mortally wounded, can bibi rise like a zombie from the dead?

(Some Israeli snap election kinda/sorta results)  Wouldn’t it be wonderful to say ‘bye, bye, Bibi; may the wind beat your back?

With 99+% of the votes counted (but not yet certified) Benny Gantz’s blue-and-white party (Kahol Levan) got 33 seats in the Knesset, Bibi’s Likud party 31, the Arab majority Joint List 13 seats (<up 2 from the last election four months ago.) Woot!

‘Ahmad Tibi thanks ‘magician’ Netanyahu for driving up Arab vote; Arab Israeli MK cites PM’s attempts to suppress the Arab vote for helping rouse voters: ‘Suddenly the Arabs rushed to the polls in droves’.
“Tibi’s comments echoed those of Joint List campaign manager Aaed Kayal, who told The Times of Israel that Netanyahu’s statements had motivated Arab Israelis to vote in high numbers.’, times of israel,  Sept. 19, 2019

“Our campaign was asleep, weak, limping, just two weeks ago,” Tibi told Channel 12 news. “Then a week ago, someone, a magician, set off alarm clocks at the entrances to every Arab town. That was Benjamin Netanyahu. That was the cameras bill,” he said referring to an unsuccessful bid by Netanyahu to try rush through a law that would allow Likud to place cameras in polling stations.”

Joint List leaders react to the good news

The Sephardi ultra-Orthodox party Shas got 9 seats, and its Ashkenazi counterpart United Torah Judaism 8. The religious Zionist far-right took a blow, with alliance Yamina only scoring 7 seats, while Kahanist party Otzma Yehudit failed to enter the Knesset altogether. The two left-wing alliances managed to scrape through, with Labor-Gesher at six seats, and the Democratic Union at 5 – and therefore sans former PM Ehud Barak, who had the tenth spot on the slate. 

One of the surprising reasons for the deadlocked election is this:

Deadlocked election highlights secular-religious divide’, timesofisrael, Sept. 20, 2019

“In Israel’s secular heartland, religion played a central role in this week’s deadlocked election. For many, a vote for the opposition was driven by a desire to keep rabbis out of their schools, businesses and love lives.

With the Palestinian issue almost completely off the agenda, and a general consensus about security challenges, matters of religion and state took center stage.

Ultra-Orthodox parties only represent about a tenth of the population, but larger parties have historically relied on them to assemble majority coalitions. That means the ultra-Orthodox are often in position to bring down the government if their demands are not met.

They use their political clout to sustain a segregated lifestyle centered on study and prayer, and raising large families on taxpayer-funded handouts. They also run a network of schools that often teach little math or English, and have blocked legislation to require their community to serve in the military, like most other Jewish citizens.

The ultra-Orthodox insist their young men serve the nation through prayer and study, thus preserving Jewish learning and heritage, and by maintaining a pious way of life that has kept the Jewish faith alive through centuries of persecution. They say they are unfairly targeted by the secular majority.” [snip]

“Experts say the cloistered communities of the ultra-Orthodox are being left behind by modern society, creating a culture of poverty that threatens the future well-being of the entire country.”

“On top of carrying the military and financial burden, the secular majority resents having the ultra-religious encroach upon their lifestyle and civil liberties. The ultra-Orthodox establishment prevents public transportation and most commerce on the Sabbath and wields a monopoly over matters of marriage, burials and conversions. In recent years, they’ve also delayed infrastructure projects and archaeological digs over religious concerns.”

Now the horse-trading has begun, to see if any coalition can reach the magic number 61 seats to form a government…this time.

Bibi’s made overtures to Benny Gantz to form a unity coalition; Gantz flipped Bibi the bird.

The alleged Kingmaker, Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) with 8 seats, is so far pushing for a Blue and White/Likud coalition, but the promises and opinions are changing hourly or daily; rumors from behind closed doors are epic.

