Beyond the Cusp

June 23, 2019

About the Criminal Netanyahu

 

Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu is under investigations that, for all practical arguments, ranges from taking kickbacks to chewing gum in line, from bribery to passing notes in class, from fraud to not bringing enough candy for everyone, and from breach of trust to talking during a test. The first thing which needs explaining is the makeup of the legal officers in Israel and a quick overview of their political bend. The Attorney General is not chosen by the Prime Minister nor approved by the Knesset but is chosen by a set of judges and lawyers who can outvote the political members of the committee which means the people have next to no say in this choice. Judges and much of the legal system other than the Justice Minister are chosen by a liberal elite of the legal profession with a heavy influence by the Supreme Court. Additionally, the Supreme Court has a virtual veto over the choosing of every new Justice to the court leading to a court stuck in the late 1950’s or early 1960’s and not progressing politically along with the population. After Supreme Court Chief Justice Aharon Barak ruled that all things are judicable, the Supreme Court has greatly expanded their purview and fields of power reaching from deciding demolitions of contested regions more often calling for the destruction of Jewish communities while going the extra mile to protect all Palestinian Arab villages to countermanding commander’s and general’s orders to their IDF forces to granting predominantly European funded NGO’s requests which tend to be strictly far left demands.

 

Chief Justice Aharon Barak

Chief Justice Aharon Barak

 

The last Israeli government had instigated some absolutely necessary restrictions, guidelines and strictly defined powers with rigidly implanted divisions between judicable and that which is the responsibility of the courts and justices and that which is outside judicable range. There is much redefining necessary and with any luck a complete revamping of the means by which justices are selected, particularly to the Supreme Court which had become an inner sanctum echoing a long past era refusing to join the present nor would it realize changes which made the landscape defined very differently than the Judges pretend. Allowing, if not encouraging, the roping of the Supreme Court Justices and bringing them closer to having to answer to the desires of the people through taking some decisions from the Supreme Court to altering the means of how new justices are chosen taking from the Supreme Court a veto power against any selection. Finally, there was the means for the Knesset to respond to the court’s overreach by permitting the parliament to override a Supreme Court veto of legislation. This pawned the legal branch of the government to feel threatened and to bite back. They blamed these events on all of the right-wing parties and especially the Prime Minister. The legal difficulties of Prime Minister Netanyahu are part of this reaction by the courts and Attorney General. The Attorney General tasked itself with finding anything by which they could damage or possibly remove the Prime Minister. Some of the charges still remaining unresolved have been placed in a dormant state from previous elections only to be brought to the fore as new elections came into focus. There were two of these charges that came out, the main one being financial misbehavior in the form of kickbacks from a submarine purchase. The finality of this investigation which was initially claimed to involve the Prime Minister only produced charges against lawyers who had lesser roles and vindicated the Prime Minister. The remaining charges are far lesser including one which borders on comical which we have talked of before. They circle around “expensive” gifts received by the Prime Minister and his wife given them by multi-billionaires who when visiting the Prime Minister’s residence for an official dinner. They gave presents such as higher priced champagne and some fine cigars. Apparently, the courts believe that such guests should bring far less expensive gifts such as pictured below. Our friends back in the United States poked much fun about these charges finding them to be more amusing than serious. The media treated this as if they were the proof of bribery despite not being able to find a single quid-pro-quo. Most of this circus will simply be folded up and placed in storage for the next election should Bibi Netanyahu remain as the likely candidate for Prime Minister. The courts and their left-leaning allied parties are frustrated, furious, frantic and willing to do whatever it would take to regain their control which they had for the first thirty plus years of Israeli history. The left believed that they would be the sole power in Israel forever and are surprised, shocked and in a state of unresolved, incensed furor demanding they be returned their rightful place of total control. We can expect this and other contrived problems to resurface repeatedly until the elections are complete and then they will slowly subside.

