hamed Amer of the center-right Yisrael Bateinu.
3. Which Middle Eastern nation saw violent protests in several cities as citizens debated their nation's future?
- Saudi Arabia
Answer: A. January 25 saw clashes throughout Egypt as people took to the streets to mark the second anniversary of the ousting of former leader Hosni Mubarak. Over 250 people were injured across the country, and at least nine people were killed in Tahrir Square, the Cairo site where the uprising first took place. Rioting continued on January 26 in the coastal city of Port Said, claiming 32 lives by nightfall.
4. Jordan made an international appeal on January 25
- requesting help monitoring local elections.
- requesting help in drafting a new constitution
- due to concerns about tensions on its border with Israel.
- appealing for aid as Syrian refugees streamed over its borders.
Answer: D. Over 6,000 Syrian refugees fled into Jordan on January 24 alone, as fighting in southern Syria intensified. They joined relatives in Jordan's Zatari refugee camp, which was opened in July and already is home to 65,000 people. Over 300,000 Syrians have entered Jordan since fighting began there; it is estimated that nearly 700,000 Syrians have left the country overall.
5. Following Israel's election, one prominent British Member of Parliament excoriated Israel, comparing its treatment of Palestinians to the Holocaust. Did Arabs play any part in Israel's recent election, such as voting, or running for office?
- They can vote, but not stand for election.
- Anyone can run for office Israel, but they must sign a loyalty pledge first.
- Israel offers complete, unfettered access to its vibrant democracy to all citizens, regardless of race, origin, ideology or creed.
Answer: D. Three Arab-Israeli parties are represented in the incoming Knesset. The 2013 elections saw thousands of Jewish Israelis voting for Arab-led parties, as well as about 20% of Israeli Arabs who typically vote for Jewish-led parties. Israel's Knesset is even home to some politicians who hold extremely anti-Zionist views: Hanin Zoabi, an Israeli Arab woman who has served as an MK since 2009, participated in the violent Gaza flotilla of 2010. When some Israelis called for her ouster from the Knesset; Israel's Supreme Court ruled in her favor.
6. What Middle East country saw the stirrings of protest last week, as citizens took to Twitter to ridicule a state police force?
- Saudi Arabia
- United Arab Emirates
Answer: A. Saudis are used to fearing the 5,000 agents of the “Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice,” who are charged with making sure women are covered from head to toe and don't appear in public without a male escort, sniffing out illicit alcohol, enforcing prayer, and other tasks. They are so zealous that Saudis routinely die in the committee's prisons. Yet last week saw the beginnings of revolt: after shutting down a children's exhibit about dinosaurs, Saudis across the country Tweeted comments ridiculing the committee's zeal.
7. When Israelis went to the polls on January 22 to choose a new government, the result was:
- The country lurched to the right, fueled by fears of Iran's nuclear program.
- After enduring thousands of missiles launched from Gaza last year, Israelis voted in a new, right-wing government.
- The big surprise was Israel's shift to dead center, with some left-of-center parties doing particularly well.
- Nothing; Israelis returned the same politicians to power once again.
Answer: C. Israelis voted in a whopping 50 new members to the Knesset. One surprise in last week's election was the success of the new centrist party Yesh Atid, which ran largely on left-of-center social issues, and got the second highest number of votes. It will likely be included in Israel's next governing coalition, where it plans to push for programs that benefit Israel's middle class.
8. What was Malaysia's response to Israel's elections on January 22?
- Prime Minister Najib Razak flew to Gaza to show solidarity with Hamas leaders.
- Prime Minister Najib Razak flew to Jerusalem to show solidarity with Benjamin Netanyahu.
- Prime Minister Najib Razak flew to Tel Aviv to show solidarity with Israeli politician Tzippi Livni.
- Prime Minister Najib Razak flew to Haifa, to show solidarity with Israeli Arabs voting in the elections.
Answer: A. Najib Razak flew to Gaza to meet with Hamas leader Ismail Haniyah, who has overseen the launching of thousands of rockets into Israel since Israel's unilateral withdrawal from Gaza eight years ago. Despite the fact that his brother was treated for a life-saving heart condition in an Israeli hospital last year, Haniyah continues to call for the destruction of the Jewish state.