Beyond the Cusp

October 11, 2019

Israeli Position Becoming More Precarious

 

One would be inclined to believe that the Israeli position in her Middle Eastern neighborhood could become even more at risk, but it just might real soon. First, allow us to make a risk assessment of her current troubles. To her north, in Lebanon, Israel faces the largest terrorist army in the world in Hezballah. Hassan Nasrallah leads a sizeable military which has been provided for quite adequately by Iran who has armed them with over one-hundred-fifty-thousand missiles and rockets. A fair proportion of these rockets and missiles are capable of reaching anywhere within Israel and beyond even with the capability of striking into Saudi Arabia or even Cairo in Egypt. Iran attempted to provide new targeting capabilities turning rockets into guided missiles but were not as successful as Iran had hoped. Israeli timely air strikes destroyed many of these guidance packages before they reached their destination. Still, many hundreds, if not thousands, of the most dangerous and destructive rockets were transformed into guided missiles capable of striking targets with an accuracy of under ten feet. These are the projectiles carrying the largest warheads and capable of greater distance making all of the central Tel Aviv greater metropolitan region well within the range of these more accurate weapons. The Dimona complex and reactor are also targeted as very likely is Jerusalem, Beersheva, Eilat or anywhere else within Israel they wish to target. These weapons are just the start of Hezballah and their threat posed and would be the initiating strike, should they be instructed to attack Israel.

 

Hezballah Rocket & Missile Threat

Hezballah Rocket & Missile Threat

 

Should Hezballah be instructed to distract international attention from any undue attention to Iranian activities, Israel will be attacked from Lebanon and even possibly Syria awaiting the Israeli response. One such was the recent call by European nations who were signatories to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal, to review very probable infractions by Iran by continuing their nuclear program. Germany, France and Britain warned Iran of their intention to withdraw from the agreement should Iran continue to transgress into areas which the JCPOA forbids. As their actions have yet to pose a real threat to Iran, all is quiet. Should this or any other difficulty begin to make the world close in on Iran, you can expect they will try to get out of the limelight by starting a war with Israel using Hezballah as their weapons of choice. Israel would need to react almost instantly should such a conflict break out as Hezballah is capable of firing thousands of rockets and missiles into Israel every day until they are stopped. This could be taken care of by the Israeli Air Force within thirty-six hours. This still means that all of Israel would be vulnerable to these attacks for a day and a half, something which really would try the Israeli people’s nerves. In our region the attacks would largely be the smaller rockets in greater numbers but unguided, something which is less than encouraging as the numbers would translate into some major damage to the most northern Israeli cities. The real threat comes from the largest payloads and longer ranged articles in the Hezballah arsenal as many of these have been modified with the most advanced targeting packages. These could be used to target vital infrastructure as well as the heart of Tel Aviv and the numerous skyscrapers within that area. Were one of these struck and caused to collapse in the initial strikes, this would result in many thousands of deaths.

 

These very same missiles could also target Jerusalem and the Dimona complex. The Dimona research reactor being struck would spread radioactive contamination over a large region of the Negev potentially reaching the populated regions around Beersheva. In Jerusalem there is always the danger of numerous holy sites being struck, whether intentionally or through random chance with unguided rockets. Hezballah could also strike at Israeli airfields, both military and civilian, which could delay getting all strike aircraft into the air before being required to repair runways. Hezballah would also most certainly strike at communications and command and control centers in their effort to decapitate the military by isolating each unit from command and leaving aircraft without any ground control making takeoffs and landings more treacherous. Finally, Hezballah has set up tank traps and extensive tunnels and bunkers throughout the region south of the Litany River. Hezballah groups are able to move throughout this region without being required to break above the surface as their tunnel system is that extensive. These tunnels and fortified positions are often placed under residential areas with launch and ambush positions often placed within private homes. When fighting, Hezballah forces the residents to remain in their homes while they use them to launch rockets, missiles and mortars into Israel and when ambushing Israel Defense Force troops should Israel be required to enter Lebanon to end the attacks. There is a second alternative where Israel simply unleashes the hounds of war and completely blankets southern Lebanon and the Bekaa Valley in an effort to destroying the Hezballah war machine. Should Hezballah insist that the Lebanese military come to their aid against Israel and any, or many, of their units join in attacking or fighting Israeli forces, then it can be expected that the targeting within Lebanon would be broadened to address the new threats. The Lebanese military had modern equipment provided by the United States, including Abrams Main Battle Tanks, and Russia, including attack helicopters. Such a conflict could easily spread across with attacks coming from within Syria as the IRGC would take such an opportunity to also attack Israel.

 

The IRGC is best described as the Iranian alternative military with close, if not greater, arrays of weapons compared to their formal military. The IRGC is the only military force to be recognized as a terrorist entity and is utilized by Iran to spread terrorist efforts to anywhere on the globe as well as fighting the foreign wars for Iran but providing a small amount of deniability of their actions by the Iranian government. IRGC forces can have uniforms but more often fight dressed as civilians, well-armed civilians. This permits simply taking the weapons of any killed fighter and then inviting the media to come witness the barbarity of Israel by murdering innocent “civilians,” the same “civilians” who were an ambush team which was overrun a short time previous before their identity change from active fighters to deceased civilians. This same tactic is utilized by Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza. This time we hope that Israel minimizes the need for IDF ground troops entering into Lebanon where they would face ambush, potentially at every turn, and numerous casualties would start mounting. It would be preferable for Israel to use almost solely air power and ground-to-ground missiles to decimate all that belongs to Hezballah. A nice finishing touch might be to use a deep penetrator warhead to strike and destroy Hassan Nasrallah and the bunker in which he hides. IRGC units have also been the target of Israeli strikes at their provisions, particularly their missiles and heavy weapons, and also striking any position used to launch attacks on Israel including drone control facilities. Both IRGC and Hezballah forces are engaged in the Syrian civil war and in the coup still fighting in Yemen, the two silent wars as they do not include Israel, thus they are not newsworthy as Israel has been careful in choosing and unbelievably accurate in their strikes on these two terror armies attempting to limit their most dangerous capabilities. Thus far, the IRGC has been restricted to using only their ground troops. This could change at any point with their air force being brought into the fight placing them as far as eastern Iraq presumably to protect them from any Israeli attacks. Such an eventuality if used against Israel would broaden any such war to include Iraq and Iran as viable potential targets.

 

That was just the threats originating in Lebanon and Syria. To the south, Israel faces another dual threat under Iranian control and influence. These are Hamas and Islamic Jihad, the latter simply another Iranian controlled terrorist group and Hamas simply heavily influenced by Iranian desires. Here too the main threats are rockets. Hamas has a rocket they call the Jerusalem rocket simply because the M-75 Ballistic Missile can reach that distance (pictured below). As Israel enforces a blockade of Gaza for the inspection of goods to assure that no weaponry or other implements of war reaching Gaza and Hamas and Islamic Jihad, this has obviously prevented the retrofitting of their rockets with guidance systems making them guided missiles as such systems would be found and prevented from reaching the terrorists. This could potentially have dire results as Jerusalem is about the far edge of the capability of their M-75 rocket, their M-75 unguided rocket. This presents the ultimate irony, the M-75 when fired at Jerusalem is simply pointed in that direction and launched for maximum distance simply to assure reaching Jerusalem, could result in destroying the Dome of the Rock, the al-Aqsa Mosque or both. Needless to point out that Israel would be initially blamed and the media would run with that story for a week or so before printing a retraction and correction somewhere around page C-33 and nowhere near the front page as were the headlines which blamed Israel. Unfortunately, it takes time to gather the intelligence and place the blame on the true culprits. This is another capability which the Iron Dome can and does provide, the computed trajectory of rockets, missiles, mortars and artillery. Once the real data will have been gathered, the article covering the reality where Israel is not the guilty party but rather the Islamic forces which fired the rocket which destroyed precious Islamic sites in Jerusalem will be right next to their retraction and correction. Hamas and Islamic Jihad cooperate to such an extent that they can be treated as a single entity with Hamas the primary force as they are the Gazan government. Should Gaza initiate attacks on Israel in any large number, the IDF will respond in kind and going no further. The retaliatory strikes by Israel often target empty buildings around two or three o’clock in the predawn hours of the morning. Once more, there is no violence or any attacks which are newsworthy until Israel retaliates, a retaliation which the media will transform into the initiating attack only mentioning the earlier terror attacks on Israel in the next to the last paragraph. It should be noted that Hezballah has promised to join any war between Israel and Gaza and Islamic Jihad has responded with their intention to join any war where Hezballah in Lebanon are fighting Israel. They worded their statements implying that Israel was the aggressor despite knowing that such is not the case.

 

Monument for the M-75 Ballistic Missile Named the Jerusalem Rocket

Monument for the M-75 Ballistic Missile Named the Jerusalem Rocket

 

Fortunately, the main problem for Israel being caused by the Palestinian Authority (PA) is their paying terrorists or their surviving family with cash payments for life which are greatly more significant than even the PA government, and security personnel are paid a lesser salary than these terrorists. This offer of cash for murdering Israelis, they call it murdering Zionists or Jews, has become a career choice as should you murder one Israeli and then be arrested, you will serve your sentence in a country club atmosphere with more benefits than many Israelis receive from the government. These attacks are largely stabbings and vehicular rammings of pedestrian traffic. The PA, under both Yasser Arafat and Mahmoud Abbas, has rejected every peace proposal by which any land is placed under Jewish rule allowing Israel to survive as is. Their entire effort is performed with the intent of completely destroying Israel. Their main effort is on the international political front where they seek recognition of the PA as a national government and accepting the PA definition of their borders. The PA views their borders as being the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea, or more simply, all of Israel. The main reason that there is any semblance of quiet on this front is due to the presence of IDF throughout much of the region and good intelligence work by the Shin Bet and others and because to their east, Jordan has a cold peace with Israel which they prefer not to endanger for reasons which will become clear. The turmoil emanating from the PA will start upon the death of Abbas as he has not been able to groom an acceptable replacement as Arafat had prepared him. But even this is but a minor threat as the PA does not have sufficient strength to wield in any such fight. The rest of the southern border is with Egypt and except for illegal entrants and occasional criminal violence, this border is quiet and problems actually are addressed by Egypt rarely requiring any assistance from Israel.

 

Palestinian Textbook Maps depicting Palestine as replacing Israel, not sharing the land in peace and security as the Europeans and the rest of the West insist to misrepresent

 

The eastern border along the Jordan River and its natural barrier called the Jordan River Valley has been the best-behaved border. Yes, occasional terrorists are out of Jordan and were given their target by the PA and not anyone in Jordan. Jordan is the remaining Hashemite kingdom which was set up by the British after World War I with the other having been Iraq where the monarch was removed in a coup. The Jordanian King, Abdullah II, has sufficient control currently using his military and Bedouin Tribes to rule over the approaching eighty-percent of the population being Arab Palestinians. Jordan is the Arab Palestinians country which was made by cutting 78% of the lands east of the Jordan River to the border with Iraq from the intended Jewish State in order to gift it to one of the Hashemite sons of King Faisal (the remaining 22% was left to form Israel). Under King Abdullah II, there has been peace, or at least tranquility, since the treaty was signed in 1994. But there are some serious rumblings out of Jordan as their economy is suffering poor management as the country attempts to care for many millions of Syrian refugees who fled the country escaping the civil war. The economic drain is being felt throughout the kingdom and this has made many of the residents less than enamored at this situation. Many complain and blame their problems on economic mismanagement and an over-reliance on international aid which has led to the current situation. Rioting in the major cities is almost constant, but the King has bigger problems at the moment. Jordanian Bedouin tribes constitute the backbone of the regime and this is starting to faulter. Bani Hassan tribe has taken an adversarial role with the king releasing an official statement listing their concerns demanding they be addressed immediately. The Bani Abbad and Bani Hamida tribes are supportive of these efforts making matters even more serious.