 

Ronco Veg-O-Matic and Pocket Fisherman

Ronco Veg-O-Matic and Pocket Fisherman

 

Leading up to this last election which just failed to reach a defining coalition, there was a perfect example of this overreach by the Supreme Court. The Knesset election committee had resolved that one Arab Party be disallowed which had numerous former terrorists and recently included a Minister who had joined the Mavi Marmara which attempted to run the military blockade of Hamas in Gaza when numerous IDF sailors were injured with one attempted to be abducted by the crew of the terror ship. The end result was the use of live-fire in which nine of the terrorists were killed and relations with Turkey became tested. Reparations were agreed upon which many on the right found distasteful. The committee also disallowed one candidate from one of the other parties, a Jewish college professor who actively supports the BDS movement detests any Zionist activities within Israel. The Supreme Court ruled that this candidate was just fine and the Arab party completely acceptable but also ruled that one right-wing candidate who is a lawyer and former Knesset Minister be disallowed. It begs the question of how could a former Knesset Minister not be acceptable as a candidate for the Knesset. The answer is simple, he supports restructuring the courts and how jurists are chosen and the Attorney General is appointed. He supports balancing the legislative and administrative branches of government and the Judicial branch. The claim is that by dismantling the forming dictatorial judicial rule of the black robes; the legal branch, especially the Supreme Court and the Attorney General, fear losing their ability to choose their own replacements as this would open the door for justices more in line with the current rightward swing of the population in Israel. This was a fight the legal branch was guaranteed to lose, it was only going to take time as the future of Israel will be more Zionist, more conservative and more religious. Another item is that much of the current judiciary is ardently secular and far more internationalist, border-free, atheistic and intersectional than the population. In all honestly, much of the legal branch is filled with people who are representative of the Israeli population from before 1977 when the first truly Zionist, nationalist, religious right-wing Prime Minister was elected, Prime Minister Menachem Begin. They do not make politicians nor leaders like they used to and Menachem Begin is a prime example.

 

So, is Bibi Netanyahu guilty of any of these charges? This is like asking if President Trump conspired with the Russians or one of the Democrat candidates when looking at much of the Israel media and Bibi with his troubles. He is obviously guilty of receiving some fairly nice cigars and exclusive champagne, but he did not make any moves to repay these gifts, they were gifts and not bribes. Their most presented claim was that the Knesset considered legislation deferential to one of the presenters. That is where the problem with their accusations become obvious as Bibi and his Likud Party assisted in defeating this legislation including Bibi Netanyahu who voted against this legislation. Another claims he traded favorable government actions in order to have a left-leaning media outlet provide him with more favorable coverage. This favorable coverage never materialized and, if anything, this outlet’s coverage became even more critical. If Bibi Netanyahu is actually guilty of these charges, then he is the worst politician at gaining favors or repaying such. These antics are purposed to make the right appear dirty and pave the way for a return to the left-leaning political governance and placing the same people back in power who presented us with the Oslo Accords, Gaza withdrawal (with the assistance of former Likud Prime Minister Arik Sharon) and have completing the two-state solution if only to prove it possible to surrender more of our lands. The September elections and their lead-up is going to be one unbelievable ride through absurdity which is the mainstay of Israeli politics.

 

Whether Bibi Netanyahu is guilty of any of the charges or whether or not the charges actually rise to the level which would remove him from power, the Courts and Attorney General know that any right-leaning government will continue the redefining of the separation of powers in an attempt to rebalance things and put the judicial djinn back into its rightful bottle. The central figure in this dispute is Bibi Netanyahu as the representative of all that is right of center while the Attorney General is fighting for the legal establishment and their left-leaning bend. The weapon is the accusation of criminal activity by the Prime Minister and, as the party lists are made known, attempting to disqualify right-wing candidates while dismissing any disqualifying charges against left-leaning politicians on the left-wing and Arab lists. The legal system is attempting through judicial fiat to enact the two-state solution by any means required. Bibi Netanyahu has been quasi supportive of the most Zionist political parties while often acting towards annexation of the lands west of the Jordan River and beyond the Green Line, the armistice lines from the 1948 Arab war to destroy Israel at her birth. There has already been evidence that at the base of these charges is a political attempt to change the resulting vote of the election. We saw more frequent coverage of the charges against Bibi as the past election neared with the reporting becoming more fantastic and even fanatical. Now that those elections have ended, the coverage and level of excitement around these charges have been reduced to a simmer. With new elections coming in mid-September, we can expect the temperature on these charges to be increased from a mere simmer to a roiling boil over the month of August and into September as Election Day approaches. After the elections, the charges will largely be placed back into storage for the next elections when they will be investigated almost anew and perhaps some new charges of equal veracity will be leveled. This has been the past and is promised to be the future of politics for as long as the judicial branch is politically opposed to the remainder of the Israeli governance.

