web analytics
March 6, 2015 / 15 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Israel’s Election: A Preliminary Analysis

Attention now turns to the question of how Netanyahu can put together a coalition that will hold 61 seats, a majority needed to form a government.
Haredi men cast their votes for the 19th Knesset in Bnei Brak, January 22 2013.

Haredi men cast their votes for the 19th Knesset in Bnei Brak.
Photo Credit: Yaakov Naumi/Flash9

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

As expected, Israel has once again made Benjamin Netanyahu its prime minister. The results were not as positive for him as they might have been but are good enough to reelect him.

While some might find this paradoxical, the results show that Israelis have a basic consensus and yet have very different ways of expressing their political positions. This isn’t surprising given the fact that 32 parties were on the ballot.

First, though, a myth that has at times become a propaganda campaign should be exposed. There were numerous reports in the Western media that the Israeli electorate was going far to the right, didn’t want peace, and that Israeli democracy was in jeopardy. None of this had any real basis in fact and the election results show these claims to be false.

The main story of the election was supposed to be the rise of the far right Ha-Bayit ha-Yahudi Party. In fact, though, it received only about 10 percent of the vote which is usual for that sector. In comparison, about one-third went to liberal or moderate left parties, and about one-quarter to centrist parties.

According to reports which are not final but are close to the ultimate result, Netanyahu’s Likud-Beitenu list received 31 of 120 seats. The Labor Party made some comeback with 15 but came in third. Labor’s hope that its showing would make Israel a mainly two-party system clearly failed.

The big winner was Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid with 19 that became the second largest party, while Tzipi Livni’s party, the Movement, obtained 6. The appeal of Lapid and Livni are precisely that nobody really knows what they stand for but it is certainly nothing to either extreme. Kadima received two and former army chief of staff Shaul Mufaz will be highly motivated to go into a coalition.

In other words, 26 seats went to vaguely reformist somewhat centrist or mildly liberal parties that don’t have any clear or strong stands except to promise better government.

On the right, Ha-Bayit ha-Yehudi, led by Naftali Bennett, got 12.

On the far left, Meretz obtained 6, better than it expected, while the Communists got 4, the Islamists 3, and the Arab nationalists 4. The last three parties depend mostly on Arab votes and it was a poor showing for that deeply divided sector.

Finally, in the Jewish religious sector, Shas, representing Mizrahi (Middle East-origin and especially Moroccan-origin) Jews received 12 and the Askenazic (European-origin Jews) Yahadut ha-Torah party received 7. While socially conservative, these parties do not have strong stances on issues other than gaining government support for their communities.

The bottom line is, then, that those mainstream forces that aren’t supporting Netanyahu hold 42 seats, more than he does alone. But their inability to unite and different orientations prevent these four parties from emerging as a bloc, that and the fact that they are competing over the same voter base.

Israeli politics cannot be understood by analogy with those of other countries. Neither class and economic nor even peace process issues are fundamental in Israeli politics. At present, the critical issue is who will or won’t form a coalition with Netanyahu’s party. Many voted for Lapid with the idea that he would go into a government with Netanyahu and be a moderate influence pushing for more attention to improving domestic infrastructure.

The idea of Netanyahu as a rightist is outdated. It is precisely because he moved Likud to the center–albeit with a significant right-wing faction remaining–is the secret of his success in gaining two consecutive election victories. The failure of the peace process, the second intifada, the rise of Islamism, and the Palestinian abandonment of negotiations with Israel all have made his broad analysis of the situation acceptable to most Israelis. His opponents focus mainly on stressing dovish credentials rather than offering specific alternatives.

Attention now turns to the question of how Netanyahu can put together a coalition that will hold 61 seats, a majority needed to form a government.

There are several possibilities. Netanyahu never wanted a right-wing government with Bennett. Even if he did, a combination with that party would only get him up to 43 and he would be hard-put to find partners who would join such a combination. Pulling in the two religious parties would only get him to 60 and he knows that this would both cause big international problems and create a situation in which he could be daily blackmailed by threats of his partners to walk out of the coalition.

About the Author: Professor Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. See the GLORIA/MERIA site at www.gloria-center.org.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Israel’s Election: A Preliminary Analysis”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
PA/PLO Chairman Mahmoud Abbas addresses Central Committee convention in Ramallah.
PA Deciding to End Security Cooperation with IDF
Latest Indepth Stories
Ron Prosor

Values at the very heart of the UN are threatened by extremist ideologies targeting our way of life

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Anti-Semitism today focuses on Israel and the quest to delegitimize it.

Ballots for elections "made in Samaria."

Any Jew who ties his fate to Israel should be able to vote in Israel’s elections-even before aliyah

A young Moshe Meir Weiss introduces his mother, Mrs. Agnes Weiss Goldman, to Rav Moshe in 1979.

There were no airs about him. Rav Moshe was affectionately known as the Gaon of Normalcy.

Israel’s full sovereignty over a united Jerusalem is the only path for true peace in the region.

Just like Moses and Aaron, Mordechai decides to ruin the party…

The president has made clear – I can’t state this more firmly – the policy is Iran will not get a nuclear weapon.

Obama has an apparent inability to understand Islam in particular and Mid-East culture in general

Pesach is a Torah-based holiday whose fundamental observances are rooted in Torah law; Purim is a rabbinic holiday whose laws and customs are grounded in the rabbinic tradition.

In honor of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s successful speech before Congress.

Mr. Spock conveys a message with painfully stark relevance to our world today, especially in the context of PM Netanyahu’s speech to Congress.

Obama created the “partisan politics” by asking Dem. party members to avoid Bibi and his address

Enough is enough. The Jewish community has a big tent, but the NIF should have no place in it.

I vote for the right and get left-wing policy. Every. Frigging. Time.

More Articles from Barry Rubin
Youssef Ziedan

The interviewer responds, “There was also Balfour.”

peace_clowns

If the Obama/Kerry peace deal does go through, what would the risks be?

Let me make it plain. There will be mass murder, even genocide in Syria.

A large number of pro-Obama and radical or even anti-Israel cadre are Jews.

Does anyone think the Palestinian Authority will resist daily attacks from Hamas and Fatah radicals?

Secret Service security arrangements were overruled.

The Obama Administration plan is very simple, assuming that everything goes smoothly–which of course it will not.

The less you know about Islam, the better. Ignorance is strength.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/rubin-reports/israels-election-a-preliminary-analysis/2013/01/23/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: