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January 29, 2015 / 9 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘elections’

Netanyahu Adopts JewishPress Blogger’s Electoral Reform Proposal

Tuesday, January 6th, 2015

It isn’t every day that the Prime Minister of Israel adopts an idea proposed by yours truly, first introduced on the pages of JewishPress.com.

Though for the sake of transparency, other MKs have brazenly taken ideas we’ve proposed at the Muqata Think-Tank and then claimed them for their own, and we’ve been told that Netanyahu is also familiar with Jameel’s very successful Scotch whiskey counter-boycott.

On Monday, Prime Minister Netanyahu introduced an electoral reform plan that would “revolutionize” the Israeli multi-party system, and move us over to a two-party system.

The idea is that the party with the most seats would automatically form the government and appoint the Prime Minister, without needing to form a coalition, or go to the President of Israel.

If this sounds familiar to you, it should, because in December I analyzed the problem with our current system, and provided that solution.

In the original article I explained why it would work, and how the idea should be properly implemented.

The JewishPress.com was even kind enough to put one of those Asher Schwartz cartoons on it.

A Solution Within the Existing Framework So what can be done now with what we have?

If Israel wants to stay with the parliamentary system, the solution is not as complex as you might think. It requires two steps.

First of all, remove the minimum electoral threshold. Let people vote for whom they want.

The second is, let the head of the largest elected party become the Prime Minister, automatically, with no requirement at all to assemble a coalition to form the government.

I then explain why this will work — because people in Israel vote strategically, they want to get a specific Prime Minister, along with specific platforms or MKs:

The Intended Consequences What do I foresee happening?

Only the die-hards will vote for the small parties. Most everyone else will want to make sure the Prime Minister comes from the biggest party that represents them the closest.

We would see a lot of parties consolidating automatically.

There will be a natural push to make sure the Likud or Labor becomes the biggest party.

Unfortunately, Netanyahu seems to have left out an incredibly important component of the idea – removing the minimum electoral threshold.

And that reminds me of the other half-baked change he made in 1996 — introducing direct elections for the Prime Minster, but without simultaneously introducing it for the Knesset too.

Removing the minimum threshold is critical for my idea to work properly – and Mr. Netanyahu, I know you’re reading this, so pay attention… .

If Israel ends up with a binary-based majority system, where you vote for a party and not individuals, and there are only two parties in the Knesset, you will have implemented a tyranny of democracy onto Israel. For four years the winner will run roughshod over the loser, and it will always be win-lose; the opposition might as well not even show up for work.

For democracy to work properly, citizens need an effective opposition capable of opposing the majority, at least in the worst case scenarios.

It’s important to remember, unlike the U.S., Israel doesn’t have truly separate executive and legislative branches, with the checks and balances that brings. Instead, Israel has a legislative branch whose members also make up the executive branch.

In Netanyahu’s version of my idea, if Labor (or whatever they call themselves) won and wanted to implement another Disengagement or Oslo 5, there would be no way to stop it in Netanyahu’s binary-based Knesset, as Labor would always have an automatic majority.

Nor could there even be a legislature vs. executive conflict to fight it out; in Netanyahu’s version it simply can’t happen.

The other problem is that by forcing people to vote A or B, thereby guaranteeing only A and B get into the Knesset, a significant enough percent of Israeli society will not be represented. You will be disenfranchising segments of the population.

Voting levels will drop as people see no reason to vote for a party that can ignore them, knowing there is no alternative.

By removing the threshold, you don’t exclude people who don’t fit into category A or B.

This will have two consequences, both incredibly important:

1) You don’t need a 61 vote majority for most run-of-the-mill legislation to pass, so having a few small parties won’t make a difference on most votes.

But on more important issues, the society changing ones, you do not want to give an automatic pass to the biggest party (think Oslo, Disengagement) – YOU WANT THEM TO WORK HARD FOR IT before they can throw you out of your home.

2) By allowing the small 1 or 2 man parties to be get in, you create a real reason for the big parties to pay attention to the individual sectors internally.