 

Whether or not Bibi Netanyahu is a criminal, a dirty politician, needs removal or is as pure as the driven snow is something we are not in a place to determine. We doubt he is as pure as the driven snow but also doubt he is as guilty as the media have painted him. In all honesty, we are not Bibi’s greatest of fans and would be extremely happy to have another become Prime Minister, whether a different member from Likud or the leader of another party. We would prefer that the right-leaning parties continue to hold the majority and form the next government. We have noted that Avigdor Lieberman has made his position as left-leaning or possibly solidly leftist which is the reason so many claim they desire forming a government which does not include Yisrael Beiteinu Party. This became evident when Avigdor Lieberman strongly suggested that the next government include the Blue-White Party, Yisrael Beiteinu and Likud along with other parties in a unity government. The problem with his claim is such would not be a unity government but a left-leaning government where the Likud would find themselves very uncomfortable but possibly unable to force new elections, trapping them in a government which refutes their own preferences and interests. But Bibi is more likely a politician under investigation by the opposing side than anywhere near a deadly criminal that the political cartoons paint him to be. But, like President Trump, Bibi should not expect the hyperventilating and total exasperation centered reporting to change that much going into the elections.

 

The voting public is also not taken in largely by these accusations, though some have fallen victim. The problem comes when a new party defines themselves tailored to the public’s slant while their true positions are far different than the image portrayed. Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak may prove their undoing as they have requested that Yair Lapid keep from commenting about his concerns and opposition to the Haredi parties. The Blue-White Party is a combination of Benny Gantz’s Israel Resilience Party and centrist leader Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid Party. The Israel Resilience Party hosts four former generals including some who were Chiefs of Staff. Their claim to fame is that as Generals they know far more about security and how to reach peace agreements with the Palestinian Authority. From what we have read and gathered; their plan is another version of the ill-fated two-state solution. One of their leaders, before being corralled by handlers, spoke freely very early in the lead-up to the last elections. The proposal he made was frightening to those of us here at BTC and which we discussed here. To put it as simply as we are able, for those who refuse to read prior articles, the plan would present the Palestinian Authority with a done deal. They would pull all Israelis within the region defined by the security fence while gifting the Palestinian Authority the lands east of the security fence. This would not demand anything from the Palestinian Authority as just by gifting them these lands, they claim all terrorism and violence will cease. The difference between the defensive security fence and the Green Line is marginal at best (as displayed on the map at the above link). These generals are still fully supporting the land for peace concept of the Oslo Accords and the two-state solution. We can guarantee that Mahmoud Abbas would refuse to accept this offer and would immediately set out for Europe complaining that Israel still refused to give him the 22% of the Mandate he has demanded. For information, the 22% Abbas refers to is all of the British Mandate which was not part of the 78% granted to Jordan, or simply, everything west of the Jordan River, all of Israel. Abbas would also initiate a new intifada with the intent of forcing Israel to send the IDF into the region just gifted to the Palestinian Authority to end the offensive which would be murdering Israelis. Abbas has effectively and completely destroyed, devastated and made null the two-state solution, the Oslo Accords and possibly any opportunity for peace between the Palestinian Arab entity and Israel. Their current attempts to appear as more right-wing than they truly are revealing their claims to be disingenuous should Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak talk to the media and decide he desires joining his fellow generals in the Blue-White Party revealing their leftward tilt.

 

This is also why Mahmoud Abbas will not be in Bahrain for President Trump’s economic conference as he denounced the entirety of President Trump and his peace plan before anything was released. Mahmoud Abbas and his fellow Palestinian Authority leaders have made their desires extremely evident and it has nothing to do with the two-state solution. They have the exact same desires as Hamas and Islamic Jihad, just a slightly different means of attaining an end to Israel and any nation ruled by Jews, their way to having Islamic world domination. They do not wish for self-rule or even their own country, they simply want to destroy our country. This is why there can be no peace agreement which would be worth the paper it is written upon. Abbas has stated that should any peace ever be reached with Israel; it would only bring a temporary respite from terrorism which would restart and continue demanding more territory followed by another respite followed be restart of terror until they could easily defeat Israel or the Jews simply leave, deserting their country. This is the only result Abbas and his colleagues will find acceptable. Perhaps President Trump is more aware than the media paints him and he is planning on forming a peace which leaves Abbas and the Palestinian Authority out in the cold. Things may be about to get very interesting, the Trump peace plan, the Israeli elections and the leftist media in conniptions.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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June 18, 2019

Election Roller-Coaster Taking Abrupt Turns

 