Gantz (L) and Liberman (R)

Aha: ‘11:05 A.M. Lieberman says didn’t talk to either Netanyahu or Gantz

“Yisrael Beiteinu leader Avigdor Lieberman dispelled rumors he had reached an agreement with Kahol Lavan about a potential coalition on Friday. “I did not talk to either Netanyahu or Gantz, and I don’t intend to talk to them until after the party meeting on Sunday,” the election kingmaker said in a Facebook post.’ (”

Meanwhile, Benny Gantz is taking steps to ensure that he will receive the first mandate from President Reuven Rivlin to form the next government in time for consultations with the president that start Sunday, sources in Gantz’s party said on Thursday night, according to the Jerusalem Post.”

I’d looked it up, and had found that the President of Israel, much like the Queen of England (as I understand it) can give a nod to a Party to try to form a ruling coalition government.

From on Sept. 18, 2019: Joint List may recommend Gantz for prime minister, says top Arab MK; Ayman Odeh conditions support on ‘basic demands,’ aspires to be leader of the opposition, with access to security briefings.’

Nice horse-trading, Odeh; that’s a huge demand!  Especially given that Gantz is a former General of the IDF, used to advocate for a larger war on Gaza, and this:

‘Palestinian PM: Difference between Gantz and Netanyahu ‘like Pepsi and Coke’; Shtayyeh says Palestinians ‘don’t count’ on outcome of vote because neither candidate intends to ‘end the occupation’, 17 September 2019, Israeli Times

“Netanyahu on Tuesday, during a campaign speech at Jerusalem’s Central Bus Station, claimed that the PA had issued an “official statement” urging people to “go out and vote and topple Netanyahu.”

In fact, the PA had made no such statement. Rather, Arab Israeli author Mohammed Ali Taha wrote in an op-ed printed in the official PA newspaper Al-Hayat Al-Jadida: “Go to the polls and contribute to [Netanyahu’s] toppling”

It may have been that asked if Odeh (Arab MK) might end up being the Kingmaker.

Donald Trump says he hasn’t called Netenyahu, ‘Our relationship is with Israel’, and that that he’s distancing himself from a weakened PM after such a close election; he’ll see what happens.  (the subtext is: I like winners!)

The other gossip is (and I can’t find it again, so maybe it was Fake News from the Twittersphere) is that Sheldon and Miriam Adelson will stop funding based on the fact…that he’s nutz!  (Marion’s a doctor)  You may remember that D Trump had hung a Medal of Freedom around Miriam’s neck back in 2018. Sheldon was said by some to be directing Boss Tweet’s foreign policy…

Zo…we might see if Gantz or (doG forbid) Bibi can seat a coalition government, or another election will have to be called.

(cross-posted at

2 responses to “mortally wounded, can bibi rise like a zombie from the dead?

  1. i’d entered these over yonder as ‘the plot thickens’ two parts; i haven’t checked this a.m., but president rivlin can give the nod to whichever candidate he likes in order to form a coalition 61 seat government, right?

    ‘In dramatic shift, Joint List recommends Gantz for PM, seeks Netanyahu’s ouster;For first time in 27 years, Arab parties back Zionist candidate for premiership, drawing Likud’s ire; Blue and White chief set to receive 57 backers, compared to 55 for Netanyahu’, sunday, sept 22, 2019, times of irael

    The decision marked the first time Arab parties — separately or together — have recommended a mainstream Zionist politician since 1992, when they supported Labor Party leader Yitzhak Rabin, who campaigned on peace with the Palestinians.

    “We have seen the most difficult election since 1948 in terms of the incitement against Israel’s Arab citizens,” Joint List leader Ayman Odeh told President Reuven Rivlin upon issuing his party’s recommendation. “We have been turned into a group that is not legitimate in Israeli politics. If we are being pushed out, we will take our rightful place. For us, the most important thing is to remove Benjamin Netanyahu from power.”

    “So we will recommend Benny Gantz to form the next government,” added Odeh. The Joint List alliance made the announcement at roughly the same time Odeh published an opinion piece on the New York Times website speaking of the move.

    Fellow lawmaker Ahmad Tibi said the decision was made despite the party’s reservations about Gantz, a former IDF chief of staff who commanded Israel’s 2014 war against terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip.

