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Israeli Elections 2015: It's Everyone Vs. Netanyahu

World  (tags: Israel, Netanyahu, elections, government, freedoms, interesting, politics, society, middle-east, news, ethics, world )

- 1508 days ago -
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opened his election campaign Tuesday night with a televised speech in which he detailed, at excessive length, all his woes as head of a nasty government full of ministers who insulted him, provoked him and plotted a...


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Carrie B (306)
Wednesday December 3, 2014, 4:38 pm

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opened his election campaign Tuesday night with a televised speech in which he detailed, at excessive length, all his woes as head of a nasty government full of ministers who insulted him, provoked him and plotted a “putsch” against him. He described how they forced him to approve the zero-VAT bill and to approve criminal sanctions on draft-dodging yeshiva students.

We, in our innocence, thought he was strong. But on Tuesday night, we discovered we have a battered premier. His description sounded so wretched that we wanted to pat him on the head and comfort him.

Being the savviest politician around, Netanyahu took two steps over the last two days that essentially dictated the political chain of events. Monday night, there was the hazing he gave Finance Minister Yair Lapid at their meeting. And Tuesday afternoon, he fired both Lapid and Justice Minister Tzipi Livni, the leaders of two coalition parties.

It’s not clear why Lapid and Livni, who coordinate closely, didn’t resign Tuesday morning. Lapid surely should have resigned immediately after his humiliation Monday night.

Here’s a possible explanation: Livni and Netanyahu met at about noon Tuesday. Later that afternoon, Livni told various people she’d gotten the (mistaken) impression that Netanyahu didn’t want new elections – an impression she presumably shared with Lapid. So why resign?

In truth, it’s hard to blame Netanyahu for deciding to end the sorry joke known as his third government. This isn’t the government he wanted; it was forced on him. Lapid and Livni were bones in his throat, as he was in theirs. Now, they’re all free of each other.

The campaign opened with a tactical advantage to Netanyahu: He attacked first, they defended. But last night, some bad omens emerged: Polls published by television channels 2 and 10 found that most Israelis blame the government’s collapse on him, and most also consider new elections a waste. People don’t understand why this country, with all its problems, needs another election just two years after the last.

Netanyahu previewed his campaign Tuesday night: Anyone who wants a strong, stable, functioning government must vote for his Likud party. Like all the other players, he understands that the main question in this election is whether he deserves a fourth term. In the coming months, everyone will attack him – from the right, the center and of course the left. He’ll take fire from all sides.

And he has a problem: He has no banner to wave in this campaign. Iran will soon be nuclear. Hamas wasn’t defeated. The economy, as he himself admitted Tuesday, is in a bad shape, “due to Lapid.” Terror has resumed – and in Jerusalem, our united capital, of all places. Europe is turning against us, relations with the American president are at a nadir and the “peace process” is a bad joke, even if that’s not solely his fault.

In this situation, all Netanyahu could offer the public Tuesday night was memories of his previous government. And indeed, that government undeniably contained many high-quality, experienced, effective people: Ehud Barak, Dan Meridor, Benny Begin, Michael Eitan, Gideon Sa’ar, Moshe Kahlon. But aside from the latter, who plans to head his own party this time around, none of those gentlemen will be in Netanyahu’s next government, if there is one: All have left politics, for well-known reasons. Netanyahu will be stuck with Habayit Hayehudi and the ultra-Orthodox.

Speaking of the ultra-Orthodox, at the Knesset Monday afternoon, an influential “source” in United Torah Judaism predicted that when Netanyahu met Lapid Monday night, he would propose that they scrap the zero-VAT bill and put the 3 billion shekels ($760 million) saved thereby to better use, like reducing value-added tax on staple foods. A few hours later, Netanyahu’s office released a press statement saying exactly that.

In short, the ultra-Orthodox, who coordinate with Netanyahu as closely as Jerusalem does with Washington on defense, knew how the coalition crisis would end. Mentally, they’re already in the next government.

The one who displayed stunning amateurism was Lapid. He missed all the warning signs and flashing red lights and walked straight into the ambush Netanyahu set for him. Didn’t he realize where their meeting Monday night was headed?

His associates say he figured it out minutes after the meeting began. So why didn’t he take the initiative, summon the media and make a statement blaming the government’s collapse on Netanyahu? That’s what an experienced politician would have done.

As for Netanyahu, he unblushingly included housing prices and the cost of living among his reasons for dissolving the government. But when, in the last 20 months, has he done anything about these issues? He’s held more cabinet meetings on Ebola than the cost of living. Yet suddenly he wants Lapid to abandon his flagship economic project, the zero-VAT bill, after Netanyahu and the entire cabinet voted for it? It was patently just an excuse – and a lame one.