There have been a few spins and fast turns of late. Some revealed opportunism while others clarified the politics of others. Some were potentially expected and known while others leave one scratching their head as two leaders of one party appear to be heading for different goals. There are some facing an upwards climb in order to remain at the top while others see them simply dancing on in and taking whatever position they desire making any demand they wish. Some of the above may be hyperbole, but it has been a fun and interesting ride this past week leaving much to ponder. Where it will all fall out is anybody’s guess. Likud still expects to form the next coalition and the United Right plans on retaining what they fought over so desperately to put together. Blue White Party is working on damage control on two fronts. First, they are seeking to tone down the anti-Haredi messages and are requesting that Yair Lapid not be so out front and take a quiet seat allowing the all-knowing generals to lead. This is their, as one writer put it, “Rolling out the Generals.” This was a left-wing tactic which has been used before with the most memorable being Ehud Barak, who as having been a general would know every right move. Well, that one did not pan out as prescribed in the campaign and he was soon voted out of politics, then in, then out again and so on. One person not toning down the we give the Haredi too much so it is time for them to serve in greater number in the IDF is Avigdor Lieberman, who has created his own loop-de-loop, more on this later.

 

BTC Israeli Election Banner

 

Let’s start with Likud, the party expecting to put Bibi Netanyahu back in as Prime Minister. The reality is that they are very likely correct in their supposition unless the unexpected should befall us. Please do not take this as supporting Bibi Netanyahu. What must be granted is that Bibi Netanyahu has fulfilled the expectations that he invented himself. He has made the Likud believe that only he as their leader can lead Israel safely. This has allowed the Likud Party to remain as the mainstay of right-wing political expectations and prevented any mass exodus supporting anyone else. Bibi Netanyahu has also seen to the fact that nobody within the party is permitted to challenge his position. Those who do are often politically decimated or given a position which removes them from contention but also is such that one would be insane to refuse the appointment. This has led to Bibi Netanyahu leading his party for an unprecedented amount of time and as his party is the most prominent on the right, he will be the longest serving Prime Minister in Israeli history and will remain as such for the foreseeable future as his accomplishments politically are unprecedented in a democracy. Netanyahu will remain as the Israeli Prime Minister into the future until he, or Sarah Netanyahu, decide that it is time for him to retire and probably seek the position as President, something he is very likely to be given.

 

Meanwhile, there has been a call for a unity government with Likud Joining the Blue White Party along with the rest of the left-wing parties including Yisroel Beiteinu, where we are to expect their leader, Avigdor Lieberman, to be given the Ministry of Defense. This call was made by Avigdor Lieberman who was responsible partially, if not largely responsible, for the collapse of the last Knesset coalition. Lieberman has been suspected of socialist leanings and only joining right-wing coalitions simply to receive those guarantees of positions and monetary support for the Russian immigrants he represents. He is doing exactly that which party members expect, he is supporting the interests of his members. His problem is that his constituents are slowly decreasing as a percentage of the voting population. Avigdor Lieberman knows that any renowned achievements he might still be able to make have to come sooner rather than later as he might not have a later politically. One thing we know is that he desperately wants to be given the Ministry of Defense as from there he believes he can force Haredi into serving in the IDF. What is not being noticed by the media and others when covering Lieberman and this issue is that the Haredi are entering the IDF and National Service in record numbers without anybody pressing the issue. Reality is that the more the Haredim are pressured, the stiffer and more widespread their resistance becomes. Simply leave things to progress naturally and there will be little difference between the Haredi and the rest of the population when it comes to IDF and National Service entrants. People are very much a liquid of some unknown sort which will naturally flow more easily than being pushed which is immediately pressed back against and resisted. The Haredim entering the rest of society when it comes to working, IDF service and National Service volunteering, will probably be more easily attained the less aggressively it is pressed upon them. Sometimes, simply leaving it all up to Hashem and the problems often cure themselves. If only the entire world would take that very same approach.