 

So, what would be the result if King Abdullah II abdicated his throne leaving Jordan without any head for the government? Jordan does have a parliament which would continue to operate after the King leaves, but the question then is for how long. Not all of the problems are the fault of the King as he has given much of his power to the legislature, but he retained the final veto power should he desire its use. The problem would begin with an election where either the Muslim Brotherhood or Iran using largely IRGC units would take control turning the country into another terror base from which to launch attacks on Israelis. One can bet that the Iranians will gain a large influence even if they are not the rulers, Iran will gain influence amongst the populace and deal with Israel sending terrorists into Israel along her eastern border. Such an eventuality would not bode well for Israel. Israel already has factories within Jordan providing good jobs. These enterprise zones run by Israeli companies are a good start but cannot become the main provider of jobs in Jordan. Should the Kingdom collapse, these Israeli firms would probably exit bolting back to Israel. The terror situation would, at some point, bring about a crisis which would threaten the peace potentially ending the blissful relationship previously shared. There is another threat which might come to pass which would worsen the tensions in the Middle East, far beyond just Israel. Iran would woo the Jordanians, particularly their leadership. They would offer arms and rocket and missile systems. The buildup in Jordan would easily outpace that which happened with Hezballah in Lebanon. Iran would really love to have Jordan in their pocket as they border nearly the length of the northern border of Saudi Arabia as well as the eastern border of Israel. Iran recently claimed they have attained the ability to wipe Israel from the map. This is almost a tacit statement announcing their having developed a deliverable thermo-nuclear warhead with which they could wipe out much of the Israelis residing in the greater Tel Aviv region. There is also vital infrastructure which supports most of Israel. Iran would have Israel all but surrounded should they gain control in Jordan. There would be further dangers such as an actual threat of declared war breaking out either with Israel or Saudi Arabia. The initial difficulty for Israel should the Jordanian monarch be dethroned will be increased terrorism with the terrorist using everything in the armory including nuclear weapons should they have the need.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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October 8, 2019

President Trump Mishandles Turkey and Iran

 

Turkish President Erdoğan demanded that the United States move out of his forces way, enabling attacks upon the Kurdish regions in Syria and potentially beyond into Iraq. These were the Kurdish allies in the war against the Islamic State working with American advisors and air support. One would pray that President Trump would stand his ground and deny President Erdoğan’s demands and protect the Kurds who were there against Islamic State with the United States. Instead, President Trump once more showed his excessive reluctance to use any form of force if he can avoid any fighting. President Trump assured Erdoğan that the American forces would be removed enabling his assault on the apparently former American ally Kurds in northern Syria. It was back in last January that President Trump threatened to “devastate Turkey economically” should Turkey attacked the Kurdish forces. At that time, Erdoğan agreed to set up a safe zone where Kurdish forces and civilians would be safe from any Turkish attacks. Instead, Erdoğan plans to use the idea of a safe zone to eradicate the Kurds along the entirety of the southern Turkish border into Syria. We believe that Turkey will be absorbing these lands into Turkey to make good on former Erdoğan promises. Apparently, that agreement is no longer accepted by President Erdoğan as he now desires to attack the Kurds in Syria probably taking over Aleppo if possible and not stopped. The actual reason for these attacks is simply the Turkish leadership regard the Kurds as an enmity and scourge which Turkey insist must be eradicated.

