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May 29, 2015 / 11 Sivan, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Moshe Kahlon’

Kulanu Chairman Moshe Kahlon Becomes ‘Kingmaker’ in Israel

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

Former Likud member Moshe Kahlon, leader of the Kulanu party, became the “kingmaker” of the next coalition Monday when recommended President Reuven Rivlin task Likud’s Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu with the formation of the new government.

“We nominate Netanyahu and the broader the base of the coalition, the better it will be for all of us,” said Kahlon, who told the president that his party had a social orientation that was focused on the human being.

Kahlon’s hearty endorsement brought Netanyahu to an absolute majority of 61 votes in his favor, which allowed Rivlin to announce the prime minister would be tasked with forming the next government – one of the swiftest coalition assignment determinations ever to take place.

Also voting for Netanyahu on Sunday in addition to the Likud were the delegates from the Bayit Yehudi, Shas and United Torah Judaism parties. An endorsement from Yisrael Beytenu that followed shortly after brought Netanyahu’s total to 67 mandates.

The total meant that although the president had yet to meet with the far-left Meretz party, which had five votes to either add or withhold, neither would change the outcome.

At present, not including Meretz, the merged Zionist Union led by Labor party chairman Isaac (“Buji”) Herzog holds 24 votes. The remaining 24 potential coalition members, which include Yesh Atid and the Joint Arab List are holding back for the time being.

Rivlin pointed out that it is not a given that all those who voted for Netanyahu will actually support the government he assembles, when the time comes.

Even after a president has tasked a designated person to form a government, and even that person successfully forms a coalition, the government still must be approved by the Knesset plenum, he noted.

Understand Israeli Elections – Here’s a Primer, Part 1

Friday, March 13th, 2015

The Israeli political system is radically different from the one in the United States. The most obvious differences are that Israel is a parliamentary system with more than 20 potential parties in the mix, unlike just the two standard American parties, the Democrats and the Republicans.

This year 26 parties are vying for positions in the upcoming vote, 11 of which are likely to pass the threshold requirement for becoming part of the next Knesset.

The first step of this year’s Israeli election to determine who makes it into the Knesset at all, then which parties will form the governing coalition, and finally, who will be the prime minister of the state of Israel, takes place next Tuesday, March 17.

The date was set by a formal meeting in early December, of all the then-current Knesset party leaders. Those leaders chose the date for the election to take place in just four months. While four months is a dramatically short campaign period by American standards, Israeli law permits only five months to elapse between the dissolution of one Knesset and the election for the next.

Election day is a big deal in Israel. Virtually everything, except the polling places, is closed. Free transportation is provided for any voter who needs it to reach their regular polling place.

On March 17,  all eligible voters – every Israeli citizen over 18 years of age – can vote. That includes Arabs, Muslims, Christians and Jews, men and women, able-bodied and those with disabilities. There is no voter registration system; every citizen is automatically registered once they turn 18. Nearly six million Israelis are eligible to vote in this year’s election.

MARCH 17: THE BALLOT BOX

Eligible Israeli voters go to polling places in their neighborhoods. There are more than 10,000 polling places throughout this tiny country. Most open at 7:00 a.m. and remain open until 10:00 p.m.

Turnout for Israeli elections has been declining for years, but it’s still well over 60 percent. In the U.S., turnout has been in the low-to mid 50 percent zone since the early 1970’s.

Before entering the voting booth, each voter is handed an envelope. Inside the booth is a tray, with different strips of paper. Each strip of paper includes the name and symbol of a party. The voter chooses the slip of paper which has the name and symbol of the party for whom they wish to vote, and puts that piece of paper in the envelope they were handed. After leaving the booth the voter places the envelope with their chosen party slip into the ballot box.

Israeli voters choose parties, not individual candidates, which, among other things, means their national representation is ideological, not geographic, and the vote is proportional, meaning the 120 Knesset seats are divvied up in proportion to each party’s percentage of the total vote. There is a minimum threshold for a party to meet before it can sit in the Knesset. That minimum is currently set at 3.25 percent of the total votes cast, which translates into four seats.

PHASE TWO: HORSE TRADING

Once the polling places close and the ballots are counted, the second phase of the Israeli election begins, the one frequently described as “horse trading.” In order to have the right to form a government and choose the prime minister, a group of parties needs to be able to control a majority of the Israeli Knesset, the single chamber Israeli legislature. The Knesset has 120 seats.

