web analytics
July 23, 2014 / 25 Tammuz, 5774
Israel at War: Operation Protective Edge
 
 
At a Glance
Special Features
Sponsored Post
IDC Advocacy Room IDC Fights War on Another Front

Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.



Likud Beitenu’s Political Juggernaut

TEL AVIV – Political pundits have long debated who is the real Benjamin Netanyahu. Is he a pragmatist handcuffed by his right-wing support base and fealty to his late father’s nationalist vision? Is he a true right-wing ideologue whose apparent concessions to Israeli-Palestinian peace are but feints?

Or is he merely a political survivor willing to do whatever it takes to stay in office, ideology be damned?

Last week’s surprise announcement that Netanyahu’s Likud Party and Avigdor Lieberman’s nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu party would merge their candidate slates in the upcoming election – but not merge their parties – offers some signs that the smart money is on the right-wingers.

The move deals a potential knockout blow to Netanyahu’s left-wing rivals and makes a third term for Netanyahu more likely than ever. Some polls show the two parties losing seats as a result of the deal, but even low estimates predict them to be the Knesset’s largest list.

Lieberman’s nationalist agenda also will likely gain further traction in the next government. That agenda has included legislation requiring loyalty oaths for new non-Jewish Israeli citizens and a ban on settlement boycotts – moves that many Israeli and American Jewish critics have slammed as undemocratic.

“The real government reform starts now,” Lieberman said at a news conference Thursday night. “We advance to finish the work.”

Critics worry that with the merger, Netanyahu has unambiguously embraced Lieberman’s hard-line domestic platform.

“The prime minister is essentially signaling that he has chosen the extremist, pro-settlement right, that he has chosen to walk in place, not to make progress in the diplomatic process,” Zehava Gal-On, head of the left-wing Meretz party, told Israel’s Army Radio, according to Reuters.

Not that the Orthodox parties will be happy with the deal.

Lieberman, a secular immigrant from the former Soviet republic of Moldova, is one of Israel’s most prominent anti-haredi politicians. He wants Israel to allow civil marriage in addition to religious marriage, and he has railed against government privileges granted to haredim. The current coalition’s tensest moments came this past summer when Lieberman and the haredi parties battled over whether to require army service for haredi youths who had previously received exemptions to study Torah.

In that battle, Netanyahu sided with the haredim, breaking up the committee assigned to draft a new military service law.

The merger represents a real triumph for Lieberman. He founded Yisrael Beiteinu in 1999 as a right-wing party for Russian constituents, then quickly broadened its appeal. In 2009, when Israel last held elections, Yisrael Beiteinu won 15 of the Knesset’s 120 seats, becoming the nation’s third-largest party. Lieberman was awarded the coveted post of foreign minister, which he will retain should the joint list lead the next government.

In the elections scheduled for Jan. 22, Netanyahu’s party was previously expected to win a plurality of votes, but there has been talk among Israel’s left and centrist parties of creating an alliance to challenge Likud. Since the elections were announced, rumors have swirled about former prime minister Ehud Olmert or former opposition leader Tzipi Livni, both of the centrist Kadima Party, returning to politics and uniting a joint center-left list.

HaLikud Beiteinu, however, is expected to win more votes than any center-left party. Polls before the merger showed Likud winning 29 seats and Yisrael Beiteinu winning close to its current 15 seats. One poll following the merger showed the new list winning 42 seats, while another put it at 35 – still much greater than the 23 predicted for the left-wing Labor Party.

Under the agreement, the parties will join for the election but remain independent after the vote. Lieberman will be No. 2 on the list, behind Netanyahu.

Some Likud politicians, led by Michael Eitan, opposed the move because of discomfort with Lieberman’s ideology as well as concern the party will lose seats in the election. But a Likud Central Committee vote approved the merger.

“The time has come to unite for the state of Israel,” Netanyahu said during the news conference announcing the merger. “We ask for a mandate to lead Israel with strength.”

He said the beefed-up party would allow him to more effectively combat Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons program, fight terrorism, and make domestic social and economic changes. Netanyahu said reducing the cost of living in Israel is one of his top priorities.

