And here we are again, with Israel deciding its fate, along with a few million others deciding it along as well.
Without too much discussion, basically, Lieberman, who caused the first round of elections to begin with (by resigning after our humiliating surrender to Hamas), caused this second round as well by refusing to join the coalition.
Prime Minister Netanyahu, it is rumored, agreed to correct the problematic situation that Minister of Defense Avigdor Lieberman had resigned over… and agreed to return this ministerial position to him with the additional authorities and guarantees required so that we would not surrender to and appease terrorist organizations again. However, according to press releases, this was not enough or the main issue, as Lieberman requested anti-haredi (anti religious) demands that simply could not co-exist with the observant members of the coalition, and so no right or center right coalition was possible. The left, which is Blue and White, Labor, Meretz and the Arab parties of course did not have the votes to make an alternative coalition so here we are for round two. However, rumor also has it that rather than being about his reported anti-haredi stands, the fight was about Bibi refusing to grant Lieberman the Vice Premiership.
In either case, the intervening period, Lieberman has doubled down in his anti religious sentiments. Whether this is a ploy to attract or keep his dwindling Russian voters (Jewish Russian voters are by now well integrated into Israeli society and likely to vote for a variety of parties, while a bigger and bigger percentage of his supporters are non Jewish immigrants), and/or attract anti-religious voters from the left is just that.. a ploy or genuine political conviction remains to be seen (for the sake of my regard for Mr. Lieberman I hope it is completely a ploy). Because the fact remains that if he once again will not join a right wing coalition along with the religious parties, then there is unlikely to be enough mandates within the right without him, to form a coalition and stop the left from doing so, even if the right is once again victorious overall.
The fact that Lieberman would join the block that would form a government if it could along the lines of Labor, Meretz, Blue and White, and the Arab parties rather than his observant brethren and the Likud would be shocking indeed. With Lieberman (and then those that would follow along once a coalition is certain), the fact that the Arab parties would not be needed does not negate the fact that those same parties would form a coalition with them if they had to. So again, hopefully a patriotic ploy. Or at least a political one at the least.
Beyond that, logical analysis alone should fins us in a good position. The right wing parties have consolidated to avoid the occurrence of threshold issues last time (when two important right wing parties, my favorite of course under Mr. Feiglin and Bennett’s party both did not cross the threshold), and Israel’s position globally and economically continue to be strong. Meanwhile the left wing, rather than be invigorated, has been joined by two clowns, and champions of failure, Amir Peretz and Ehud Barak further potentially dividing the leftist vote and exposing them to threshold risk.
The threshold risk result could not have been worse off last round for the right. Between Feiglin and Bennett, over 7 seats, and the votes of hundreds of thousands of the most right wing voters in Israel were thrown in the garbage, while Meretz and Balaad squeaked by. Simply correcting this issue, if the numbers stay more or less the same, the right wing victory would be massive.
So what is the problem?
Well human error. First we have the phenomenon of double correction. Many voters of the smaller right wing parties, having seen what happened last time, do not want to vote for smaller parties this time. But this is an unesesary double correction. With Feiglin having dropped out as an independent party (as well as Kahlon), and the remaining right wing parties unified into two voting blocks, the risk of not passing the threshold is avoided altogether. Israelis can vote for the two remaining ring parties with full confidence, but instead they are afraid to. Double correction. These votes will most not likely go to the left, but even if they go to a mix of Likud, Shas, and Lieberman they could endanger the possible coalition and at the very least and best case, weaken the right wing nature of a coalition under Bibi.
The conclusion here is simple… don’t be afraid, vote Otzma and Shaked with confidence. There is still time left.
The other factor here is what the media has done in the intervening months. The attacks on Bibi Netanyahu have been shocking. They make the attacks US media make on President Trump look pale in comparison. While internationally, Netanyahu is portrayed as a strong and patriotic Prime Minister of Israel (whether one agrees or disagrees with his policies), domestically he is some sort of fascist monsters (who somehow rules this far left socialist country). The amount of creative advertising against him, and media coverage that has saturated the airwaves and internet since the last election is worrisome.