With so many parties competing, no single one has ever attained that magic number of 61 seats, and it is even likely that three or more parties need to agree to work together to form the ruling coalition. Therefore, parties which have been thrashing each other in public now start eying each other as potential dance partners, trying to figure out with whom they can create a functioning coalition to run the government.

This coalition building phase is a little bit like when, after a brutal primary in the U.S., the second place vote getter and the winner frequently kiss, make up, and agree to live with each other as their party’s candidate for president and vice president during the general election. But several different parties and lots of individual members of those parties are all added into the Israeli decision making mix. It isn’t easy.

But first let’s back up. How were the individuals on each party’s list chosen?

     PARTY LISTS

As soon as the Knesset is dissolved, either because it reached its four year expiration date, or because it is dispersed for some other reason (such as happened in the current case, when Prime Minister Netanyahu asked the Knesset to disperse and the Knesset unanimously agreed, on Dec. 8), the parties begin internal negotiations to determine who will be on their official “list,” and in what order. The higher up on the list one is, the greater the likelihood of actually making it into the Knesset.

There are various systems for determining who are included, and where they are placed, on each party’s list, including voting by the party leadership. Additional factors are taken into consideration, such as whether enough women are included, whether there are security experts represented, whether certain ethnic minorities will be included.

     PRIME MINISTER SELECTION

How does one of the party members then become the prime minister? Israel’s president, currently former Knesset member Ruby Rivlin, selects the member of Knesset believed to have the best chance of forming a viable coalition government, given the election results. This can take some time until the parties are able to align so that they can govern together.

Some of the horse trading here involves party leaders with high numbers demanding significant ministry positions in exchange for pledging their party’s support. Compare this to the ability of the U.S. president, once elected, then deciding who will become the various cabinet members.

This phase is incredibly complicated. For example, right now at least five different parties will be needed to join together to create a ruling coalition. And it is not as if just the top five vote-getting parties will join together, because of differences in ideology.

For example, the tiny far left Meretz party, which currently is polling at five seats, thought it would be able to create a power bloc by pairing up with the Joint Arab List. The Arab group dashed those hopes, claiming they would not join with “Zionists.”

Another complicating factor is that certain parties have claimed they will not join in a coalition with Netanyahu, and the Likud has ruled out creating a coalition with other parties, including the current frontrunner, the so-called “Zionist Union.” That party is a joining together of the center-left Labor party and Tzipi Livni and her entourage. Livni has changed parties so many times in the past few years most people just refer to this new party as Labor-Livni.

Once finally selected, the prime minister announces the formation of a new Knesset and the offices each minister will hold.

January 29 was the deadline for all parties to submit their lists of candidates. As of that date, the following parties had the following members in the following order (the parties are listed in terms of their most recent polling status):

ZIONIST UNION (1) Isaac Herzog (2) Tzipi Livni (3) Shelly Yachimovich (4) Stav Shaffir (5) Itzik Shmuly (6) Omer Bar-Lev (7) Hilik Bar (8) Amir Peretz (9) Merav Michaeli (10) Eitan Cabel (11) Manuel Trajtenberg (12) Erel Margalit (13) Mickey Rosenthal (14) Revital Swid (15) Danny Atar (16) Yoel Hassan (17) Zuhair Bahloul (18) Eitan Broshi (19) Michal Biran (20) Nachman Shai (21) Ksenia Svetlova (22) Ayelet Nahmias Verbin (23) Yossi Yona (24)Eyal Ben-Reuven (25) Yael Cohen-Paran. The left-center Zionist Union was forged by combining Labor and Tzipi Livni and her followers, has very recently been polling at between 20 and 24 seats.

LIKUD: (1) Benjamin Netanyahu (2) Gilad Erdan (3) Yuli Edelstein (4) Yisrael Katz (5) Miri Regev (6)Silvan Shalom (7) Moshe Ya’alon (8) Ze-ev Elkin (9) Danny Danon (10) Yariv Levin (11) Benny Begin (12) Tzachi Hanegbi (13) Yuval Steinitz (14) Gila Gamliel (15) Ophir Akunis (16) David Bitan (17) Haim Katz (18) Jackie Levy (19) Yoav Kish (20) Tzipi Hotovely (21) Dudu Amsalem (22) Miki Zohar (23) Dr. Anat Berko (24) Ayoob Kara (25) Nava Boker. Likud has been polling at between 26 and 20 seats, most recently declining.

