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April 1, 2015 / 12 Nisan, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘voting’

Three Arrested for Stealing Yachad Voting Slips

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

Police arrested three people, one in Jerusalem’s Ramat Shlomo neighborhood, one in Beit Shemesh and another in the town of Kochav Yaacov after the suspects removed all the Yachad voting slips from voting booth.

The Yachad party reports that their slips have been removed from dozens of voting stations.

In Israel, voting is done by inserting a slip of paper representing the party you want into an envelope, and then inserting the envelope into the voting box. By removing all the slips, it would be impossible, for a short time at least, to vote for that party.

Needless to say, interfering with the ability for a voting process is illegal.

In addition, it appears a straw party was created, represented by the letters “נץ” in polling stations. The Yachad party used “קף”.

But in the previous election, the party Baruch Marzel was a member of, Otzma L’Yisrael, used “נץ”, implying that this party may have been set up by an opponent solely to confuse voters.

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.

Deja Vu

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2014

Understanding Israel’s ‘Deal System’

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

This is part IV in a series about the Likud’s Knesset list and its primaries, which were held November 25-26th. The previous articles (here, here, and here) dealt with the claims by the media that the Likud had, as a result of the recent primaries shifted to the extreme right. I explained how these claims were out of touch with reality: The Likud list remained very similar to that of 2008. Ideologically right-leaning candidates did very well, but so did non-ideological or media-acceptable candidates.

All in all, only five sitting Members of Knesset did not achieve “secure” spots on the list. The common denominator between all three was not a lack of extremism or Leftist policy (only two were supporters of Palestinian statehood), but a general lack of campaigning and public activism.

One claim made by some commentators, however,  had some validity. It was that there was a “deal system” in place.

This is not unique to the Likud. It pervades the entire Israeli political system. Consider, for example, the fact that the government in Israel is formed through negotiations and haggling over ministries, budgets and policies. Contrast that with the U.S. system in which after the president is elected, he chooses his cabinet with the consent of the Senate and then presents a budget to congress for approval. There is much less haggling that goes on because the President has already one the election and his appointments can’t jeopardize that. Of course, negotiation, compromise and deals are inseparable from the political process, but in a party-list system, deal-making is the primary feature. (Note: a “party-list” system should not be confused with a parliamentary system, which can be a district/constituency system, a party-list system or a combination of the two).

The deal-making that some pundits referred to was the fact that certain candidates and power-factions in the Likud made cross-endorsement deals to ensure mutual success. Thus, for example, Moshe Feiglin and two high ranking, but non-ideological Likud members, Silvan Shalom and Yisrael Katz were reported to have made such an agreement. Gilad Erdan and Gideon Sa’ar were said to be working together. Other nationalist candidates like Yariv Levin and Kety Shitreet were also said to receive support from Feiglin.

Technically, candidates in a party primary are competitors, each one striving for more votes than the others in order to get a higher ranking on the party’s list of candidates for the parliament. Throughout most of their term, Members of Knesset in the same party are in fact locked in this sort of popularity contest. But come the primaries themselves, in practice, the candidates don’t remain in complete competition. At that point, candidates join together, either completely or to a limited degree, often in odd ways to ensure mutual success.

Because voters can choose a number of candidates – in the Likud primaries, voters could choose 12 national candidates and one district candidate – candidates can make cross-endorsement deals which will ensure those who are part of the deal receive a great deal more votes then they could have if they ran on their own.

Three voting lists distributed during the Likud primaries in Jerusalem. Close inspection reveals that the list of recommended candidates is different on each, meaning that the particular vote-contractor who distributed these gave large numbers of votes to more than 12 candidates, making him popular among a great many of the Likud’s list. These were just three I picked up off the floor at the end of the voting. Who knows how many different lists were distributed and what deals were made with whom for each set of votes given to each candidate.  

Let’s say, for instance, that Candidate A has 2000 supporters within the party, while Candidate B also has 2000, and Candidate C has 3000. Candidates A and B can join forces, asking their supporters to vote for both of them, providing each of them with 4000 votes, beating out Candidate C even though he is more popular than each of them separately. With a total of 12+1 votes, the possibilities for deals between the candidates abound. Add to the mix interest groups who control large swaths of votes, who can not only support certain candidates but can trade support with other interest groups or candidates in exchange for votes for their favored candidate, the system becomes vastly more complicated.

Likud Primary Results and Voting in Israel

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

(((CLICK BELOW TO HEAR AUDIO)))

Yishai broadcasts from Jerusalem’s International Convention Center while waiting for Malkah to vote in the Likud primaries.  While waiting on line (or is it in line?) Yishai interviews Daniel Tauber, who is running in the Likud list.  Together, they talk about the core values of the Likud party and how they also discuss some of the candidates that are on the list and which would work best for Israel.  Back in the studio, Yishai and Malkah discuss Malkah’s experience with actually voting in the primaries and how system issues were continually causing delays during the voting process.