Past Member (0)
Wednesday December 3, 2014, 5:45 pm
And not a contender yet in sight!

fly b (26)
Wednesday December 3, 2014, 8:33 pm
great title for the post. thks Carrie
nuttyahoo on a rage, as usual.

Darren Woolsey (218)
Thursday December 4, 2014, 1:08 am
Why doesn't he just damn well retire. . .

Arild Gone for now (174)
Thursday December 4, 2014, 3:40 am
I predict that we'll have months of BS from all sides in this battle.

Past Member (0)
Thursday December 4, 2014, 5:48 am
Well Duh!!!! Would any competitor be FOR Bibi??? What an inane title!! LOL!!!
Nearest competitor = 17% of vote in the polls.

Lona Goudswaard (66)
Thursday December 4, 2014, 11:26 am
Yes, Barbara, not a contender in yet sight. Our point exactly! But unlike you, we are all saddened by that prospect which doesn't bode well for the future of Israel, the Jews, but last of all for that of the Palestinians.

William Moorman (22)
Thursday December 4, 2014, 12:00 pm
monkey see, monkey do

Stephen Brian (23)
Thursday December 4, 2014, 1:25 pm
It's everybody against Netanyahu ... except the three leading parties which collectively poll at 53 / 120 seats right now. Arab parties, which generally cannot ally with any coalition because their ideologies are too divergent, poll at 9 / 120, and ultra-Orthodox poll at a few seats as well. It looks like the outcome of the election will just be Netanyahu not having any opponents at all within his coalition.

Malla M. (0)
Thursday December 4, 2014, 2:13 pm
Countdown to Election Day:

Lois Jordan (63)
Thursday December 4, 2014, 2:31 pm
Noted. Thanks, Carrie. Netanyahu is really taking a hard line here.....pretty dictatorial---my way or the highway. That never bodes well.

Roger G (148)
Thursday December 4, 2014, 2:41 pm
noted, thanks

Gary L (138)
Thursday December 4, 2014, 2:57 pm
the butcher bibi must go on trial for war crimes

Stan B (123)
Thursday December 4, 2014, 6:53 pm
Thanks for some facts rather than uninformed nonsense thanks Stephen.

Past Member (0)
Friday December 5, 2014, 7:27 am

Jeannet Bertelink (74)
Friday December 5, 2014, 12:30 pm
Noted, thanks

Bruce C D (89)
Friday December 5, 2014, 1:38 pm
Like Livni, Lapid slammed Netanyahu’s decision for early elections, attacking the cost of 2 billion shekels ($500 million), and calling instead for a more robust social welfare component to Israel’s budget. Both Lapid and Livni strongly opposed the government’s steps toward supporting new settlements in the West Bank.

'Post' poll: 60% of Israelis don't want Netanyahu anymore

According to the survey results, Likud would garner 26 seats, which would be five seats less than it won in 2013 when it ran on a joint ticket with Yisrael Beytenu, but still comfortably ahead of the poll’s predicted biggest gainer — the hawkish Jewish Home.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s chances of coasting to an easy victory in the March 17 election took a surprising hit on Thursday when a Panels Research poll taken for The Jerusalem Post and its Hebrew sister newspaper, Ma’ariv Sof Hashavua, found that a hefty majority of Israelis want him to lose.

The poll, taken on Wednesday among 500 respondents representing a statistical sample of the adult population, indicated that the election could end up being close and assumptions that Netanyahu cannot be defeated may be incorrect.

It asked respondents whether they want Netanyahu to remain prime minister after the vote. Sixty percent said no, 34% said yes, and 6% did not know.

The poll asked about several party leaders and asked respondents whom they would prefer one-on-one if there were direct elections for prime minister.

In a head-to-head race between Netanyahu and former welfare and social services minister Moshe Kahlon, 46% preferred Kahlon, 36% Netanyahu and 18% did not know. Between Netanyahu and former interior minister Gideon Sa’ar, 43% said Sa’ar, 38% Netanyahu and 19% did not know.

Likud activists revealed on Thursday that Sa’ar is considering making a political comeback just three months after announcing at a pre-Rosh Hashana toast that he was taking a break from politics.

He is mulling running against Netanyahu in the January 6 Likud leadership race, they said. Sa’ar declined to comment.

Opposition leader Isaac Herzog of Labor was almost tied with Netanyahu in the poll, with 44% saying they would prefer him, compared to 45% for Netanyahu and 11% who did not know.