About the Author:


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 “Likud Beitenu’s Political Juggernaut”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Wounded Golani commander returns to his troops on July 22, 2014.
Golani Commander Proves Why the Unit is Known for Bravery
Latest Special-features Stories
Wounded Golani commander returns to his troops on July 22, 2014.

Golani brigade commander was hospitalized after being wounded, but he returned to the battlefield to complete the mission.

Haredi soldiers of the Neztah Yehuda Battalion fight for Israel while maintaining Torah study in the army,

We mourn the dead, wish a speedy recovery to the wounded, and pray that God guides the government.

Newly completed control tower at Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv. June 2, 2014

Israel’s transportation minister said cancelling flights to Israel is like handing a prize to terrorists.

Netanyahu tries to bring UN's Ban down form the moon in Tel Aviv Tuesday.

Ban ki-Moon and John Kerry might have some credibility if they would talk peace with terrorists in Syria.

“Like all mothers of soldiers, I pray that this ends peacefully, that all the boys come home safe-and-sound,” Ruthie says.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon said Tuesday that he respects the legitimacy of Israel’s right to defend itself, but also called on Israel to limit its reaction to ongoing Hamas rocket fire at Israeli civilians. According to a report on the Hebrew-language Ynet website, Mr Ban also said his organization rejected the terror gang’s […]

Left-wing Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said Tuesday that no ceasefire is imminent between Israel and Hamas, and added that the current military operation in the Gaza Strip was “unavoidable.” Speaking to Army Radio, Livni said there is no substance to Palestinian reports earlier in the day that Israel and the terrorists were considering an additional […]

Six IDF soldiers wounded in Gaza have showed significant improvement at Soroka Hospital in Beer Sheva, Israel Radio reported. Three soldiers have been downgraded from “serious” condition to “moderate,” and three additional soldiers are now listed as “lightly injured.” One hundred fourteen soldiers are currently hospitalised as the result of the fighting.

Leading US paper interviews Hamas leader, shocked to ‘discover’ interview takes place in civilian hospital.

PM meets wounded soldiers at Ashkelon hospital, tells foreign diplomats they have moral obligation to support Israel.

As of this writing, Code Red rocket alerts were sounded in the following locations Tuesday: 10:28 pm  Be’er Sheva Shoval, Rahat and surrounds 9:56 pm Be’er Sheva, Hatzerim, Tifrach, Meitar and surrounds 9:17 pm Lod, Yavneh, Kiryat Akron, Gedera, Ramle, Gan Yavneh, Kfar Bilu, Ashdod, Kiryat Malachi 9:00 pm  Bat Yam, Rishon L’Tsion, Rechovot, Modi’in, Macabim […]

Ashkelon Mayor Itamar Shimoni said Tuesday that the funeral of Jordan Ben-Simon, a lone IDF soldier killed in Gaza yesterday, would be limited to 300 attendees due to the threat of rocket attacks.  Following the outpouring of support for lone soldiers yesterday, when more than 20,000 people created a mass funeral for lone soldier Sean Carmeli, […]

Teenage member of MK Zoabi’s clan making name for self as pre-eminent Arab supporter of Israel.

Army finally forced to admit soldier is missing; efforts continue to identify seventh body from Sunday night attack.

Israel activists take the streets of New York on Sunday. For some reason, no rocks or Molotov cocktails were thrown at police.

Israel needs an ally in talks over a premature cease fire with Hamas terrorists intent on wiping out the Jewish State.

More Articles from Ben Sales and Uriel Heilman

TEL AVIV – Political pundits have long debated who is the real Benjamin Netanyahu. Is he a pragmatist handcuffed by his right-wing support base and fealty to his late father’s nationalist vision? Is he a true right-wing ideologue whose apparent concessions to Israeli-Palestinian peace are but feints?

    Latest Poll

    Israel's Iron Dome Anti-Missile System:





    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/politics/likud-yisrael-beiteinu-election-merger-creates-political-juggernaut/2012/11/01/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: