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  1. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    17 Mar '15 14:23 / 2 edits
    I'm not going to do a whole primer as I did last time (http://www.redhotpawn.com/board/showthread.php?threadid=150916&page=1). You can see that if you want a small primer into the Israeli political system.

    Netanyahu's party (Likud) has been losing ground in the polls over the past couple of weeks. The speech to Congress could possibly have backfired as Israelis are wary of upsetting the US too much. Also, the economy and specifically the cost of living has been a big issue recently in Israel, and the people don't fully trust Netanyahu on economic policy.

    Anyway, exactly how many seats the 2 major parties (Netanyahu's Likud and the "Zionist Union" party (a fusion of the Isaac Herzog's traditional Labor party and Tzippi Livni's "Hatuna" party) isn't really the issue. The issue is whether the opposition can form a governing coalition. If Likud wins fewer seats than "Union," Netanyau can still be PM and stay in power if the opposition cannot form a government.

    So, here's what to watch for:

    - Latest polls have Likud winning about 21-22 seats in the 120 member Parliament with Union at 25 or 26. The parties were tied a couple of weeks ago, but polls have broken sharply against Netanyahu since his speech to Congress (ironic, isn't is?)

    - A key new dynamic in this election is that the Arab parties have joined together to form a single party called "United Arab List." While Arabs used to split their vote among left wing Israeli parties and the 3 or 4 smaller Arab parties, the Joint List, which may increase turnout among Israeli Arabs and prevent them from voting for Meretz or Labor (which they might otherwise do) has the United Arab List poised to become the 3rd largest party in the Parliament and can potentially allow them to become the Kingmaker. No Arab party has ever joined the ruling coalition and party leader Ayman Odeh has stated that they will not join the coalition this time either, but in Israeli politics, these sorts of promises are only good until they're not.

    The big question is whether the center-left can form a coalition of 61+ seats. Assuming they do well in the election, here is what the numbers look like:

    - Assume that Union wins 25 seats

    - Yesh Atid, behind Yair Lapid, will almost certainly agree to join a center-left government. They're polling at about 12 seats, for a running total of 37.

    - Meretz, the Israeli Green party, is certain to join any center-left coalition. Meretz should win 5-6 seats as they usually do. Let's give the opposition another 5 to be conservative. We're now at 42.

    - Kulanu is an interesting dynamic. Party leader Moshe Kahlon is known for left-leaning economic philosophies based on working class egalitarianism, but is also hawkish on security. Kulanu represents a possible target for a Herzog government. They're looking at 8-9 seats, so getting Kulanu in the camp means a total of at least 50 thus far.

    - This leaves the Joint Arab List. They're likely to pick up at least 12 or 13 seats, meaning that if they join the government, they can put the center-left over the top and topple Netanyahu.

    This would be an extremely fragile coalition, but it could be a coalition nonetheless.

    There are also the Ultra-Orthodox parties of Shass and United Torah Judaism (13-14 seats combined) who, in the past, have joined center-left governments in exchange for budgetary concessions. However, Lapid's Yesh Atid are blood enemies with the Ultra-Orthodox on issues such as yeshiva curricula and forcing the Ultra-Orthodox into the draft and so it's hard to imagine both of them in the same coalition.

    All other parties are fairly safely in the Netanyahu camp.

    Long story short, toppling Netanyahu will take some doing. Herzog and the Union will have to bowl a perfect score. They'll need to do well today AND either convince the Arab party to join the government OR somehow get Yesh Atid and the Ultra-Orthodox to share the same tent.

    As I'm getting seriously tired of Netanyahu, I hope they manage to do it.
  2. Standard member Quarl
    Quarl
    17 Mar '15 15:01
    Originally posted by sh76
    I'm not going to do a whole primer as I did last time (http://www.redhotpawn.com/board/showthread.php?threadid=150916&page=1). You can see that if you want a small primer into the Israeli political system.

    Netanyahu's party (Likud) has been losing ground in the polls over the past couple of weeks. The speech to Congress could possibly have backfired as Israe ...[text shortened]... hare the same tent.

    As I'm getting seriously tired of Netanyahu, I hope they manage to do it.
    If news stories recently seen are true, regarding Obama cohorts funneling US dollars into the process, this election is not Likud vs Labour Party, it is a contest between Netanyahu vs Obama.
  3. 17 Mar '15 16:31
    Originally posted by sh76
    I'm not going to do a whole primer as I did last time (http://www.redhotpawn.com/board/showthread.php?threadid=150916&page=1). You can see that if you want a small primer into the Israeli political system.

    Netanyahu's party (Likud) has been losing ground in the polls over the past couple of weeks. The speech to Congress could possibly have backfired as Israe ...[text shortened]... hare the same tent.