If the Likud knows that the Israeli-Arabs and Hareidim (just to name two obvious examples) may vote for an Israeli-Arab or Hareidi party instead of them and they will get into the Knesset, the big parties will make sure that Israeli-Arabs and Hareidim are included on their party’s list and paid attention to, to get and keep that sector’s vote.

I highly recommend you read my original analysis of the election idea, and the implementation.

And Mr. Prime Minister – I am available for consultation – you know how to reach me.

New Update: Hotovely Behind by 55 Votes but Likud May Order Total Recount

Sunday, January 4th, 2015

7:30 AM:  Knesset Member Tzipi Hotovely has fallen behind Avi Dichter by 55 votes for the 20th place on the Likud list of candidates during a partial recount, but the number is not final. In addition, the Likud party is considering whether to order a full recount of the votes in last week’s primary elections.

10:51 PM: Hotovely has taken the lead over Dichter by several votes in the recount that still is not final. If she holds the lead, she will be in the 20th place and virtually guaranteed to return to the Knesset.

MK Hotovely appealed to a Likud party committee Sunday for a recount of 15 ballot boxes where there are serious questions of a correct tally in last week’s primaries that left her in the 26th place on the Likud list of candidates.

The Likud is weathering serious embarrassment over the fact that only two women, Miri Regev and Gila Gamaliel, were nominated to realistic places on the Likud ticket.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu wants Hotovely back in the Knesset, and if reports – unconfirmed but from highly reliable sources – are correct, he can thank her for helping dump MK Moshe Feiglin to an unrealistic spot.

Netanyahu has the option of placing Hotovely in a guaranteed spot reserved for a woman if the recount does not bump her up five places in place of Avi Dichter, who was ahead of her by only 754 votes before the recount erased the gap.

Aides to Hotovely said “people voted but their votes were not counted.”

Among other problems in the tally, 400 votes from Judea and Samaria are missing, and in one community in the Galilee, 200 voters were cast but 250 were counted.

In Netivot, one of the seven polling stations did not come up with a single vote for Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, who was in the top five at the end of the nationwide count of ballots

The legal adviser to the Likud party said, “Published results are not the final and official count.”

Hotovely is extremely popular among the national camp and especially in Judea and Samaria. She also has the advantage of being good-looking, a serious factor  the success of many politicians all over the world.

Her image of a right-winger does not compare with that of Feiglin, who for years has been the black sheep of the Likud party. Netanyahu and the Likud mayor of Modi’in engineered behind the scenes to get rid of him.

Feiglin May Form New Party

Saturday, January 3rd, 2015

Aides to Knesset Member Moshe Feiglin report that he is considering a new party after his being dumped off a realistic position on the Likud candidate list in the party’s primaries last Wednesday night, Walla! News reported.

Feiglin announced last week that he will announce his plans for his political future on Monday night at a meeting with supporters.

For the time being, he is without a political home.

Likud Beats Labor-Livni as Lieberman Sinks in New Polls

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

The Likud party has sailed past the Labor-Livni party in a new poll taken after early returns in the Likud primary elections Thursday night pointed to a more centrist list of candidates.

The survey for Walla! News by Teleseker (TNS) also shows that the Yisrael Beitenu party, headed by Avigdor Lieberman, has suffered sharp losses following the suspected bribe scandal revealed by police last week.

With ideological right-winger Moshe Feiglin off a realistic place on the Likud list of candidates, the Likud came up with 26 projected seats in the Knesset, while Labor-Livni remained stuck with 23.

However, an Israel Radio poll taken after the Likud primary elections still puts Labor-Livni one seat ahead of the Likud.

The TNS poll revealed that 40 percent of the respondents think that Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is the best man to lead the government, and only 24.3 percent gave their support for Yitzchak Herzog, chairman of the Labor party, and his new sidekick Tzipi Livni. The two Labor party leaders agreed that they will be rotating prime ministers if their party forms the next government, which seems unlikely if the polls don’t change dramatically before the March 17 elections.

The Jewish Home party continues to remain with 16 projected Knesset Members in all polls, one-third more than it had in the outgoing Knesset.

A Globes poll taken before the Likud primaries, like the TNS survey, shows that the Yisrael Beitenu would win only seven seats in the Knesset if elections were held today.