    “Benny Gantz is not our cup of tea. We have a lot of criticism of him, specifically regarding Gaza,” said Tibi. “But when we told our public that we would do all we can to remove Netanyahu from power, we realized that we would need to take a bold step.”
    The president has the power to appoint one of the 120 MKs elected on Tuesday as the next potential prime minister of Israel. The designated premier must then attempt to cobble together a coalition that wins the support of a majority of Knesset members.
    Not all Joint List members were pleased with the decision: MK Mtanes Shihadeh told The Times of Israel that the three members of the Balad faction within the Joint List skipped the meeting with Rivlin. He said his party opposed recommending Gantz, while the other three parties that make up the Joint List supported the move.
    Senior Joint List party members were quoted earlier Sunday by Hebrew-language media detailing their demands to Blue and White. Those included freezing home demolitions in unrecognized Arab villages, forming a team to examine the issue of those villages, passing a government decision on battling violence within the Arab minority, canceling the controversial nation-state law — which enshrines Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people — and initiating a peace process with the Palestinian Authority, among other issues.

    Blue and White denied it had promised anything in return for the Joint List’s support.
    Despite the endorsement, and Netanyahu’s dire warnings, the Joint List leaders said they would not join a governing coalition, making Gantz’s coalition-building attempt unlikely to be successful without the inclusion of Likud, the ultra-Orthodox parties, or Liberman. Gantz has insisted that Netanyahu, who is facing a looming criminal indictment, relinquish the premiership as a condition for a Blue and White-Likud alliance.

    Liberman announced earlier on Sunday that he would recommend neither candidate for prime minister, citing the Joint List’s backing for Gantz.
    “The Joint List are our enemies,” said Liberman, who has also ruled out backing Netanyahu. “Wherever they are, we will be on the other side.”

  2. Part II: the plot thickens further,

    and gets confusing as hell esp. vis a vis Rivlin:

    ‘Joint List endorses Gantz without Balad, giving Netanyahu majority
    Blue and White decides to forego first shot to form government
    By Gil Hoffman, Lahav Harkov, jerusalem post, September 22, 2019

    President Reuven Rivlin began his consultations toward forming a new government on Sunday, amid a historic move by most of the Joint List to recommend a candidate for prime minister and a controversial decision by Blue and White to not seek the first chance at building a coalition.

    Blue and White had decided on Thursday that the party preferred to get the mandate from Rivlin first, but politicians and strategists in the party changed their minds after realizing that neither Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, nor Blue and White leader Benny Gantz would succeed in forming a government if given the first shot. Hints from Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit’s office that the pace of Netanyahu’s criminal cases would be picked up also influenced the decision.

    Rivlin told representatives of Likud and Blue and White that he would demand the formation of a unity government of both parties, but he did not indicate which party would go first. The earliest he could present his mandate is Wednesday evening, after the results of the September 17 election become official.

    It became clear following the first day of consultations that barring a change in the final results of the race, Netanyahu would have the recommendation of 55 MKs from Likud, Shas, United Torah Judaism and Yamina. Gantz’s 54 recommendations are from Blue and White, Labor-Gesher, the Democratic Union and most of the Joint List.
    When asked by Rivlin if their decision to recommend Gantz is conditional on demands, Odeh said all 13 Joint List MKs were obligated by it and that “We are recommending him, period.”

    Joint List faction head Ahmad Tibi told Rivlin that Gantz is “not our cup of tea,” adding about Netanyahu that “our voters wanted this historic moment after a leader systematically incited against us as if we are an enemy.” Speaking in English, Tibi said the decision was also for diplomatic reasons.

    “Our choice is a slap in the face to [US President Donald] Trump and his ultimate deal,” Tibi said. “Mr. Trump, keep your deal. The Palestinians deserve a state of their own. Do you understand this?”
    Rivlin told Blue and White MKs that the people of Israel were “disgusted” by prospects of a third election. When the Blue and White MKs said they want a unity government but have been ruling out Netanyahu because of his pending criminal charges, Rivlin reminded them that Netanyahu has not been indicted.

    “The people of Israel want a government that will be stable,” Rivlin said. “A stable government cannot be a government without both of the two largest parties.”

    holy hell, rivlin’s power is terrifyingly epic!

    i tried to get into haaretz to see if the coverage were the same, but it’s behind a paywall for me again, and on all browsers.

    on edit: odeh and tibi must have seen the leaked text of the I/P ‘deal of the century’ in may, and would have loved ‘New Palestine’.

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