    As I'm getting seriously tired of Netanyahu, I hope they manage to do it.
    Your previous primer, and your post today, offer some insights into the differences, strengths and weaknesses, of Parliamentary style government. Personally, I don't see it as giving the voters any more choices than our own system.

    Moreover, and correct me if I am wrong, it seems that the office of Prime Minister combines, executive, and legislative power more than does the office of President, since a Prime Minister would not be elected with the opposition party (or an opposition party) controlling the legislature.
  4. Subscriber no1marauder
    It's Nice to Be Nice
    17 Mar '15 17:33
    Originally posted by sh76
    I'm not going to do a whole primer as I did last time (http://www.redhotpawn.com/board/showthread.php?threadid=150916&page=1). You can see that if you want a small primer into the Israeli political system.

    Netanyahu's party (Likud) has been losing ground in the polls over the past couple of weeks. The speech to Congress could possibly have backfired as Israe ...[text shortened]... hare the same tent.

    As I'm getting seriously tired of Netanyahu, I hope they manage to do it.
    Interesting comment from Netanyahu:

    “The right-wing government is in danger. Arab voters are coming out in droves to the polls. Left-wing organizations are busing them out,”

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/cheats/2015/03/17/bibi-arabs-votes-put-right-in-danger.html
  5. 17 Mar '15 17:40
    Originally posted by normbenign
    Your previous primer, and your post today, offer some insights into the differences, strengths and weaknesses, of Parliamentary style government. Personally, I don't see it as giving the voters any more choices than our own system.

    Moreover, and correct me if I am wrong, it seems that the office of Prime Minister combines, executive, and legislative po ...[text shortened]... d not be elected with the opposition party (or an opposition party) controlling the legislature.
    Yeah, choosing between two basically identical parties with minor differences on social issues is almost the same as choosing between a dozen or so parties ranging from hardline nationalists and religious fundamentalists to parties representing ethnic minorities to centrist parties focusing on economic issues.
  6. 17 Mar '15 17:49
    Originally posted by Quarl
    If news stories recently seen are true, regarding Obama cohorts funneling US dollars into the process, this election is not Likud vs Labour Party, it is a contest between Netanyahu vs Obama.
    If they really are taking Arabs to vote by the bus load, then the side getting Obama support has learned other things from Obama.

    If you want to destroy a country, bring in people who hate it and get them to vote for you!
  7. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    17 Mar '15 18:40
    Originally posted by no1marauder
    Interesting comment from Netanyahu:

    “The right-wing government is in danger. Arab voters are coming out in droves to the polls. Left-wing organizations are busing them out,”

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/cheats/2015/03/17/bibi-arabs-votes-put-right-in-danger.html
    He sounds like a man desperate to energize his base. The comment about changing his mind on a 2 state solution is similarly desperate. Hie behavior has been completely unbecoming and is becoming embarrassing.
  8. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    17 Mar '15 18:42
    Originally posted by normbenign
    Your previous primer, and your post today, offer some insights into the differences, strengths and weaknesses, of Parliamentary style government. Personally, I don't see it as giving the voters any more choices than our own system.

    Moreover, and correct me if I am wrong, it seems that the office of Prime Minister combines, executive, and legislative po ...[text shortened]... d not be elected with the opposition party (or an opposition party) controlling the legislature.
    You're certainly correct that the PM is a cross between an executive and a legislator and has elements of both functions.

    His Executive power is not complete as Ministers (who are often from other parties) are not completely under his control. So, his executive authority is not as powerful as a US President's.
  9. Subscriber no1marauder
    It's Nice to Be Nice
    17 Mar '15 19:36 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by sh76
    He sounds like a man desperate to energize his base. The comment about changing his mind on a 2 state solution is similarly desperate. Hie behavior has been completely unbecoming and is becoming embarrassing.
    Did you ever believe that he would have ever accepted any two State solution that would have had ANY chance of Palestinian approval? He set impossible conditions in 2009 while never suggesting that Judea and Samaria were not legitimately part of Israel:

    Palestinians must truly recognize Israel as the state of the Jewish people. The second principle is demilitarization. Any area in Palestinian hands has to be demilitarization, with solid security measures. Without this condition, there is a real fear that there will be an armed Palestinian state which will become a terrorist base against Israel, as happened in Gaza. We do not want missiles on Petah Tikva, or Grads on the Ben-Gurion international airport. We want peace. (Applause) And, to ensure peace we don't want them to bring in missiles or rockets or have an army, or control of airspace, or make treaties with countries like Iran, or Hezbollah. There is broad agreement on this in Israel. We cannot be expected to agree to a Palestinian state without ensuring that it is demilitarized. This is crucial to the existence of Israel - we must provide for our security needs.

    This is why we are now asking our friends in the international community, headed by the USA, for what is necessary for our security, that in any peace agreement, the Palestinian area must be demilitarized. No army, no control of air space. Real effective measures to prevent arms coming in, not what's going on now in Gaza. The Palestinians cannot make military treaties.

