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May 27, 2015 / 9 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Shas’

Likud Begins Coalition Building

Wednesday, March 18th, 2015

The Likud has begun the process of building a coalition.

PM Benjamin Netanyahu said that reality isn’t taking a break, and the citizens of Israel expect to quickly have a government.

Netanyahu’s goal is to have a government formed within the next 2 to 3 weeks.

Netanyahu has already spoken with all the party leaders he plans to invite to join in his coalition, including: Naftali Bennett (Bayyit Yehudi), Moshe Kachlon (Kulanu), Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu), Aryeh Deri (Shas) and Yaakov Litzman and Moshe Gafni (UTJ).

Earlier today, Labor chief Yitzchak Herzog called up Netanyahu to congratulate him on his victory.

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.

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 …

Aryeh Deri – Shas Will Expel Jews From Their Homes [video]

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

In a Channel 20 interview, Shas party chief Aryeh Deri tried to explain to the interviewer that on national issues, the positions of Shas are very far away from the positions of the Left.

Deri explains that he is against dividing Jerusalem and he is against uprooting large settlements, though he is for a political process [with the Palestinian Authority].

The interviewer then asks Aryeh Deri about uprooting small settlements.

Aryeh Deri responds that yes, he is for uprooting “isolated” Jewish communities.

Will Deri and Shas support expelling 10,000 “isolated” Jews from their homes? 20,000? 30,000? What’s his upper limit?

As the infamous quote says, “We established what you are, now we’re just haggling over the price.”

Watch and weep: (video may take a few seconds to load)

Post by ‎ערוץ 20‎.

Shas Activist Stabbed by Arab After Campaigning in Galilee

Monday, March 9th, 2015

A Shas Sephardic party activist was stabbed Sunday night after leaving a fund-raising parlor meeting at a Galilee village in northern Israel.

Michael Illouz was lightly wounded after being stabbed four times by an Arab attacker after he left the meeting in the village of Ein Mahal.

Illouz is the party’s liaison to the Arab Community; the suspected attacker is a resident of the village but an investigation is still ongoing to determine motive.

Shas has long been supported by the Arab Israeli sector due to the numerous issues the two voting blocs have in common, in particular, the issues of social services and child subsidies for large families.

The attacker tried to stab the Shas activist in the chest repeatedly, according to his son Yechiel, who spoke with the Hebrew-language NRG news site. “He suffered cuts to his hands and is now under care at Rambam Hospital [in Haifa].”

Shas party chairman Aryeh Deri called on Israel Police to “do everything possible to arrest the attacker. It is unacceptable that in a democratic state violence can be allowed to decide an election,” Deri said.

New Poll Gives Herzog-Livni 3-Seat Lead but no Coalition

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015

The Likud party lost two Knesset seats and now would win only 21, compared with 24 for the Herzog-Livni “Zionist Camp,” according to a new poll published Wednesday and carried out by the highly reliable Panel Politics for the Knesset Channel.

Yesh Atid, led by Yair Lapid, jumped up to 13 seats, along with the new United Arab List, and Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) is in neutral with 12 projected Knesset Members.

It is not clear where Lapid’s two seats went unless there are supporters of Netanyahu who would drift to Lapid. The other parties are holding steady, with Kulanu, headed by Moshe Kahlon, at eight seats, Shas and Yehadut HaTorah at seven seats each, Meretz with six, Yisrael Beiteinu with five and Yachad squeaking by with the minimum four mandates.

Lapid has said he will not sit in a coalition with Shas. Yisrael Beiteinu will not sit in a leftist coalition. That leaves Yitzchak Herzog and Tzipi Livni, who would be rotating prime ministers if they form the next government, with Meretz, Yesh Atid, and Kulanu as potential partners. Even if YeHadut HaTorah were to join and Lapid would not go ballistic, Herzog and Livni would have only 58 seats, three less than a majority.

The Arab List is not going to join, and if it did, Kulanu and YeHadut HaTorah would drop out. The best it can for Herzog and Livni is give it a security blanket on critical votes, but that would last for perhaps a day, maybe even two days.

Netanyahu can count on the Haredi parties, Yisrael Beiteinu, Kulanu, Bayit Yehudi and Yachad for a total of 64.

The big question mark is whether Yachad can win enough votes to enter the Knesset. If not, its ballots will go in the trash and larger parties would gain.

Another unknown factor is yesterday’s speech in Congress by Netanyahu, who is likely to gain one or two seats in the next poll.

Elections are on Wednesday in two weeks.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/new-poll-gives-herzog-livni-3-seat-lead-but-no-coalition/2015/03/04/

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