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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Israeli Elections, A Choice Hopefully

Jerusalem Post

First of all, I need to remind you that the Israeli Electoral and Government systems are very different from most anyplace else.

  • Israeli voters vote for political parties, and according to their lists of candidates and the mathematical proportion of votes, the Knesset Members are decided.
  • A ruling government must have at least 61 of the 120 Knesset Members.
  • The strongest, which doesn't mean the largest, party makes up/negotiates the coalition with other parties. 
  • The leader of that strongest party becomes the Prime Minister.
The illustration up here is from the Jerusalem Post, and in the center is Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. He has crafted/negotiated ruling coalitions three times already. One of those times his Likud party had won fewer seats than Tsipi Livni's Kadima. 

Livni is that lady on the left of the picture, and although she began her political career in the Likud, she has been going Left and left the Likud for Kadima, deserted Kadima for her "Movement," which she left high and dry for Leftist Isaac Herzog's Labor. There aren't too many parties left who would take her; I guess you can call her the political nymphomaniac. Political loyalty isn't her strong point.

I'd say IMHO that any Leftist with half a brain would reject Labor because of Livni's presence. Maybe that's why their primaries resulted in such a far Left list.

Between Herzog and Bibi, they placed Yair Lapid, who was the "golden boy" of the previous elections, barely two years ago. He benefited from two things then. One was the Israeli phenomenon, which I also see in our local Shiloh elections. The least known candidate gets a disproportionately high amount of votes. Israeli political history is full of these parties that frequently went from lots of seats to the footnotes of history books. Now that his voters have seen how little he accomplished, other than complaining, he'll get fewer seats than before. And don't forget that two years ago Naftali Bennett, also new to Knesset, inexplicably chained his coalition negotiations to that of Lapid, which pushed Lapid into a higher position than he deserved or was competent to do. I'm not quite sure what distinguishes Lapid's platform from Labor.

Next is Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu of Likud. He consistently gives the impression he's on the Right but then saddles us with Leftist policy decisions. He is the canniest and most experienced politician in Israel right now, and all the polls show that regardless of which party people plan on voting for, he's the one they want as Prime Minister.

Next to him is Moshe Kahlon, who will benefit from the "new guy" fewer enemies phenomena. He'll get votes just because he hasn't had time or opportunity to make mistakes and enemies.

To the right and Right of Kahlon and most everyone else in the photo montage is Naftali Bennett who has been remaking the staid old National Religious Party, NRP, into his image, Bayit Yehudi, Jewish Home. Even though it's called the "Jewish" Home, there are members who aren't Jewish, besides sitting MKs who aren't religious. Bennett is showing us that Moshe Feiglin was wrong to work with the Likud. By opening up the NRP, Bennett has turned it into what the Likud could have become, but won't. The results of their (NRP) primaries have not yet been published/fully calculated. I'm curious to see what happened.

Rounding out the illustrative photo is Avigdor Lieberman,who I consider rather irrelevant or passe, between his ideological zigzagging and legal problems. 

Yes, there will be other parties to vote for, and I still don't know which party I will support. It may even be a party I didn't write about. Elections will be in two months. Considering that this is Israel, and our enemies never sleep, much can and undoubtedly will happen between then and now. 

May G-d give us all wisdom to choose well on Election Day. And even more important, may G-d gift our leaders with the wisdom needed to lead this precious country, the State of Israel!

4 comments:

Devash said...

May it collapse completely, never to rise again, and be replaced immediately, in our days, with the restored Kingdom of David.

Yonathan Gormezano said...

Bs"D
It is important to support Otzma Yehudit (Michael Ben Ari's party). It is the only party that is pro-Torah and pro-Eretz Israel, that will not capitulate under political pressure and will fight any expulsion of Jews like a lion. The distinction between the Jewish Home and Otzma Yehudit is the same as the distinction between the Yesha Council in Kfar Maimon and the boys in the Katif seaside hotel during the expulsion from Gush Katif.

This was ten years ago, but unfortunately further expulsions are being planned, and we need people who will not capitulate.

If we vote for Otzma without fear and publicise our voting intentions, it will encourage others and Otzma will be elected, because their message resonates true among a significant sector of the population.

It would be good if Eli Ishai agrees to join forces with Otzma at least as a technical block (at the moment Eli Ishai's people are the ones obstructing this), but even without this, every person who votes for Otzma and publicly supports them will help them to get in.

Batya Medad said...

Yonathan, I don't see them campaigning at all. They should broaden their platform, because the narrow one issue platform is passe. They are not reaching out in the necessary way.
Politics is a multi-faceted skill, and they are failing before they start.

Yonathan Gormezano said...

To answer your questions:
1. "I don't see them campaigning at all"...Most media outlets purposely ignore them; this includes the national-religious press which, like in the previous elections, is totally committed to the Jewish Home. Otzma supporters can be seen several times a week at major junctions in the Central area (e.g. Geha Junction on Highway 4). They have no campaign budget allocations from the state, nor (thankfully) do they have a rich patron who will afterwards ask them to return favours. The media manipulates people's opinions by constantly promoting worthless people like Yair Lapid and ignoring whom they don't like.

2. "They should broaden their platform"...They are campaigning on issues which are crucial to Israel's survival as a sovereign Jewish state. Other important issues are taken care by the other parties, which have a broad support base and will certainly show-up well in the elections. Besides which, in the 18th Knesset, Ben Ari was very active in committees relating to social issues.