Yishai Fleisher on Twitter: @YishaiFleisher
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The Problem with Haredi Magazines

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

Mishpacha and Ami Magazines are competitors. They both seek to serve the same populations. They are virtually identical in Hashkafa – which is decidedly Charedi. How Charedi are they? Well neither of them will show a picture of a woman no matter how Tzanua (modestly dressed) she is. Even if she were wearing a Burka. That’s pretty Charedi.

At the same time they both seek as broad-based an Orthodox readership as they can find. Thus they will feature very positive articles on both the Satmar Rebbe and Rav Hershel Shachter of Yeshiva University.

While I believe they are both absolutely wrong in excluding pictures of Tzanua women – I applaud them for their broad based approach to Orthodoxy. There are many informative articles and weekly columns by talented writers in both magazines. But all is not rosy. I often find things in these magazines which are truly maddening. This week both magazines had articles like that.

In what was an otherwise very positive story in Ami about how the Jewish community’s extraordinary efforts in alleviating the pain of those who have suffered – and are still suffering – the after effects of Superstorm Sandy, there was one little blurb that bothered me. It read as follows: “The Rosh Yeshiva gave us a Psak to help anyone who asked.”

On the surface that sounds wonderful. The Rosh Yeshiva is Rav Reuven Feinstein. He of course said the right thing. Now the Yeshiva students who were working so hard helping their fellow Jews could also help to alleviate the plight of non Jews suffering the same fate.

Really? They had to ask a Shaila? Did they think that if a non Jew desperate for some help – they should tell him, “No”? “Sorry, we can’t help you”? “We can only help Jews”?

That too is a Shaila? What kind of Chinuch do these young Jewish students get that causes them to hesitate in feeding a fellow human being in need? The implication is obvious. Had they not been able to ask a Shaila and a non Jew desperate for food – saw these boys handing ou t food and asked for some himself, they may very well have refused them until they asked a Shaila. Can there be a greater Chilul HaShem than that?

Now I don’t know if they didn’t “shoot first and ask questions later”. Maybe they did feed the needy non Jew and merely wondered if they were doing the right thing. But even that is ridiculous. A fellow human being needs food to survive – you give it to him. Did they think God would punish them for doing so?

There is something terribly wrong with Charedi Jewish education if it does not make obvious the absolute requirement to help your fellow man in these circumstances.

On a completely different subject – this week’s column in Mishpacha by Eitan Kobre really got me upset. In yet another in what seems to be a never ending assault on the President by right wing pundits, Mr. Kobre goes to town on how stupid the black community in Washington DC is for voting for the President.

I am going to stop short of calling Mr. Kobre a racist. I don’t think he is. After all in using economist Thomas Sowell – a black man – to bolster his opinion it is kind of hard to say that he is prejudiced against black people.

But still there does seem to be a subtle prejudice that is hard to prove. He is not castigating all black people. Just those who voted for the President. Which – if I recall correctly – was well over 90%. He attributes this to voting racial pride rather than voting for what’s good for you. As an example of that he points to the fact that Republicans advocate vouchers which – where they have been used – has benefited the black community immensely. I believe that many black people endorse vouchers. And yet they voted for a President that will never implement them and instead will continue funneling money into the black hole of the public school system.

But is it really so surprising that people will vote their racial or ethnic pride – choosing that over someone whose substantive positions have proven to be more beneficial to them? How many Jews vote for the Jewish candidate because he is Jewish? Are Jews stupid too? Besides – are vouchers the only thing to base one’s vote upon?

To be clear, I have no problem with Mr. Kobre’s arch conservative politics. Although I am more of a centrist than a political conservative, I tend to lean a bit more toward the conservative approach. So politically we are not that far apart.

But to bash the President as if he were some sort of socialist “Robin Hood” interested in taking from the rich via taxes and giving it away to the poor via an enormous increase in entitlement programs – is taking the criticism to a new low. Mr. Kobre may not have used those terms in his column. But that is clearly how he thinks of the President. (Not that he’s alone. As I said Thomas Sowell agrees with him. As do many conservative pundits. In fact Rush Limbaugh makes Mr. Kobre look liberal by comparison.)

I do not recall this kind of criticism made against any other Democratic President. Nor even against a democratic candidate for President. Is he the most left leaning President or Presidential candidate in recent history? You would think he was the second coming of Karl Marx if one looks at the sheer venom of some critics. While I wouldn’t go that far with Mr. Kobre’s criticism, there does seem to be an inordinate amount of dislike for the man that goes beyond politics.

Like I said, I do not accuse Mr. Kobre of being a racist. And yet he goes to extraordinary lengths to foment hatred of the man by the Jewish people. Why else did he once again make reference to the Reverend Jeremiah Wright?! What was his point here other than to somehow connect the President to Wright’s rabid anti Israel stance?

And all this in the face of the President’s unqualified support of Israel’s bombing raids in Gaza. I wonder how Reverend Wright characterized it?

