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October 23, 2014 / 29 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘mafdal’

The Future Coalition and the Israeli Right

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

So the final results are almost completely tallied and it’s pretty bad for the right-wing, especially Likud-Beitenu, despite the fact that the Benjamin Netanyahu will likely form the next government.

The only threat to Netanyahu forming the government is a joint Shas-Lapid boycott. Likud-Beitenu and Jewish Home comprise 43 seats. Shas and UTJ (17) bring it up to 61 or Lapid (19) will bring it up to 62. Only if Lapid, Shas and UTJ (or even Lapid and Shas) boycott Netanyahu will Netanyahu not be able to form the government. That scenario would also require Livni and Yachimovitch and Lapid to agree on making one of these three their candidate for Prime Minister, which is even more unlikely. Also, Shas publicly endorsed Netanyahu for Prime Minister in an advertisement prior to the elections, apparently counting on the fact that Lapid will compromise on a universal draft.

Nevertheless, for Netanyahu to form a stable coalition (closer to 70 seats) he would need to Shas and/or UTJ compromise with a plan to draft Hareidim, as he said in his “victory” speech last night that he plans to make a priority and because Lapid is now too large to ignore, especially relative to a weak Likud.

Kadima – which escaped what would have been a well-deserved political death – could be another leftist party which Netanyahu could bring on board to strengthen the coalition, especially if Shas will not join.  This would bring the coalition up to 64 seats, that’s still not that stable, but at least Kadima won’t be able to ask for much with it’s meager two seats.

That would mean giving Mofaz something that Mofaz would feel will make him and Kadima relevant until the next elections, perhaps some lessor ministry or as a minister without portfolio. (Mofaz’s other options to survive through the next elections are (a) to somehow re-establish himself outside the government, which is unlikely; (b) to rejoin the Likud with his tail between his legs, which is also unlikely considering how he treated Netanyahu after Netanyahu brought him into the coalition before; (c) merge with another left-wing party which would be equally embarrassing for him and also unprofitable for the other party; or, (d) wait for Olmert to return and save him).

Some other thoughts:

* The success of Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid in garnering 19 mandates, making it the second largest of all parties is the biggest surprise of the election. It’s almost twice as high as Lapid polled before the elections and 19 more than Lapid had before as this is his first election. Like Liberman before, Lapid will likely be Netanyahu’s major partner as under almost any coalition figuration Yesh Atid can bring down the coalition.

* The Jewish Home’s success was not as great as predicted but it was still quite an achievement to garner 12 Knesset seats. The joint Jewish Home-National Union list represented only seven seats in the outgoing Knesset and only a few months ago hoped to get up to 10 seats in the next Knesset. Kudos to them for running a great campaign, including Anglo candidate Jeremy Gimpel who chaired the English-speakers campaign and Jeremy Saltan who was the English-speaker’s campaign manager, despite the fact that Gimpel himself will not be in the next Knesset.

* The Likud-Beitenu’s drop from 42 seats in the outgoing Knesset to 31 in the next is the second biggest surprise. Liberman said last night that he does not regret the merger: Of course he doesn’t, his party only dropped to 11 seats in the Knesset, from 15, despite the fact that he has been indicted, based on testimony from one of his former lieutenants and was absent during the campaign.

The Likud on the other hand lost its upward momentum and now comprises only 20 Knesset seats (only one more than newcomer Lapid). That’s quite an embarrassment for the what is supposed to be the leading party in Israel.

Not that Liberman/the merger should take all the blame. The campaign was terrible from almost every angle – functionally and strategically – and Netanyahu’s no-risk political philosophy may also be to blame for failing to motivate new voters, even though it is good for managing a coalition and providing much-needed stability to the country.

* The “Right” as a whole lost out. Instead of 65 seats (or more, even up to 71 according to some polls), it now has 61. And, remember, the right-wing bloc is not necessarily all right-wing. UTJ is only right-wing on religious issues. On Judea and Samaria, standing up to the international community and economic issues, it is to the left. Shas is also to the left on economic issues and with Aryeh Deri back at the helm it is not clearly to the right when it comes to security-territory issues. Even without Deri, Shas was the prop that kept the Olmert government together after the Second Lebanon War. So really the Right has only 43 reliable seats (Likud-Beitenu + Jewish Home).

The Foreign Media’s ‘Rightward Shift’ Never Happened

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

Almost final results from Israel’s Central Election Commission show that the Guardian mantra – parroted by nearly every commentator and reporter who’s been providing ‘analysis’ on the Israeli elections – warning of a hard and dangerous shift to the right will prove to have been entirely inaccurate.