YESH ATID (1) Yair Lapid (2) Shai Piron (3) Yael German (4) Meir Cohen (5) Yaakov Peri (6) Ofer Shelah (7) Haim Yalin (8) Karine Elharrar (9) Yoel Razvozov (10) Alize Lavie (11) Mickey Levy (12) Elazar Stern (13) Pnina Tamano-Shata (14) Boaz Toporovsky (15) Ruth Calderon. Yesh Atid focuses on social and economic issues and was brand new for the last elections. Yesh Atid has been polling at around 10 – 13 seats.

JOINT ARAB LIST (1) Aiman Uda (Hadash) (2) Masud Ganaim (Islamic Movement (3) Ahmad Tibi (UAL-Ta’al) (4) Aida Touma-Sliman (Hadash (6) Abd al-Hakim Hajj Yahya (Islamic Movement) (7) Haneen Zoabi (Balad) (8) Dov Khenin (Hadash) (9) Taleb Abu Arar (Islamic Movement). The Joint Arab party has been polling between 11 and 13 seats.

BAYIT YEHUDI (1) Naftali Bennett (2) Uri Ariel (3) Ayelet Shaked (4) Rabbi Eli Ben-Dahan(5) Nissan Slomiansky (6) Yinan Magal (7) Moti Yogev (8) Bezalel Smotrich (9) Shuli Mualem (10) Avi Wortzman (11) Nir Orbach (12) rabbi Avi Rontzki (13) Orit Struck (14) Anat Roth (15) Ronen Shoval. Bayit Yehudi, the religious Zionist party, has recently been polling between 10 and 14 seats.

KULANU (1) Moshe Kahlon (2) Yoav Galant (3) Eli Alalouf (4) Michael Oren (5) Rachel Azaria (6)Tali Ploskov (7) Dr. Yifat Shasha-Biton (8) Eli Cohen (9) Roy Folkman (10)Merav Ben-Ari. Kulanu is a brand new party created by its number one on the list. Kahlon is understood to have destroyed the cell phone monopoly in Israel. Kahlon has not ruled out joining with Likud or Zionist Union. His determination to be the next finance minister is well-known. Kulanu has been polling around 8 – 10 seats.

SHAS (1) Aryeh Deri (2) Yitzhak Cohen (3) Meshulam Nahari (4) Yakov Margi (5) David Azoulay (6) Yoav Ben-Tzur (7) Yitzhak Vaknin (8) Avraham Michaeli. Shas (the Sephardi Haredi party which has experienced severe upheaval since its leader, Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef’s death in Oct. 2013) has been polling pretty consistently at 7 seats.

UNITED TORAH JUDAISM (1) Yaakov Litzman (2) Moshe Gafni (3) Meir Porush (4) Uri Maklev (5)Menachem Eliezer Moses (6) Israel Eichler (7) Yaakov Asher (8) Eliezer Sorotzkin. UTJ, the Ashkenazi charedi party, has recently been polling between 6 and 7 seats.

YISRAEL BEITEINU (1) Avigdor Lieberman (2) Orly Levy-Abekasis (3) Sofa Landver (4) Ilan Shohat (5) Sharon Gal (6) Hamad Amar (7) Robert Ilatov. Yisrael Beiteinu is identified with the Russian immigrants and is considered right wing, although it does not believe in annexing Judea and Samaria. It has been polling at 5 seats for quite some time.

MERETZ (1) Zehava Gal-on (2) Ilan Gilon (3) Issawi Frej (4) Michal Rozin (5) Tamar Zandberg (6) Mossi Raz (7) Gaby Lasky. Meretz, which is left on social and Arab-Israeli issues, has been polling pretty consistently at around 5 seats.

YACHAD (1) Eli Yishai (2) Yoni Chetboun (3) Michael Ayash (4) Baruch Marzel (5) Sasson Trebelsi. Yachad, only recently created as a split off from Shas, has been polling between 4 – 6 seats.

Other parties which are not expected to reach the threshold number of votes include the Green Party, the Green Leaf (legalize marijuana) Party, Rent with Honor Party, the Economics Party, a Charedi Women’s Party (called Ubezchutan) and even something called the Pirate Party. Gotta love Israelis.