Adding insult to injury – that Mr. Kobre wrote this article and that Mishpacha published it before there was a cease fire and while Hamas was still firing rockets at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem make it even more egregious. Especially since it was the Obama administration’s financial investment in the Iron Dome Defense system which prevented the kind of carnage that would surely have ensued had it not been there! If anything Mr. Kobre should be thanking the president profusely instead of calling black people stupid for voting for him.

Come on Eytan. You can do better than that!

Visit Emes Ve-Emunah.

Netanyahu Forced to the Right by his Rank and File

Monday, November 26th, 2012

The Final Top-20 List

1. Gideon Sa’ar
2. Gilad Erdan
3. Silvan Shalom
4. Israel Katz
5. Danny Danon
6. Reuven Rivlin
7. Moshe Ya’alon
8. Zeev Elkin
9. Yariv Levin
10. Yuli-Yoel Edelstein
11. Haim Katz
12. Tzipi Hotovely
13. Miri Regev
14. Moshe Feiglin
15. Yuval Steinitz
16. Tzahi Hanegbi
17. Limor Livnat
18. Ofir Akunis
19. Gila Gamliel
20. Carmel Shama Hacohen

Dan Meridor, Michael Eitan, Avi Dichter and Benny Begin are out.

11:35 PM: The left wing of Likud was taken out of commission tonight, as well as Benny Begin, a right-winger who was ousted, most likely, for his support of obeying the Supreme Court in its decision on uprooting the community of Migron. It is important, however, to keep in mind that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is also the Chairman of the Likud party, has some freedom to rearrange some of the names on the list, in light of other considerations, such as realistic spots that must be reserved for women, immigrants, and minorities. Also, in the process of merging the Likud list with FM Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu, Netanyahu may be able to move some of the names around with the support of the Likud election committee — as he has done in past elections.

But there is no doubt that the Likud has moved to the right, although the five men at the top of the list are more centrist than most of the men and women behind them in the top 20.

Certainly, it will be more difficult for Netanyahu to pursue a 2-state solution with this list in his camp, and certainly to form a coalition government with Labor or anyone from the left.

One unintended victim of the victory of the Likud’s right wing is expected to be the newly cobbled Jewish-Home / National Union list, which only two days ago received 14 seats by public opinion polls. The NRP list, headed by Naftali Bennet, was banking on religious Likud voters expressing their resentment at Netanyahu’s record on the settlements and the Gaza operation by voting NRP. Now, with names like Feiglin, Hotovely, Regev and Danon starring in the new Likud list, those voters are as likely to award their votes to a large, soundly right-wing party, instead of gambling on the national religious camp.

10:42 PM: Channel 2 has predicted that long-serving MKs and Likud ministers Dan Meridor and Benny Begin have not scored a realistic spot on the Likud list.

Knesset Chairman Reuven Rivlin in First Place. Transport Minister Haim Katz is in the top five. Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar not in the top five.

Because of the “shidduch” with FM Avigdor Liberman’s Israel Beiteinu, a realistic spot tonight is anything less than the 20th spot. This is because the two lists will merge in a “zipper” formation, or, if you will, alternate feed. This means that of the 35 “good” spots, only 20 will go to the Likud.

10:17 PM: In conversation with Walla, Jewish Leadership candidate Moshe Feiglin agreed that he has changed his tactics this time around, from “revolutionary” to “evolutionary” changes. He said he expected to win a realistic spot on the Likud list. When asked how many supporters he had managed to bring out, Feiglin answered: “many.”

The vote count, supervised by a judge, has begun.

10:05 PM: Moshe Feiglin is the star of the evening, as the TV cameras are following his every move. After many years in which his election to realistic spots on the Likud list have been suppressed, Feiglin appears to have made it.

9:05 PM: Channel 2 News cites a mega Deal between Transport Minister Chayim Katz (Aviation Industry) and Moshe Feiglin (Jewish Leadership) which appear to be cashing in on their superior organizations.

The extension of the vote today was an attempt on the part of the powers that be in Likud to try and change the outcome, which appears destined to favor the pro-settlement wing of the party. Some rumors have blamed those same powers that be for the delays and the dysfunctional computer tally system.

8:50 PM: There is a general expectation tonight of turmoil, if not a tsunami, in the Likud. Since this morning, on the second day of voting in the Likud primary elections, declared last night because of irregularities and long lines at the polls, voting percentages were far lower than expected. In the first 6 hours of voting today, the polls received only about 3.5% of the electorate, compared to around 53% yesterday. So far, some 70 thousand have voting, or approximately 57% of the registered Likud members. Party officials now fear that the low percentage may mean a dramatic change in the list of chosen candidates.

According to Israel’s Channel 2 News, some Likud officials estimate that the more right-wing members, who are also better organized, have increase their strength in the current elections. According to some estimates, a number of MKs, including government ministers, may have been ejected from the list.

Two polls in Judea and Samaria which hadn’t opened to the public all day were the reason today’s vote was extended by one hour, to 10 PM.

We’ll keep you posted.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/dramatic-surprises-expected-at-likud-vote-count-senior-ministers-dropped-by-primary-voters/2012/11/26/

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