(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.”
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.
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.’ (haaretz.com)”
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 israelitomes.com 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 haaretz.com 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 caucus99percent.com)