JewishPress.com will post another primer once the elections reach the second phase: assembling the ruling coalition.

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.

New Poll: Shows Netanyahu Will Lead Next Gov’t with Haredim

Monday, December 22nd, 2014

A new pre-election poll issued on Monday leaves no option for the next government other than one headed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu with the help of Haredi parties.

Here is the lineup according to the “Panels” poll conducted the Knesset Channel :

Labor-Livni – 23

Likud – 21

Jewish Home – 16

Yesh Atid (Yair Lapid) – 11

Kulanu (Moshe Kahlon) – 9

Yisrael Beitenu – 7

Meretz – 7

Arab parties – 10

Yehadut HaTorah (Haredi) 7

Shas – 5

Eli Yishai – 4

The Labor party, headed by Yitzchak Herzog with his new sidekick Tzipi Livni, cannot form a majority the Haredi parties, which won’t happen unless it can convince two of four parties – Yair Lapid ,Yisrael Beiteinu’s Avigdor Lieberman and Meretz – to agree, which as likely as snow in July.

The center-right ring camp has less of a problem with the Haredi parties.

Adding up Likud, Jewish Home, Yisrael Beiteinu and Kahlon comes up with the non-magical number of 55, six less than the majority that is needed to form the government.

The three Haredi parties are in the driver’s seat for the time being, and if the results in March will be similar to those of today, they will dictate the terms of the next coalition.

If that happens, Lapid and Livni will rue the day they worked against the coalition of which they were a part.

The polls are not meaningless and actually are a factor in how people will vote. If voters see that the next government will be under the thumb of Haredi partiers, they might start shifting their votes.

Supporters of Yesh Atid and Labor-Livni might shift a bit to Kahlon, possibly enough to give Netanyahu a majority of 61 without the Haredi parties.

Herzog, Livni and Lapid have a problem because there is not much they can take from other parties.

Election Tidbits: Michael Oren, Rami Levi, Jewish Home and Shas

Monday, December 15th, 2014

Rabbis and Shas political leaders Monday morning failed in a last-ditch attempt so stop former party leader MK Eli Yishai from leaving Shas and setting up his own party, possibly with the support of the Jewish Home’s Tekuma faction, headed by Housing Minster Uri Ariel.

Chances to make peace between Yishai and Shas chairman Aryeh Deri were rated as very low, but there is more optimism in the Jewish Home party. However, Ariel gained an advantage with the announcement that a member of his faction, MK Yoni Chetboun, will not run for re-lection on the Jewish Home slate.

Party member and Tekuma colleague MK Orit Struk has said she will follow Ariel if he forms a new party or joins with Yishai. With Chetboun and Struk, Ariel will have the minimum of number of Jewish Home MKs needed to take along with them millions of shekels for funding their campaign.

Suspense still surrounds Moshe Kahlon’s new Kulanu party. He is courting Michael Oren, former Israeli Ambassador to the United States, who said two months ago he would not enter politics. If he does, he will have proven his credential to be a politician by not keeping his word.

Kahlon has scotched rumors that supermarket mogul Rami Levi will join his party, whose banner will be social justice.

Rami Levi supermarkets are known for having the lowest prices in the country but he also is known for fighting attempts to raise the minimum wage, which he pays to thousands of his workers.

 

 

 

Mobile Phone Rate-Buster Kachlon to Form New Party

Sunday, December 8th, 2013

Moshe Kachlon, the former Likud minister who busted the mobile phone oligarchy in Israel, announced on Sunday he is forming a new party to run in the next scheduled elections in 2017, assuming the current coalition holds together that long.

Kachlon resisted appeals from Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to run again in the previous elections a year ago. The former minister of communications won wide popularity by allowing mobile phone competition, which has brought user rates down by 90 percent.

His new party will be based on a  social-economic platform, the badge of the Labor party that has consistently disappointed its supporters by concerning itself more with intra-party strife than its platform. Labor, unlike Kahlon’s new party, also has been saddled weighed down with an obligation by tradition to oppose a strong Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria.

Kachlon’s support also will come from many who voted for Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party, which so far has done little to fulfill its promise of being the champion of the middle class.

