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March 31, 2015 / 11 Nisan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘elections’

UTJ Not in the Bag for Bibi (Sort Of)

Sunday, March 15th, 2015

MK Yaakov Litzman who heads one of the two factions within the United Torah Judaism (UTJ) party made it clear that his party’s vote for Netanyahu to form the coalition isn’t a given.

Litzman told Channel 2 that while his party prefers to sit with the Right, they have also sat with Meretz in the past, and could just as easily recommend that Herzog form the coalition.

Litzman’s only condition is that his party won’t sit with Yair Lapid, the head of Yesh Atid.

Without Yesh Atid, Herzog has no hope of forming a coalition according to current polls.

Yair Lapid, hearing Litzman’s statements, said that Litzman’s is saying one thing before the elections to get votes from a specific sector, but after the election Litzman will be saying something different, allowing UTJ to sit with Yesh Atid in the government.

Channel 2 Ambushes Bibi With Surprise Buji Debate – Bibi Wins [video]

Saturday, March 14th, 2015

Channel 2 sprung a surprise debate on PM Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu against Zionist Union (Labor) chief MK Yitzchak “Buji” Herzog on Channel 2’s live “Meet the Press” show.

Both party chiefs have said they want a debate, but Netanyahu made it clear that if Herzog wants a debate, it has to be simultaneously against both Herzog and Livni together, since Herzog and Livni are running as a team.

At the beginning of the show, the off-site Netanyahu was clearly not aware that his half-opponent Yitzchak Herzog was in the studio, and he thought he was simply going to be interviewed.

It appears that Herzog had some advance warning.

If you look carefully, you’ll note that Herzog is wearing an earpiece in his left ear, implying that someone may have been feeding him lines for either the interview or the debate.

Herzog was so excited to be debating Netanyahu, without co-Captain Tzipi Livni that he apparently didn’t realize when he mixed up Jerusalem with Netanyahu (time: 2:05) in his statement on who he would be protecting. That gave Netanyahu a chuckle.

While Netanyahu was clearly not expecting to be ambushed this way, he definitely came out on top, even when Channel 2 (time 3:20) lowered the volume on Netanyahu and raised the volume for Herzog’s interruption.

Surprisingly, the host rather rudely then cut off Herzog in mid-counterattack (time: 3:30) telling him his time in the studio was up, at which point, a clearly annoyed Herzog walked off the set. Netanyahu then continued the interview and also responded to Herzog’s question.

Meretz Trying to Cancel Rightwing Rally

Saturday, March 14th, 2015

Dror Morag, the Secretary General of the Meretz party, and Mossi Raz, a Meretz candidate, will be filing a complaint with the Elections committee demanding the cancellation of this Sunday’s rightwing rally at Rabin Square in Tel Aviv.

They claim the rally’s location is in violation of election laws.

The leftwing’s rally last week only managed to gather 35,000 people.

A lot more people are expected to be at tomorrow’s rightwing rally, possibly including Prime Minister Netanyahu.

For a party that claims to be concerned about civil rights, Meretz seem to have a problem with freedom of speech and assembly when it comes to their political adversaries.

The Tefillin Day Campaign

Saturday, March 14th, 2015

Chabad will be running a special election day campaign. Outside every voting booth will be a Chabad Tefillin stand.

Cool.

Israeli Jews Split Down the Middle between Left and Right

Friday, March 13th, 2015

Israeli Jews are divided almost evenly between left and right and between secular and religious-traditional, according to statistics provided by the Keevoon Global Research company, founded by American immigrant Mitchell Barak.

In terms of political differences, Keevoon’s poll discovered:

About 45% define themselves as ‘right’ politically and 40% as ‘left. This has been the traditional political divider for many elections but with the advent of a number of ‘center’ parties in recent years, about half of ‘left’ voters prefer the term ‘center.’

Ethnic and religious differences are even more important, because they cross party lines.

The Central Bureau of Statistics states that “52% of the Israeli Jewish population is Sephardic and 48% is Ashkenazi.”

However, Keevoon’s poll reveals that many Jews of Sephardi descent do not necessarily define themselves as such, with 8% considering themselves “both” while 32% defining themselves as Sephardim.

it noted that the ethnic split “is a very important demographic because it points to complex issues regarding ethnic relations and self-identification.”