In the final days before the vote, the Guardian’s Jerusalem correspondent Harriet Sherwood seemed certain that the elections would bring “a more hawkish and pro-settler government,” and Guardian Middle East Editor Ian Black warned that “Netanyahu [was] poised to…head a more right-wing and uncompromising government than Israel has ever seen before.”

Rachel Shabi predicted that Israel would elect “the most right-wing government in its history“, while Jonathan Freedland expressed gloom that diaspora Jews would have to watch “the centre of gravity… shift so far rightward [in Israel] that Netanyahu and even Lieberman will look moderate by comparison.”

However, based on preliminary reports, not only does it appear that there has been absolutely no rightward shift, but the makeup of the next Knesset may be slightly more left than the current one.

While in 2009 the right-wing bloc bested the center-left bloc by 65-55, the results of this election show that the new Knesset will have a narrower (61-59) right-bloc advantage.

The top three parties will be Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu with 31 Knesset seats, the centrist Yesh Atid with 19, and the leftist Labor Party with between 16-18. The rightist party, Jewish Home, headed by Naftali Bennett, came in fourth and will have 12, while Shas, the ultra-orthodox party, came in fifth with 11.

Some Israeli commentators are already predicting that Binyamin Netanyahu will attempt to form a centrist or even a right-center-left coalition.

Though the final results aren’t expected to be announced until the early hours of Wednesday, a few things are certain:

The Guardian and other foreign media invested heavily in promoting their desired political narrative of a Jewish state lurching dangerously towards the right.

They got it completely wrong.

Visit CifWatch.

My Vote Won’t Help Sell Out the Land of Israel

Sunday, January 20th, 2013

A reader asked me who I am voting for and why.

Once upon a time, there was a group of people who wanted to rob a bank, but they needed a van and driver. They approached a man with a van, and invited him to join them, offering to reward him lucratively for his services. He told them that he was against robbing banks and he couldn’t accept stolen money. So they promised to pay him up front, not with money stolen from the bank. When he agreed, the group finished all their plans for the robbery, paying the driver up front. When the time came, the driver drove them to the bank and dropped them off at the corner. Seeing a policeman walking down the street, the driver quickly sped off, wanting nothing to do with the robbery, just as he told the group at the beginning. Eventually, all the thieves were arrested, along with the driver, who insisted he hadn’t participated in the robbery at all. “I’m innocent. I’m innocent,” he protested, but the judge found him guilty along with the others.

I am voting for “Otzma L’Yisrael” because I don’t want to be part of a robbery. What robbery? It is no secret that the Likud and Yisrael Betanu are in favor of the Two-State Solution, which would steal a giant chunk of Israel from the Jews and give it to the Arabs. The Two-State Solution is a part of their platform. So I can’t vote for them.

The Jewish Home party, “HaBayit HaYehudi,” has announced that they want to be a part of the coalition in the next government that Bibi will form. Even though they are against the Two-State Solution, they want to “influence from within.” They will probably stipulate in the coalition agreement that if the government enters into negotiations with the Arabs and decides to actualize the Two-State Solution plan, the Jewish Home party will be free to leave the coalition before the treaty is signed, just like the driver who took off before the robbery took place. In the meantime, for helping the coalition get to the signing ceremony, the Jewish Home will receive ample reward in the form of government positions, and money for worthwhile projects. But when it comes time for the photos of Bibi shaking hands with Mohammed, the members of the Jewish Home party will all hold up their hands and say, “Our hands are clean. We were against the robbery from the beginning!”

This scenario has happened before. The Mafdal party, the forerunner of the Jewish Home, was a member of the Sharon government leading up to the Disengagement from Gush Katif. They held the coalition in place while Sharon craftily arranged the robbery, then pulled out of the government when the end was already a fait accompli. Bibi did the very same thing, voting against the Disengagement on the final day, when the battle was already lost, after having helped the government get there, so he could hold up his hands and say, “I had nothing to do with the robbery.”

I don’t want to help anyone rob banks, and I certainly I don’t want to help anyone sell the Land of Israel down the drain. So I can’t vote for the Likud, and I can’t vote for the good people in the Jewish Home party, even though they are against giving Israel away to the Arabs, and even though they intend to pull out of Bibi’s government just before the robbery, because by sitting in such a government, they will be accomplices to the theft. And even if such a treaty is never signed, I still can’t vote for a party which will be a part of a government that advocates giving away the Land of God for “peace,” because, as Rabbi Tzvi Yehuda Kook taught his students, even talking about surrendering the Land of Israel is as forbidden as eating pork.