 

President Erdoğan and President Trump

President Erdoğan and President Trump

 

This is simply another all too obvious example that President Trump apparently lacks the intestinal fortitude to take on a fight which can be easily avoided with minimal blowback. Within the United States the bringing of military forces home is often met with great support. This time will be little different simply because the average American, J.Q. Public has little if any knowledge about who the Kurds are, where they reside and probably have forgotten the assistance by the Kurds in the fight with the Islamic State. Most are also unaware that much of the Turkish claims to be fighting the Islamic State (or ISIS) were more often than not fighting Kurdish regions where they killed fighters and civilians alike. One reason which may be forcing this decision by President Trump is since Turkey is a NATO ally, they may have used this alliance when insisting the United States desert the region under Kurdish rule and allow Turkey to do as they please. We predicted just such scenario where allowing Turkey to remain in NATO would force the United States to take on or desert a fight so their NATO ally Turkey could operate as they pleased. Still, President Trump has sent the message that he desires avoiding conflict and depending upon economic and social pressures to influence friend and foe alike.

 

Previous stories made President Trump’s avoidance of taking military action evident and in one case to an adversary in the Middle East. These have not been major stories as there have yet to be any direct repercussions from any of these actions. There was the rumored heated argument between the two men over use of force against Iran. When President Trump and John Bolton parted ways, the Iranian reaction was it simply proved that President Trump was too reluctant to defend anything if it required the use of military force. The Iranians had this idea reinforced when President Trump launched attack air craft after Iran had shot down an expensive United States drone presumably in international airspace and then cancelled the attack calling the aircraft back. This simply further emboldened the Iranians as they believe that Trump will always run and hide rather than actually use force and hold the line. We believe that with President Trump having a strong economic background has assumed a false concept, that everyone is concerned with finances and that this makes them vulnerable to economic pressures. Iran has proven repeatedly over time when sanctions have been placed upon them, they actually do not react as if it really matters until the situation shows signs of becoming volatile within Iran.

 

Because of this reliance on economic pressure to alter Iranian actions, President Trump has relied on ratcheting up sanctions despite their showing absolutely very little effect beyond Iran making false moves in attempts to hide their nuclear activities. But after realizing that President Trump would only use economic pressure and avoid any military actions, they have begun flaunting their breaking of the limits of the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) testing the European signatories who also refused to take any actions beyond threatening to act. President Trump has all but ignored the Iranian actions as if after placing more severe sanctions would eventually show progress in persuading Iran to forgo their nuclear weapons research. Meanwhile, as the Mullahs and other Islamist elites are eating well and living large, the Iranian unemployment is spiking, the economy is hurting from the sanctions and the Iranian Rial has crashed forcing prices higher as inflation sets in. The rulers in Iran have shown little concern for the problems their people are suffering because under their Islamic rule, only the desired end result matters and that is the total destruction of the United States, Saudi Arabia, Israel and eventually world conquest spreading Shia Islam to the entire world while maximizing violence and destruction in order to force the return of their messiah. Economic concerns are secondary to their religious commitment to spreading Shia Islam making it the only religion on Earth.

 

The possibility that President Trump will rely solely on economic pressures and avoid any military confrontation even with Iran will leave Iran free to spread their terror and control even further. Iran is already active in Yemen, Syria and Iraq and intending to continue these efforts against Saudi Arabia from within Yemen while threatening Israel using their proxy forces of the IRGC and Hezballah. Iran is also spreading their influence using terrorist forces largely in the Middle East but the real question is where does Iran plan on stopping their warfare. The truth is there is no conquest which would satisfy the Mullahs who honestly believe that Shia Islam will become the only true and allowed religion if they simply continue to follow their interpretation of the Quran. Their religious philosophy is based on the spread of Islam, for them Shia Islam as they consider Sunni Islam as a heretical cult despite ninety-percent of Muslims being Sunni and merely ten-percent being Shia. Their intent is to convert all Sunni Muslims to the real form of Islam, Shiite Islam. After this has been accomplished and they have also conquered all the oil assets in the Middle East, the Iranian leadership is convinced that with time their efforts will succeed in conquering the rest of the world replacing all other religions. Such beliefs allow for the true believers to suffer any hardships as all is reasonable in the pursuit of the promised end results if they simply continue on through all challenges. The leadership in Iran believe that they were chosen by Allah to spread his religion to the whole world. Their belief goes far beyond the world known by Muhammad as it includes the Americas and other lands unknown in his times. Western powers and governments need to address the Islamic threats which have been pressing to establish beachheads within Europe and the Americas. This is currently being pressed by two competing factions, the Iranians and Shia Islam versus the Muslim Brotherhood and Sunni Islam. Some of these efforts have been financed by Qatar backing the Muslim Brotherhood. Such efforts have to be either opposed even if force is required or surrendered to surrendering all free will, specifically religious freedom as under such a world all will be expected to live under totalitarian rule which demands complete compliance under pain of torture or death. That is the reality even if much of the Western world refuses to believe such thinking still exists today.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