Netanyahu defeated the other party leaders, beating Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett by 12 percentage points, Yesh Atid head Yair Lapid by 17 points, and Yisrael Beytenu leader Avigdor Liberman by 28 points.

While a Geocartography Institute poll broadcast on Army Radio this week predicted the Likud would win 30 Knesset seats and polls on Channel 2 and 10 reported 22, the Panels poll found Netanyahu’s party would win only 21, just three more than Bayit Yehudi’s 18.

If the election were held now, Labor would win 14 seats, Kahlon’s party and Yesh Atid 11 each, Yisrael Beytenu nine, United Torah Judaism and Meretz both eight, Shas seven, Hadash five, and Hatnua and the United Arab List four each. Balad and Kadima would not pass the electoral threshold, which has risen from 2% to 3.25%.

The poll found that 64% of respondents believe the country’s socioeconomic situation has gotten worse under the outgoing government and 58% think the security situation has worsened.

Hatnua chairwoman Tzipi Livni will decide in upcoming days whether to run together with Labor. The poll found that if Livni joined Labor, the party would rise from 14 seats to 20.
Kahlon, who may be to the 2015 elections what Lapid was to the 2013 elections, has promised to form a new party, and polls indicate that he could win between seven and 12 seats in the Knesset. By positioning himself in the center of Israeli politics, he could appeal to supporters of both Lapid and Livni and to other disenchanted voters. As a former Likudnik, his center-right credentials make him a potent threat to Netanyahu, especially as Bennett and Lieberman have forced Netanyahu further to the right since the 2013 elections.

Though it’s too early to say that Kahlon will triumph, there’s already discussion that former interior and education minister Gideon Sa’ar, who left the Knesset earlier this month after clashing with Netanyahu (including over the Rivlin presidency), might join forces with Kahlon.

There’s no doubt that Israel’s next government will also be a delicately balanced coalition government.

In the last three decades, the relatively stable two-party system consisting of Likud and the center-left Labor Party (מפלגת העבודה הישראלית‎) has fragmented to the point that no single party holds more than 19 seats in the 120-member Knesset.

A recent change in Israel’s election law raised the threshold for winning seats from 2% to 3.25%, a move that will likely doom the Kadima (קדימה, ‘Forward’), the centrist party formed in 2005 by the late Ariel Sharon, who died earlier this year.

It will almost certainly force Israel’s three Arab parties to join forces, lest they compete separately and fail to reach the 3.25% hurdle. Though turnout among Arab Israeli citizens (separate from Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza who have no voting rights in Israeli elections) has declined in successive elections, the nationality law has enraged Israeli Arabs, who believe that it’s a way of codifying their status as second-class citizens. If so, massive Arab turnout could maximize a unified Arab presence in the Knesset. That, in turn, could boost the chances of a leftist/secular coalition.

For now, while Netanyahu’s popularity seems precarious, no one else has emerged to challenge his hegemony in Israeli politics. That could change over the course of the campaign, with such a large target on Netanyahu, which explains why Likud pushed for a vote as soon as possible. (Elections can only take place at least three months after the Knesset’s dissolution).

On the basis of current polling surveys, Likud would slightly increase its share of seats in the Knesset, which would give Netanyahu the strength to form a more right-wing coalition than the 2013-15 government, which would include Lieberman’s Yisrael Beitenu, Bennett’s Bayit Yehudi and the two orthodox parties, Shas (ש״ס) and United Torah Judaism (יהדות התורה המאוחדת). But if Likud doesn’t emerge as the largest of the right-wing parties, Rivlin might take pleasure in denying Netanyahu the first chance at forming a new government.

It’s not inconceivable that, by March, Labor could win enough support to cobble together a coalition that includes Lapid, Livni, the Arab parties, other leftist parties, such as the Zionist leftist Meretz (מרצ, ‘Energy’), and quite possibly, Kahlon’s new group.

Justin Vale (13)
Tuesday December 9, 2014, 8:29 am
it would be just like the zionist to start a fight then duck and run.
bibi has to win, if he doesn't we all pay the price. isis is well into it's runaway stage. it's all over northern africa and south west asia. in africa it's got the boko with them. the best fighting force in all of africa is now standing with isis. and it's standing with isis in the horn of africa. egypt will soon face isis on three fronts.
this is not the time for bib to leave. he has to see this through. some semblance of control must be maintained. how are we gonna fight the boko? the last time we tried (when they took the girls) they hacked into all our systems and communications? all of them. they greeted south african and french commando's at the airports of nigeria and chad. they were a bunch of steps ahead of everybody.
how do you think it's going to play out? boko capabilities with isis resources?
not good.
the zionist' unfortunalty must stay in power.
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