 

Ayelet Shaked and Naftali Bennett

Ayelet Shaked and Naftali Bennett

 

Now allow us to discuss the variations for the future of the New Right Party. This was the effort by Naftali Bennett for him to establish a secular and accepting of religious Zionist party. His efforts appeared to many to be as if he was forming a party which would be Likud Lite, the slender and more flexible Likud which would annex most of the major settlement communities in the Shomron. They formed this party by taking the top two people and another of the Ministers from the Jewish Home Party leaving their former party lurching as it sought new leadership. The New Right rocketed immediately to twelve to as much as fourteen mandates in polling. We warned people that this was not going to last and their future would be better invested in remaining with Jewish Home. We were almost universally ignored. Well, Jewish Home anchored a three-party coalition and cleared threshold comfortably while the New Right floundered and failed to reach threshold by the slimmest of margins. Now at one extreme we have Ayelet Shaked, or at least people claiming to represent her, making moves to bring the New Right into the United Right providing that they replace Rafi Peretz at the top of the ticket with Ayelet Shaked. This has not sat well with Rafi Peretz who after being wrestled from retirement with little desire if any to enter politics into leading Jewish Home and their rebuilding after Bennett and Shaked bolted to form their own party. Now that he has taken over this responsibility, the retired General, former Chief Rabbi of the IDF and combat helicopter pilot, he is not the type to leave a job half finished. Rafi Peretz has stated that he intends to remain as the head of the United Right. But wait, there’s more.

 

At the same time there have been reports that Naftali Bennett has been trying to attract Moshe Feiglin to form a coalition of his Zehut Party with the New Right as the almost two mandates which Zehut received would easily put the New Right over the threshold to enter the Knesset. This begs the question as to how one party will be capable of making deals with two separate parties. Perhaps there is some trouble brewing in the New Right leadership. They have apparently forgotten rule one of a partnership, communication. Then there is the other possibility; they may have decided to attempt separate paths taking whichever one proves to show the most promise. In the interests of Zehut, the offer by the New Right would guarantee Moshe Feiglin making his way into the Knesset without having to compromise on any positions as they would go their separate way after the election. This might not work as well for Moshe Feiglin should there be a greater coalition of the United Right including both the New Right and Zehut which might gain the United Right an additional five or possibly as many as seven additional mandates and allow for Likud and the United Right along with the Haredi Parties, potentially they might be able to choose only one of the Haredi Parties forming a coalition without any need for Avigdor Lieberman. This possibility of a right-wing and Haredi coalition without Yisroel Beiteinu being required to clear the sixty-one mandates to form a coalition. This would be the intrigue of the pre-election machinations except for the one known, the real suspense is what ploy will Bibi Netanyahu use in the closing days to agitate and awaken his base and the other question is at whom will Bibi target with his coming emergency, all hands on deck call which we are expecting. Bibi would not let us down, would he?

 

The Labor Party is also running around with much of a frenzied emergency. One of the most successful parties in Israel history and the sole leaders of Israel politics are now facing with the distinct possibility of not clearing threshold for the first time. They are looking both to the right and the Blue White Party and to the left to Meretz Party to find anybody to throw them a life-preserver and help pull them across threshold and back from oblivion. This is one of the major results of the Israel public moving to the right as well as becoming more Zionist and religious. Labor, a secular left-wing party has been left behind. Add in the Blue White Party and the excitement they cause with their four generals and their claim that as generals they are far more suited to lead the nation than Bibi as he never reached such high rank and thus must not be as prepared to face the security threats facing Israel. We predict that Blue White might not be favorable to any approach from Labor Party as it would not provide sufficient number of votes to make the surrender of two or possibly three seats on their party list. Labor and Meretz merging would be a more natural fit and could potentially lead to a permanent merger forming a somewhat stronger far left party. They would bridge the entirety of the left between the Arab lists and the Communist party to the Blue White Party. A Labor Meretz merger would garner them likely two additional seats in the Knesset and is the only means for Labor to guarantee to get anybody into the next government. This has a potential to change in favor for the Labor Party as they are choosing new leadership and with change there is always the possibility of the unexpected.

 

Lastly, one last means of solving the apparent confusion between the two leaders of the New Right, Naftali Bennett who is wooing Zehut and Ayelet Shaked who is making approaches to the United Right and still make Rafi Peretz happy as well. First thing is to set the record straight that Rafi Peretz is and will remain at the top of the United Right with Bezalel Smotrich occupying the second position. Then simply dangle having Ayelet Shaked reappointed to the Justice Ministership as part of their criteria for joining the coalition. This would make many within the parties of the United Right somewhat more motivated, Ayelet Shaked would be receiving something she covets far more than a top slot on the ticket and possibly not becoming Justice Minister to finish her work there and Naftali Bennet could continue to take the remainder of the New Right, those who would not follow Ayelet Shaked, and he could join with Zehut. Making any offer to either Ayelet Shaked or Naftali Bennett after their disgraceful bolting from Jewish Home and almost destroying the party has to be seen as generosity seldom found in politics. The only reason we advise that this is a decent idea is due to the work Shaked has already performed at this post and it would be of benefit to Israel for her to complete her vision. Any further tweaks could be made along the road. The only other item is we bet that this election Bibi Netanyahu emergency get out the vote last minute revelation will target Avigdor Lieberman and might be sufficient to prevent his party from clearing threshold, and providing Bibi with what he believes is justifiable revenge.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