October 7, 2019

Israel Government Election Potentials

 

Israel held their second elections in order to attempt and allow for some governing coalition to be possible in mid-September. The April elections were inconclusive as the so-called right-wing parties; the religious, nationalist, conservative and/or Zionist parties, reached sixty mandates, one short of the necessary sixty-one mandates. The main reason that no government was able to be formed was due largely to two distinct reasons. The main reason which the media latched onto almost immediately, that Yisrael Beiteinu under the leadership of Avigdor Lieberman made demands which, if adopted, would have cost the support of the Haredi parties and cost the coalition more mandates than Yisrael Beiteinu could add to the attempted coalition. His main efforts demanded that the Haredi lose all or virtually all their deferments from IDF service, requiring all students attend public schools with their Torah and religious schooling being relegated to an after-school activity and other demands for mainstreaming the Haredi communities even against their resistance. The September voting realized the same divide as the April elections and left the sole formation of a government requiring what is called a unity government with Blue-White and Likud sharing the office of the Prime Minister and working together despite their disagreement on virtually every point of governance. Perhaps this is the ideal time to try and explain and define the differences which has the Israeli population so evenly split in halves making forming a government difficult, not impossible, just very difficult.

 

BTC Israeli Election Banner

 

The main points demanded by Avigdor Lieberman is a good starting point as all his policy proposals are largely based on a single premise, forcing the Haredi to meld with the whole of the Israeli society and removing the exceptions they have earned from previous governments. The two main points were education and IDF service. Avigdor Lieberman is making these demands despite strong evidence that the Haredi communities are inexorably moving to meld into the mainstream society even if at a fairly slow rate. He demands that the Haredi be forced to immediately meld into Israeli society losing all deferments for Torah scholars, their religious schools being replaced by the students being placed into the public-school system relegating Torah and religious studies to an after-school exercise. To a neutral observer, one would have to believe that Avigdor Lieberman holds the Haredi and religious communities in contempt and desires to destroy their independence and separation from normative Israeli society. He has attempted to force some of these concepts into law with little if any success and has now decided to demand these concessions up front, taking no chances. As noted above, the Haredi and religious communities have been slowly but surely moving towards melding with the rest of Israeli society without any pressure from the government. They are following the same process as the rest of Israeli society no matter their origins. No matter which groups one would choose to observe, be they the Russians, Haredi, Western European, Eastern European, Ethiopian, North American, South American or some other more exotic of Jews returning to their homelands of Israel, after three, four or at most five generations they are mostly merged with the rest of Israeli society. Their former native tongue is less used even at home except when the grandparents visit as their Hebrew leaves something to be desired.