Parenthetically, I would explain that part of the change in identification is due to the increasing acceptance of “mixed marriages” between Ashkenazi and Sephardi families, which has softened the division somewhat.

Also, many “traditional” and even secular Sephardim who grew up in religious homes vote for the Shas Sephardi Haredi party. That may be less apparent in this election because of the death of Shas’ founder and spiritual leader, Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.

Sephardim tend to be right wing, and that could be explained by their origins in Muslim countries. They understand the Arab mentality much more than Ashkenazim.

Returning to the Keevoon poll, it found that in terms of religious identification, slightly more than half, 52% to be exact, of Israeli Jews classified themselves as “secular, while 40% are religious, traditional or Haredi.

Keevoon’s poll also came up with another interesting tidbit when asked whether they “consider themselves more Jewish or Israeli.”

Keevoon noted:

Jew:                      55% Israeli:                   32%

This simple self-identification demographic can then classify a person along a number of other political and religious attitudes, behaviors and values.

Keevoon’s Barak told The Jewish Press that he has not conducted polls to determine the results of the elections, but offered one conclusion:

 I don’t know who is going to win. I know who is going to lose – the Israeli people.

 

 

If Aryeh Deri Keeps His Word, Herzog Cannot Be Prime Minister

Friday, March 13th, 2015

Aryeh Deri has crushed any hope of the Herzog-Livni duo that they can form the next government coalition and has paved the way for a Netanyahu-led Haredi-right-wing administration.

Deri, and the Shas party he heads, have a long record of moving left or right so long as the party can be part of a coalition and squeeze the government for money for its institutions. The party and its chairman have no ideology when it comes to being part of the power structure.

When Deri says he is a leftist, don’t believe him

When he say he is a nationalist, don’t believe him.

However, on Thursday made it clearer than ever, with no reservations, and said at a campaign stop at Jerusalem’s Mahane Yehuda market and also on Israeli radio stations:

I have un-categorically stated that I will not sit in a leftist government, and then I was asked about my personal association with Herzog. I answered, ‘I don’t discard Bujie [Herzog] personally….I have explained clearly that the participation of Shas with the Likud goes back many years.’

That is not entirely true.  Shas sat in the Peres-Rabin coalition and voted for the Oslo Accords, and Deri said earlier this week he favors the expulsion of Jews from Jewish communities that are not part of large populating centers in Judea and Samaria.

So with the election results in doubt and polls showing a trend in favor of Herzog and Livni’s Zionist Union party, why is Deri locking himself out of a possible coalition led by Yitzchak Herzog and Tzipi Livni, who have a commanding lead over Netanyahu, according to the polls?

The simple and correct answer is that Deri knows that a Herzog-Livni coalition would be incredibly unstable, unless there is a sudden sweep beyond the leftists’ wildest imagination. On the other hand a government headed by Netanyahu, even with the tiniest majority, would be stable.

In other words, a coalition in the hand is better than a coalition is in the bush.

The arithmetic is very simple, much more so than colleague Shalom Bear stated here yesterday.

Let’s give Bujie the benefit of the doubt and grant him 26 seats in the Knesset. Let’s give Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid 13 and Kulanu, headed by Moshe Kahlon, eight. That comes out to 47, and make it 53 with six seats for Meretz, and that is being generous.

The missing seats won’t come from the Likud or Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home). Nor will they come from Yisrael Beiteinu. They won’t come from the United Arab List because Kahlon has ruled out sitting with a coalition that is kept in office by outright anti-Zionists, although the same objection could be raised concerning a cajole of future MKs on Herzog’s list of candidates.

The only way Herzog and Livni can fill the gap is with the Haredi parties. YaHadut HaTorah (United Torah Judaism) traditionally sits with the right wing. Even if they were to agree to sit with Herzog and Livni, all of the hate in the world for Netanyahu will not convince Lapid and Meretz to sit together with the Haredim. And vice-versa.

The UTJ chairman even refused to show up for a question and answer session on Thursday that would have required him to sit in the same room with Lapid.