Moshe Kahlon Stirring Up the Next Earthquake in Israel’s Elections

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

When Likud Minister of Communications, Welfare & Social Services Moshe Kahlon announced last week that he was staying off the ballot in his party’s upcoming primaries, the common explanation was that he didn’t think he could get himself into a realistic spot on the Likud candidates list, and preferred to quit while he was ahead.

In a government dedicated to making life easier for Business, Kahlon stood out as champion of the economic underdog. He was behind a bill to reduce electricity charges for poor families, and headed an inquiry into the impenetrable maze of Israeli bank fees. But he became an overnight minor messiah last year, when he issued permits to operators of virtual cellular phone services, creating real competition and bringing down rates by as much as 75%.

As Israelis erupted in the summer of 2011 with the “Cottage Cheese Protests,” occupying a section of gentrified South Tel Aviv along Sderot Rothschild, Kahlon, one of seven children of a family of oriental Jews, became Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s poster child for economic equality and bootstrapping innovation. Netanyahu famously told his cabinet ministers: “Be like Kahlon,” in finding inspired solutions to the economic travails of a large segment of Israeli society.

Late last week, while Netanyahu and Yisrael Beitenu leader, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman, were celebrating their earth-shattering union into a 42-seat juggernaut (which is expected to pick up between as many as 45 and as few as 35 seats in the next Knesset), rumors started floating (someone, obviously was floating them) that a new poll predicted 20 seats going Kahlon’s way should he head a new, social-reform oriented party.

Netanyahu appeared duly concerned by the news. During the Likud convention last Monday, Bibi grabbed his demure former poster child by the arm practically against his will, like Pepé Le Pew grabbing his beloved pussycat, declaring beamingly: “Moshe Kahlon has reassured me that he’s staying in the Likud.” At a Q&A in Élysée Palace, while French President François Hollande was looking on, Bibi dealt in similar fashion with the question regarding the possibility of a Kahlon exit, repeating his Monday’s statement almost verbatim.

This morning, it appears that Bibi’s worst nightmare is about to be realized, and this one could be a Sea change that would make the Likud Beitenu move seem like a parlor trick. According to Makor Rishon, retiring minister Moshe Kahlon has made a decision to return to political life after a two-week exile, and that he is about to announce very soon, maybe even today, Thursday, the creation of a new party.

Makor Rishon cites sources close to Kahlon who say he has been in contact with MK Rabbi Emil Haim Amsalem, who was expelled from Shas back in 2010 for entertaining some very unconventional views. Amsalem called on those who aren’t good enough scholars to become great Torah sages, and who have families that must be fed, to go to work, and not live on the dole. He also urged Haredim to enroll in National Service.

When Shas expelled the offending rabbi, they wanted their seat back, but he refused to oblige them and soon established the Whole Nation party (Am Shalem, a play on his last name). As a partner with Kahlon this moderate Haredi rabbi could prove to be an explosive vote getter, especially when confronting Shas’s new top man, Aryeh Deri, whose stint behind bars for a corruption conviction follows him wherever he goes.

As things stand this morning, Thursday, no announcements have been made by Kahlon, and the 20 seats the poll has awarded him so generously may have been born more by the frustration of old-time Likud members at the move to unite with Liberman, than a true measure of the popular communications minister’s strength. But speculations are starting to occupy the main headlines of Israel’s press, because Kahlon can truly capture the center with his economic-justice agenda in ways that others have not.

The polls show Kahlon getting his vote mainly from Likud, but also from Yair Lapid, Labor, Shas and even the leftist Meretz. And unlike all of the above, Kahlon enjoys the gravitas of a proven champion of social causes and a right-winger to boot.

Incidentally, the same Smith Institute poll that was ordered by Kahlon, gives his new party 27 seats should former Kadima leader Tzipi Livni join him, in which case Likud would receive only 30 seats.

Meanwhile, a brand new Mina Tzemach “Dahaf” poll shows that Labor with Kahlon in the number two spot ties Likud for first place with 32 seats each. This is the essence of the Sea change: with Kahlon out of the picture, according to Tzemach, Labor receives 23 seats, well behind Likud’s 37, and the right will hold 64 seats, compared to the left’s 56.

But if Kahlon does run, as part of Labor, it’s even Steven, with the right and the left each holding 60 seats.

And that’s when things typically get interesting in Israeli politics.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/moshe-kahlon-stirring-the-next-earthquake-in-israels-elections/2012/11/01/

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