So far of course the media has proclaimed Bibi and the right to have lost already. They did so last time as well, and here I called correctly that was quite wrong. They believe that by saying teh left has won, they make it so. In fact, it is quite possible that they discourage further leftist turnout in the afternoon and evening (since leftist voters think they have already won), and scare right win gvoters ino getting out there. More importantly, conservative voters tend to vote much later, since they tend to work, and so indeed the media is in part correly reporting the early exit polls, which favor the left.
So nothing new there… but unlike last time, and even though everything should be fine, especially if we don’t throw away 7 seats like last time, and Lieberman is certainly gaining seats (mostly from leftists) by his statements, sincere or not, I am far less certain, and more concerned. Let us hope all will be well for Am Israel.
As for the LightHouse Keeper’s Voter Guide… quick and easy this time, there is still some time to vote, here are your acceptable choices!
These are the only guys that truly offer an alternative message. The only party that does not believe in the status quo of appeasement and withdrawal, and who believe in the Land of Eretz Israel. Unfortunately, the current make up of this union, lacks some intellectual gravitas. I am not a big fan as leaders of the likes of Michael Ben-Ari and Itamar Ben-Gvir. These are not the Aryel Eldads, and Rehavaam Zeevis, nor Zambishim of the past. These folks, though I am sure good people and passionate patriots, mock the intellectual depth that is needed to rise about the leftist platitudes that rule the day. In some ways, they are the caricatures the left sometimes imagines on the right. I would love to see our right wing better led, but this is what we have this election.
Yamina – the New Right
Unlike Naftali Bennett, who is a nice guy and patriotic yidden for sure, Ayelet Shaked is an intellectual powerhouse and formidable candidate. It is no wonder that ultimately, the former had to make way for the latter on top of the list. Easily dismissed at first as a “pretty face” originally added to Bennett’s list as that and a woman for aesthetic and demographic purposes, she understands the fundamental issues facing Israel in a way teh vast majority of the 120 Knesset members do not. Versed in the European or at least Anglo Saxon tradition of freedom, in Judaism, history, and Western civilization (she would probably enjoy quite a few of my blogs), she can see the big picture. She does nto easily fall into the artificial meaningless boxes and platitudes the left has set up for us today. Incredibly, to some extent, she is a believer in the free market and capitalism. She is not Moshe Feiglin, but comes quite close, and on top of that is a like-able and attractive candidate.
The list she is heading has some other impressive figures, though also includes some of the more leftist and weak sauce National Religious figures formerly with Bennet. And worse of us, it includes Bennett himself at number three. The man who loved his popcorn ban! In general of course, the party falls short of actually advocating what needs to be done in Israel, but at least they oppose giving up Eretz Israel to the enemy for appeasement. A perfectly commendable choice.
Lieberman and his party
normally are a decent choice. I would take him at his word, even if it is a ploy, and if he is willing to join the left in order to not sit with observant Jews on the coalition, he deserves no votes this election. I hope to see him back in form.
Of course, for those more enlightened in Totah, United Torah Judaism, representing Agudat Ysrael and Degal Hatorah may be the right choice.
A very small party that likely will not pass the threshold, but is also a respectable choice is Tzomet.. a party established and once led by the formidable and unforgettable warrior, General Rafael “Raful” Eitan, who we all miss.
If you cannot do any of the above, you may vote for the Likud. Feiglin joining the ranks as a Minister helps with intellectual depth conservative ideology.
No other major party, especially Blue and White, attempting to pass as “Center” rather than the leftists they are eager to give away Israel to her enemies, is an acceptable choice. Unless you are Arab of course…. and many are voting for the Jewish parties that will do their bidding, Labor, Meretz and Blue and White.
I hope most Israelis are old enough or learned enough to remember the two clowns Ehud Barak and Amir Peretz, (though we know Hassan Nasrallah does not remember Amir Peretz!) and send them back to wherever they go (for at least part of the time for Barak, it seems to party with the likes of Epstein) for a decade or so hoping that people will forget their failures enough to come back and rise again seeking always the power they cannot go without.