 

There exist numbers of Haredi entering the IDF completely voluntarily despite being eligible for deferments. Haredi women have already been working with their forming companies themselves such that they can have a comfortable work environment. The Haredi men are lagging behind their better halves, but the number of Haredi men entering the workforce has increased year after year. But this rate, despite showing signs of increasing, apparently is not sufficient for Avigdor Lieberman who would prefer to force it into an established fact already achieved. The Haredi, according to him, have become too large a liability and, if not addressed by the secular community, will soon bankrupt the economy. But, even some in the Haredi community have already realized that their communities are threatened should they continue resisting normalization and are making sure that their children are adequately educated to enter the job market. We expect with time that the male Haredi communities will also form their own start-up companies just as their women are already pursuing. The problem with caving to the demands by Avigdor Lieberman, and similar demands from Yair Lapid of the Blue White Party, is it will very probably cause the slowing of the normalization of the Haredi community as they react to what they perceive as an attack on their way of life. Sometimes, attempting to force change on a community results in the retarding of their changing in the desired direction.

 

The question is why Avigdor Lieberman is pressing to force things on the Haredi communities which they are already starting to do on their own. The reason is almost purely political. His Yisrael Beiteinu Party had been losing support as their membership aged. His very public insistence on forcing the normalization of the Haredi community, including attacking their school systems, is designed to bring additional voters into his party, or at least voting for his party. Lieberman is tapping into some of the far left and far right and other pro-secular (read anti-religion) Israelis in addition to his normal voting support. His tactic has worked to this point, but only time will tell if this choice will prove all that advantageous with time. The surprise was that Yisrael Beiteinu would not be part of any right-wing coalition without some major concessions. This has been the sticking point making the forming of a coalition by Prime Minister Netanyahu as Avigdor Lieberman has all but refused to join such a coalition unless the Haredi Parties and communities allow for his life-changing new laws demanding their complete surrender to a secular life. This would lead to the Haredi not sitting in a coalition where Avigdor Lieberman’s demands were being met. On the other side, Blue White Party cannot form a government even with the mandates coming up just a few votes short. In order to form a governing coalition, Blue White Party would be required to persuade the Arab Parties, or at least a fair number of these parties consisting of Arab, Communist and other parties. The problem with such a coalition is that once again Avigdor Lieberman. Should he ever sit in a coalition with Arab Parties, his support would all but evaporate and it would be the end of his political life. This is the conundrum faced by both the Likud Party and the Blue White Party in forming a ruling coalition.

 

Some have suggested that Blue White might persuade one or both Haredi Parties into forming a coalition with their holding the Prime Minister office. Should Blue White attempt such a coalition, they would run into a large difficulty. Avigdor Lieberman is far from the only politician who desires forcing the immediate normalization of the entirety of the Haredi communities. Another politician who has made much of his name by making these demands is Yair Lapid, the number two (or three depending who you ask) person in the Blue White Party and one who would share the office of Prime Minister should they manage to form a coalition. Blue White would be required to disband their relationship with Yair Lapid and his Yesh Atid Party. This would severely cripple any hopes of forming a coalition even should they be able to bring the Haredi onboard. The only other means, according to almost all observers, is for the Likud Party and Blue White Party to ameliorate their differences and find some common ground. Yair Lapid would be required to forgive his demands on the Haredi and Likud would need to back off their promises for annexation of the Jewish communities in the Shomron (West Bank) and both come to terms on several other issues including some concerning economic policies. This eventuality, to us, appears to be next to impossible. Yes, the two parties might manage to reach sufficient agreement to form a unity government, but any such governing coalition would be unstable and unlikely to last more than a few months, maybe a year. Such a government is not a solution and there may not be any viable solution considering all the particulars.

 

That leads to consideration of what might resolve this situation of such an evenly divided nation. The first point which is required to be considered is how seriously the average Israeli has been affected by there not being a coalition or Knesset, Israeli parliament, addressing any problems or difficulties since April and now a second hung election not producing a coalition. If the numerous people we have interacted with are any example, Israel is mostly functioning smoothly without any ruling coalition and a functioning Knesset. The government is still functioning largely fine as the several departments remain staffed and are simply quietly doing their jobs and providing their services. There will not be any new laws or regulations without the Knesset, but many would claim that such is a good thing. There is a better than even chance that there will be no government formed from the September elections and yet another election may be required.