Both the Globes and TNS polls give Shas a new lease on life since the leak earlier this week of a video showing the late Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, who was the first and last word in the Haredi Sephardi party, trashing Aryeh Deri and favoring Eli Yishai, who now heads his own party.

Shas would win seven seats in the Knesset, according to TNS, and six according to the Globes poll, while Yishai would come up with nothing, according to both polls.

The standing of Yesh Atid, headed by Yair Lapid, and Kulanu, the new party founded by former Likud minister Moshe Kahlon, remain virtually unchanged, with each one  projected to win nine or ten Knesset seats.

Both polls give the left-wing Meretz party seven seats.

The bottom line is that Netanyahu will form the next government, and the Opposition may be even weaker than before.

The more that the merged Labor-Livni party cannot make headway, the more that Kahlon will mind his Ps and Qs to make sure he can get what he wants out of joining a coalition led by the Likud.

However, at this stage, a coalition of Likud, Jewish Home, Kahlon and Yisrael Beitenu still leaves Netanyahu four seats shy of a majority.

His choices are either or both of the Haredi parties because it is difficult to see Lapid and Netanyahu working together. If Lapid suddenly starts distancing himself from Labor and begins talking about the importance of Jews in Judea and Samaria, it would mean his ego finally is deflated, which would be the eighth wonder of the world.

But today’s polls are not the last word, and I am not going out on a long or weak limb to predict that Jewish home, headed by Naftali Bennett, will pick up more seats at the expense of Likud, Kahlon and possibly Yisrael Beitenu.

Feiglin to Announce His Political Future Next Week

Friday, January 2nd, 2015

Outgoing Knesset Member Moshe Feiglin will announce his plans for his political future at a meeting with supporters Monday night, he wrote on his Facebook page Friday morning.

“I am honored to invite you to a meeting of supporters to explain how we will continue. The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Monday in Jerusalem at a place to be announced later,” Feiglin wrote.

Likud party primary elections voters Wednesday night dumped Feiglin to an unrealistic spot on the party’s list of candidates, much to the delight of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the Jewish Home party.

The Prime Minister did not like Feiglin’s clear-spoken views that give the Likud an image of being “too” right wing. The Jewish Home party is likely to pick up at least one if not more seats in the Knesset from voters who would not vote Likud unless Feiglin had a good chance of being elected.

Another factor in the Jewish Home party’s favor is that Likud voters also dropped popular right-winger Tzipi Hotovely from the list of realistic candidate, further distancing strong nationalists from voting for the Likud party.

‘Deals’ with Likud Bigwigs Backfire and Put Feiglin at Exit Door of Knesset

Thursday, January 1st, 2015

Moshe Feiglin appears to be on the way out of the Knesset according to early returns of last night’s Likud’s primaries.

Assuming that the Likud will not win more than 25 seats in the next Knesset, the highest number any polls show, his place on the list of Likud candidates will be farther down the list.

His loss will be the Jewish Home party’s gain because it will gain most of the votes of those who would have voted for Likud in the March elections if Feiglin had a reasonable chance to be re-elected.

Feiglin surprised Likud leaders with a strong showing the last elections in 2012 and won the 15th spot and making him a certain Knesset Member for the first time.

This time around, he made deals with Likud leaders to ensure his position, but they turned around and left him holding an empty bag. With more than 40 percent of the results counted, Feiglin did not make the top 15, and even if the final votes give him a spot within the top 25, he will bumped because the party reserves several places for regional and sectoral candidates.

Feiglln wrote on his Facebook page this morning:

This morning, I feel an obligation to deeply express my heartfelt appreciation to activists, volunteers and contributors who worked on my behalf and for the ideal I am privileged to lead – with exceptional self-sacrifice.

I promise that despite the shadow that darken the purity of the elections – and the results will be what they are – I do not take me eyes off the objective for a moment, and we continue…faithful leadership for the country.

Feiglin’s faction in the Likud is called “Jewish leadership.”

A sign of Feiglin’s fate can be seen from his statement after he won the elections last time around, when he declared, “This is just the beginning. We will build the temple on the Temple Mount and fulfill our purpose in this land.”