So I’m voting for Power for Israel – “Otzma L’Yisrael,” because they don’t want to sit in a government that has given a phony Kashrut certificate to Two-State Solutions that steal from the Jewish People, violate the Torah, and make a mockery of the word of God.

Naftali Bennett and the Mafdal’s Last Hurrah

Sunday, December 23rd, 2012

Those of us who really believe Moshe Feiglin can and will lead Israel and the Jewish Nation to liberty by becoming Prime Minister have this refrain. We always say that we’re not trying to lead the Dati Leumi, or the Religious Zionist sector. We are not a sector, we do not believe in sectors, and we try to speak to the Jewish nation qua nation and leave sectors aside. We want to lead everyone and free everyone. Not lead a sector and try to cut off a hunk of publicly funded steak and bring it home to a ravenous constituency starved for tax-funded whatevers.

But even those of us with our eye on the ball sometimes lose focus for a second and get sucked back into the “sector” that we supposedly “came from,” which in most cases is the Religious Zionist sector, the srugim, or whatever you want to call them.

We see in the polls that Naftali Bennett has totally revived the old Mafdal. He’s a new exciting guy, served in Tzahal as commander of a bunch of important stuff and did heroic things and whatnot just like Ehud Barak of the new up-and-coming then out-and-going Atzmaut (literally, “Forget Labor”) Party. He was a highly successful career man and made a skrillion dollars just like Yair Lapid of the new up-and-coming and soon to be out-and-going Yesh Lapid (literally “There is Lapid”) Party. Or was it two skrillion? I don’t remember exactly. And he can talk oh…soooo…smoothly…in perfect American English…with a perfect American accent…that’s so seductive…just like…

Benjamin Netanyahu.

Mafdal, or Bayit Yehudi, or whatever you want to call it, might get a bunch of seats. Maybe 10. Maybe 15. Maybe 20. It doesn’t make the least bit of difference. Why? Because Naftali Bennett is nothing but a new Netanyahu with a kippah on. He has no conviction about anything but he can talk as if he almost does. For example, he can say contradictory things like, “A soldier should never have to choose between expelling a human being from his home and disobeying orders,” and then end it with, “A soldier should never disobey orders under any circumstances,” and state both mutually contradictory statements together with the same conviction, thereby effectively saying absolutely nothing, but making people think he has.

And then, as if he didn’t contradict himself at all, he’ll go on in the very next sentence and challenge his twin, Benjamin Netanyahu, to state publicly if he plans on expelling people from their homes again or not, as if trying to fork another politician will take the attention away from the fact that he’s trying to have his cake and eat it too as well. Well, Bennett, my little Bibi with a Kippah, if he does, what will you do? All you’ve told us is you hope it won’t happen. But what will you do? Support private property or support immoral orders?

Bennett’s long term plan is genius. Get this: He wants to wait for the Arabs to “calm down”. Of course this isn’t what Israel has already been doing since Oslo. Inspiring. That’s it! They have to “calm down”! Why didn’t we think of this before! When I think of Jewish History and our job on this planet and the reason we came back to Israel after millenia of exile, I think of Arabs “calming down,” and when I picture calm Arabs, I get this kind of religious messianic zeal. Thanks Bennett. You have a very nice kippah and a cool buzz cut.

And his slogan: “Something new is beginning.” Yes, something new indeed. Bibi now has a kippah. That’s new. And the new Bibi  says right wing sounding rhetoric without committing to any actual positions and wants to wait things out until the Arabs “calm down”. New Indeed.

Now, back to why it makes absolutely no difference how many seats the Mafdal gets. It doesn’t matter because the only interesting thing that is going to come out of this Knesset will be the Knesset speeches and Knesset actions of Moshe Feiglin from within the Likud slate. He’s going to be in the Knesset. Nothing can stop that. Likud isn’t going down to 20 seats under any circumstances. From that podium, from that pulpit, Feiglin will speak about liberty and Jewish values and Jewish leadership. And the Jewish Nation will listen. And he’ll say actual things that don’t contradict themselves. And when Netanyahu tries to do something stupid, he will fight tooth and nail and probably get sanctioned in some way or another, and he won’t be invited into Bibi’s little circle, and if he is named as a Minister he may get fired, and if he doesn’t get fired and Bibi tries to expel someone from their home, he’ll resign, and it’ll be great.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/special-features/israel-elections-5773/naftali-bennett-and-the-mafdals-last-hurrah/2012/12/23/

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