Yes, if Shas wins eight seats, it could give Herzog a majority, but Deri knows that a leftist-Haredi coalition is too shaky to last any longer than the time between Mincha afternoon prayers and Maariv evening prayers.

But Deri knows very well that he is the deal-breaker for a coalition led by Netanyahu, even if the Likud wins only 21 seats. Add five from Yisrael Beiteinu, 12 from Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) and eight from Kulanu. The sum total is 46, and these numbers are conservative.

That is where the Haredim will call the shots. Shas and UTJ will come up with at least 15 seats, giving Netanyahu a tiny but stable majority of one. Unlike a leftist coalition with Haredim, all of the parties in the projected Netanyahu government have no problem sitting with each other.

In the past, that would not have been true because Avigdor Lieberman, chairman of Yisrael Beiteinu, was one of the major reasons, the previous coalition broke up, But his party has been whittled down to almost nothing, leaving him little room to let out much more than a weak squeak.

If Yachad wins enough votes to enter the Knesset, and that is a big question mark, the coalition would have a majority of four, after subtracting Baruch Marzel, who has said he won’t sit with Netanyahu.

Deri has done his math, and if the above scenario becomes reality, the irony of ironies is that the anti-Netanyahu media blitz will have resulted with their two most hated voting blocs waving the heaviest hand in the government – settlers and Haredim.

However, there is one big caveat emptor, as a reader responded to this article on Facebook:

LOL. “If Aryeh Deri keeps his word …

Shmuel Sackett’s Election Predictions

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

Sports-talk radio is replete with predictions ranging from the team which will win the Super Bowl to who will be the new Yankees shortstop. In that tradition, I will now offer my official predictions for what will happen in next week’s Knesset elections. (Please note that if my predictions are completely wrong I will have no problem explaining what happened and why I am still an expert! After all, doesn’t that happen all the time??) OK, here goes:

Likud will win the elections with 26 seats. Current polls show them at 23 but I feel they will do better than that. Yes, many people are tired of Netanyahu as Prime Minister (7 years already, not counting his 3 year run from ’96-’99) but the alternative is weak and unimpressive. His speech before the US Congress sealed his fate as Israel’s next Prime Minister as people realized that – like it or not – this guy is strong, tough, articulate and focused. The thought of that speech being given by Labor leader Boojie Herzog is enough to make you laugh and then sick, and Israelis across the spectrum will decide that Herzog is simply not a viable alternative. Bibi has his issues and people blame every problem on him (which is common in politics) but he is simply the strongest contender and will emerge victorious.

Labor will receive 22 seats which is not as many as they want but is a great improvement over their existing representation of 15 seats. They will receive their increase of seats on the back of Yesh Atid and Meretz who will lose many of their existing Knesset members. As stated above, Labor is not a viable alternative to lead the nation but they provide a comfortable home for the “anti-Bibi” vote. As you know, on Election Day – across the world – many people vote AGAINST someone rather that FOR someone and Labor will receive a lot of these votes. This anti vote helped Obama defeat McCain in 2008 since millions of people voted for Obama as a protest against Bush (who wasn’t even running!!). The voters saw McCain as a continuation of the Bush presidency and voted against him for that reason. This same logic worked against Obama in the recent mid-term elections as people showed their great displeasure in him by voting Republican in both the Congress and Senate. The “anti” vote is a very strong factor in world politics and Labor will receive an enormous amount of those votes. This will increase their current Knesset representation by 50% but will not be enough to topple Netanyahu.

Yesh Atid, led by Yair Lapid, will take a big hit in these elections but will remain a factor in Israeli politics. Currently, Lapid has a whopping 19 seats (from his first election campaign – very impressive!) but he will not be able to hold on to that many. In my opinion, he will drop to 9 seats. His two years as Finance Minister was filled with much controversy and people blame him for many of the economic problems. To be honest, this is of course ridiculous, since he was Finance Minister for less than two years. By the time he learned the job and put together a budget, new elections were declared and he was busy running a campaign to save his political life. Many of his financial ideas were good and innovative but he simply had no time to bring them to fruition. Most people don’t realize this and are simply fed up with him. He still has a following – and 9 seats are strong in Israeli politics – but he will not come close to what he had before.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/shmuel-sacketts-election-predictions/2015/03/12/

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