    Without this, sooner or later, we will have another Hamastan. We can't agree to this. Israel must govern its own fate and security. I told President Obama in Washington, if we get a guarantee of demilitarization, and if the Palestinians recognize Israel as the Jewish state, we are ready to agree to a real peace agreement, a demilitarized Palestinian state side by side with the Jewish state. (Applause)

    Whenever we discuss a permanent arrangement, Israel needs defensible borders with Jerusalem remaining the united capital of Israel. (Applause)

    The territorial issues will be discussed in a permanent agreement. Till then we have no intention to build new settlements or set aside land for new settlements.

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/full-text-of-netanyahu-s-foreign-policy-speech-at-bar-ilan-1.277922

    The last sentence was, of course, a brazen lie. But the entire idea of a State which cannot have an army or control its own air space isn't a "two State solution" as both are integral components of sovereignty. Netanyahu and the Israeli Right have no interest in a two State solution. His comments and those of his Foreign Minister make clear they regard even Israeli citizens of Arab nationality as enemies. His largest coalition partner proposes outright annexation of over 60% of the West Bank.

    Let's be serious; he isn't saying anything that everybody didn't already know.
  10. 17 Mar '15 21:41
    http://www.timesofisrael.com/ballot-stations-open-as-israelis-choose-new-leadership/
  11. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    17 Mar '15 22:18
    Exit polls show that Likud and Zionist Union each with about 27 seats, a very strong showing for Netanyahu. But the rub is where the extra Likud voters came from. We'll have to see how the secondary parties do.

    All in all, this looks like a strong day for the Israeli right. I can't say that pleases me very much. If Netanyahu perceives that he was rewarded for taking a super-hawkish line in the last 2 weeks, it's hard to be optimistic for the near term.
  12. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    17 Mar '15 22:27
    Kulanu's Moshe Kahlon is now the kingmaker one way or the other.

    The only issue is who gets first "official" crack at him. Whichever party gets more seats gets the first chance to build a coalition and thus the first chance to buy him off.

    Kahlon is expected to take the Finance portfolio given his centrist positioning, which put him in the king-making position between the Zionist Union’s Isaac Herzog and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, of Likud.

    Netanyahu went so far as to already promise him the position before the election.

    Both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Zionist Union's Isaac Herzog spoke with Kahlon following the publication of the first surveys, but Kahlon said he would not make any decisions until at least Thursday, when the final election results are published.


    http://www.jpost.com/Israel-Elections/With-9-10-seats-Kingmaker-Kahlon-expected-to-take-Finance-Ministry-394230

    Good news is that there's a bit of a spat between Kahlon and Likud.

    The voting day began with a minor scandal.

    Central Elections Committee Judge Salim Joubran fined Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party NIS 20,000 over a recording of Kahlon expressing support for Likud.

    The party distributed the recording to potential voters on Monday evening, but Joubran ordered the group to halt using the recording at Kulanu's request, saying it was a blatant attempt to deceive the electorate

    Kahlon called the recording "criminal," saying it was a forgery, and promised to seek a criminal investigation into it.

    "We are pleased that Judge Joubran stopped the Likud from continuing to distribute this untruthful recording," the party said. "It is sad that the LIkud party, in a moment of desperation, chooses to deceive the public."
  13. 17 Mar '15 22:32
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    Yeah, choosing between two basically identical parties with minor differences on social issues is almost the same as choosing between a dozen or so parties ranging from hardline nationalists and religious fundamentalists to parties representing ethnic minorities to centrist parties focusing on economic issues.
    I realize that you favor parliamentary government, but instead of haranguing about the faults of the American system, which most admit to, try to show how the parliamentary system offers something better. Both tend to blend or look to coalitions, and compromises, the present election in Israel illuminating this perfectly. I get that voters are more likely to find a candidate of their liking, but in the end does it really tend to be more satisfying, or end in better results?
  14. Standard member Quarl
    Quarl
    17 Mar '15 23:28
    Originally posted by Quarl
    If news stories recently seen are true, regarding Obama cohorts funneling US dollars into the process, this election is not Likud vs Labour Party, it is a contest between Netanyahu vs Obama.
    Seems results are in: Netanyahu - 1 / Obama - nil
  15. 17 Mar '15 23:53
    Originally posted by sh76
    I'm not going to do a whole primer as I did last time (http://www.redhotpawn.com/board/showthread.php?threadid=150916&page=1). You can see that if you want a small primer into the Israeli political system.

    Netanyahu's party (Likud) has been losing ground in the polls over the past couple of weeks. The speech to Congress could possibly have backfired as Israe ...[text shortened]... hare the same tent.

    As I'm getting seriously tired of Netanyahu, I hope they manage to do it.
    Thank you for a cogent report.