On one hand, a large, strong Likud will have excellent Likud MKs in the government, but on the other hand, Netanyahu will be able to ignore and exclude their traditional (and our preferred) partners in favor of Netanyahu’s personal preferences.
So is this enough of a reason to not vote Likud-Beytenu?
I would say it’s a serious consideration, except there is one additional threat to consider.
As we’ve discussed on these pages before, if Labor-Atid-Kadima-Movement as a bloc receives more seats than the Likud, we could very well end up seeing a Labor-Yachimovitch led government. The government would quickly turn strongly left, and that’s not something we can afford to let happen.
There’s no doubt that Bennett is a rising star, and if he proves himself, he could be qualified to be Prime Minister a few elections down the road. His list is also a good list.
Unlike the old Mafdal, HaBayit HaYehudi is a now a young, dynamic and exciting party, one that we found shares the views, ideologies, and pragmatism of much of the staff.
It’s an easy vote, I’d even say a natural vote. If Ben-Ari and Aryeh Eldad had been in there, I’d even say there would no question at all as to who to vote for.
Certainly, knowing that Yair Lapid is going to be sitting in the coalition, it demands that we vote for a counter-balancing party, a pro-Judaism, pro-Land of Israel party that will offset them.
A strong and large Bayit Yehudi will have more influence, and help keep Netanyahu on the right path as Lapid tries to pull him left. The larger and the stronger Bennett is, the more he’ll be able to do that. This is the role that Liberman had in the last government.
But what are the risks and downsides?
The first is that Netanyahu might simply exclude HaBayit HaYehudi from the coalition, in which case, you could have voted for Otzma L’Yisrael, which acknowledges from the start that they won’t be in the government.
The second is the risk that the Leftwing bloc will be larger than the Likud, in which case the Likud and HaBayit HaYehudi could both find themselves outside the government.
But can or should we make voting decisions based on hypothetical coalition configurations with so many unknowns, when we do know that in terms of representing our will inside the government, HaBayit HaYehudi would do that well?
And that leads us to Aryeh Eldad and Michael Ben-Ari. Otzma L’Yisrael, like HaBayit HaYehudi also stands for the pro-Jewish and pro-Land of Israel views that we like.
They are saying from the outset that they plan to sit outside the government where they won’t need to compromise their values. The problem with that is while you’ll stay clean if you don’t play, but you also aren’t in the game either.
Otzma L’Yisrael sees itself as the conscience of coalition, pointing out the truth when the government will stray off the path. As an added bonus, they’ll also offset Meretz and the Arab parties.
Not sitting in the coalition doesn’t mean being completely without power or influence.
In the last government, Ichud Leumi chaired some important committees, one of which resulted in a first break in the monolithic ideology of the Supreme Court. It was also they who brought the issue of the illegal infiltrators into the public eye.
A vote for Otzma L’Yisrael is a vote you can give with a clear conscience. You know what you’re getting in advance – you don’t need to compromise, and you’ll definitely get a very vocal voice in the Knesset.
But that comes with the price of significantly reduced direct influence.
The other risk is that they might not pass the minimum threshold required to get in. The polls have them on the fence, but because of the way polls are run in Israel, they are probably doing better than is being predicted. But this is still a very real concern.