 

The divide in Israeli society is not as extreme as these vote tallies appear to indicate. Much of the divide is a result of the ramifications of the devastating Oslo Accords. On the political right, there is a strong resistance to the “Two-State Solution” because of the allowing for an Arab state in the heart of Israel holding the overlooking mountainous region around the Tel Aviv metropolitan region where over three quarters of Israeli population, production, utilities and almost everything else exists. Their fear is simply rockets threatening the tallest skyscrapers of Tel Aviv using line-of-sight-targeting as well as increasing terrorism as a result. Many who still support granting the Arabs a state in most, if not all, of the Shomron believe what their far left leadership claim that by giving the Arabs these lands, despite all their promises to continue demanding more, will bring peace and security if only those religious zealots on the right would come to their senses. For those who wish to know exactly what any Arab state in the Shomron would become, they need look no further than Gaza where the Arabs were given their own region completely devoided of any Israelis since early September of 2005 as a result of the Gaza withdrawal which resulted from recommendations initiated by United State Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and fully backed by President George W. Bush and pressured by them upon the government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon who was required to form a new government in order to find sufficient support for enacting their insistent demand. Despite such evidence, much of the world still insists that Israel surrender everything and anything the Arab powers demand. There is another divide within the Israeli Jewish community, namely the religious and the secular. Even the religious have a divide between Haredi and the other factions including Reform Judaism, Traditional Orthodox, Reconstructionist, Conservative and other non-Haredi religious Jews. People need to understand that Judaism is different than other religions as the Jews are also a People. This leads to there being Jews by birth but not practicing Judaism as their religion with some actually having joined a different religion while being born and remaining a Jew biologically.

 

What will happen if Israel is required to hold a third election within one year? Well, Israel will be the butt of additional late-night jokes on television as well as at the water cooler. We are used to such things and will survive, if not thrive. The outcome of such a future election will be largely identical to the average of the two former elections. The possibility that there will result a government coalition is fairly slim. What has been frustrating is that the voting has favored a right-wing coalition approaching sixty-percent of the votes cast. With a couple of right-wing parties not attaining threshold, their voters were not included with those attempting to form a coalition. The left-wing and Arab parties formed partnerships such that all their voters would have party groups which would pass threshold. One reason that some of these right-wing parties failed to reach threshold was due to misleading polling which showed them receiving two to three times as many votes as they actually attained. What was interesting was that the further left the polling data, the higher these parties were polled to receive. There are those who believe that these misleading polling numbers were intentional hoping to prevent these parties from accepting joining other parties and thus wasting right-wing votes. So, we have conspiracy theorists here in Israel, we are not surprised. Whether or not the right-wing smaller parties will have learned anything remains to be seen. We can expect the polling results to be just as slanted attempting to reduce the representation of these supporters of these parties should they remain running alone. The other problem is something unique to the Israeli parliamentary system. Both Likud and Blue White were guilty of this problem as they each spent more time attacking the parties who would be their normal parties than those on the opposite side politically. With the predominant campaigning being used to maximize the two largest parties by attacking the smaller parties with similar or more polarized positions hoping to gain more mandates for themselves at these other parties’ expense. This may be part of what has led to the hung elections as it might be costing their potential coalition mandates as a result. Additionally, there are the misrepresentations which are almost always a part of any political contest. Israelis are fortunate that life remains largely unaffected by the political impasse being faced. Still, President Rivlin is pressing the two large parties to find some means of working together in a unity government. Thus far, we are facing a situation where leaders of Blue White refusing to sit in a government where the Prime Minister is under investigation of misconduct, even if the investigations are found to be purely politically motivated. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Netanyahu is not ready to pass the leadership of Likud. Perhaps the upcoming Likud primary election scheduled in the near future will solve that situation by choosing a new leader. The odds of such are almost nonexistent, but stranger things have been known to happen and we will just need to wait and see what the future will bring.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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