That is too honest, too idealistic and too close to the goal of what almost every Jew says , if not three times a day in prayer for the rebuilding of the Holy Temple, at least once a year at the Passover Seder, “Next Year in [Rebuilt} Jerusalem,” meaning the Third Temple.

That kind of faith is too scary and not “practical” enough for politicians, especially those in the rough-and-tough Likud.

Feiglin’s strategy has been, in his words, ”to return the Likud to its true values.”

He signed up thousands of people to sign up with the Likud and vote for him n the primaries even if they vote for the Jewish Home party in the general elections.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu successful used all kinds of deals and tricks to keep Feiglin out of the Knesset until the last elections. Once was enough for him, and the bigwigs wheeled and dealed him out.

That is what happens when an intellectually honest person tries to succeed in politics.

Bombshell Video of Rav Ovadia Trashing Deri Spells Doom for Shas [video]

Monday, December 29th, 2014

A leaked video showing the late Rabbi Ovadia Yosef castigating Aryeh Deri, now the leader of the Shas party, has set off an earthquake in the Sephardi religious community, already split into at least three factions.

Among other epithets, Rav Ovadia, as he was affectionately known, called Deri “evil, “too independent,” and the rabbi said he cannot be a “traitor” to Eli Yishai, who succeeded Deri, Shas’ political leader after the 1999 elections. One year later, Deri was convicted for bribery and was sentenced to three years in jail.

Ever since Rav Ovadia, the founder and spiritual leader of Shas, died in October 2013, the party began to fall apart without his monolithic leadership.

Whatever Rav Ovadia said was gospel to hundreds of thousands of Sephardi Jews, even those not considerably religious.

No one is taking “credit” for leaking the video, which was shown on Channel 2, but the damage to Shas, Deri, the memory of Rav Ovadia, and Deri’s arch enemy Eli Yishai is immeasurable.

In the 76-second video of Rav Ovadia talking to family members and an aide in 2008, he said:

If we place [Deri] at the top of the [party] list, 20 to 40 percent will leave us. Why? Because he was judged as a thief. For what? So they should try me in court? Why take a bribe?

Aryeh won’t listen to me. He is too independent. He is not a bad person?…He can go to another party…. What do I care? …

I cannot be a traitor to Eli Yishai.

The video, seen below is complete with Hebrew sub-titles.

Yishai and his aides, of course, deny they leaked the video.

Deri and his camp, of course, accuse Yishai of leaking it and said it will cause a backlash against Yishai because voters will blame Yishai for leaking the video that (somehow) defames the memory Rav Ovadia.

Deri said after the video was aired on television:

 In these days when the public expects unity, the man who calls himself ‘faithful’ chose to release tapes in which he recorded [Rav Ovadia] in the darkness like the worst of the subversives, and exploited the trust placed in him. Yishai is trampling the honor of [Rav Ovadia] only for his petty personal interests….Even in his lifetime he betrayed the trust the rabbi placed in him.

It does not matter now who leaked the video. The damage is done and there is more on the way.

“The real black box is hidden and still is in the safe, and we hope we won’t have to bring it out because if they are published, they will cause an earthquake. Our aim is to retain the honor of Rav Ovadia,” said Rav Ovadia’s family

When the family heard that the video of Rav Ovadia trashing Deri had been exposed, they said, “We were in shock. We didn’t want this to be exposed… This video is tiny compared with the material we have.”

Will the black box be opened? And who will it make an earthquake for?

“Only is there is no choice,” the family said.

Either way, the once mighty Shas is puny.

It was doomed from the  start to becoming a comatose party like every other political party that evolves around one person and only one person.

Remember Shinui, the fiercely secular party headed by Tomy Lapid? It won 17 seats in 1977, split into factions and won only two seats in the next elections. It  came roaring back with 15 Knesset Members in 2003 and then died after splitting up again not several useless factions.

Ditto with Rafi Eitan’s Pensioners’ party, which won a stunning seven seas in the 2006 elections and then fell apart.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/bombshell-video-of-rav-ovadia-trashing-deri-spells-doom-to-shas-video/2014/12/29/

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