May 31, 2019

Trump Peace Plan Strikes Israeli Election Dysfunction

 

President Trump had announced his intention to present his much-anticipated peace plan after Ramadan and the Israeli elections. Israel had their elections and the idea was to wait for the end of Ramadan and then let loose the plan. Then there was the hiccup, Israeli elections are requiring a redo. The just completed election provided current and potentially rechosen Prime Minister Netanyahu with sixty Knesset Ministers joining a coalition. The problem is he required half of one-hundred-twenty, plus one equaling sixty-one. The holdout was Avigdor Lieberman with the five Ministers of the Yisrael Beiteinu Party. What makes this turn of events all the more frustrating is that it was Avigdor Lieberman’s pulling out of the last coalition which initiated the slow collapse which was terminated when Likud Party leader, Bibi Netanyahu, finally pulling the plug leading to this past inconclusive election. The telltale lack of a confirmation resulting from the election is that had the Blue-White Party managed to form this coalition with every Minister remaining which Bibi Netanyahu could not land, they too would have a result of sixty, one Minister short as well. All of this begs a question of whether the Israeli system has some difficulties beyond that of other parliamentary systems?

 

The main problem is the requirement to patch together a coalition of half of the total Knesset plus one. Reaching that sixty-one figure is challenging enough in a country which has so many parties which all receive four or more Ministers as each party has some area of disagreement with most of the other parties thus the conflicting demands are difficult to find a workable solution acceptable to all. But there is another difficulty which makes it more difficult for both the left-leaning parties and the right-leaning parties, the Arab parties which have never joined either side in a government and usually garner anywhere between six and fifteen seats. This past election their lists came close to ten Ministers who were never going to join either side. Now the requirement to make a government, instead of sixty-one from one-hundred-twenty, it became finding sixty-one from one-hundred-ten which meant garnering fifty-five plus percent. That might not be such a challenge in countries with two or three main parties needed to form a government. This last Israeli elections, the only combination requiring less than four or more parties would have required the two main adversarial parties to have worked together in a new government, not something which was even remotely likely, though some feared that this might be the means by which the chosen party might decide to form what are laughingly referred to as a unity government, something they truly are not. This past election, any chance of a coalition between the two main adversarial parties was completely impossible. As it was, the larger party which rose to second place was actually three parties merging so as to be capable of defeating Bibi. Even that proved insufficient. Additionally, there was mention of bringing the Arab parties on board a left-leaning government and even going to that extreme would have still only registered sixty providing they could get Lieberman to agree, the problem Bibi was unable to solve.

 

The other item was scheduled to coincide with the new Israeli government being seated and the end of Ramadan on Tuesday, June 4, 2019. This has been pushed off until some point after Tuesday, September 17, 2019 assuming that the next elections prove definitive.

 

BTC Israeli Election Banner

 

So, that begs another question, what is the likelihood that the next elections will not simply return more of the same. The ramifications of the last week and the theatrics and everything else the Israeli public witnessed which was being passed off intelligent disagreements over the draft and the numbers of deferments provided the Haredi population so they can pursue Torah scholarship will hopefully be reflected in the voting of the public in September. Unfortunately, much of the Israeli public, just as it is in many other nations, are dedicated to their chosen party election after election. This makes the difference in the totals merely a marginal amount between left and right parties. The two sides do have some fluctuations as to which party takes the lead and the relative strengths of the individual parties. For an extended period, the Labor Party ruled the left but has lost support in recent years. What does not move anywhere near as quickly is the public moving across the center line between right and left. As this takes quite a while for such changes, this is a good time to point out that the Israeli public has been slowly moving to the right, becoming more religious and becoming less concerned with what the Europeans, United Nations and other outside influences think Israel should act. This has resulted in a current near balance between those on the left plus the Arab lists compared to those on the right. If we had to make a concerted guess, we would place the divide at between fifty-five to sixty percent right or right-leaning and the remainder opposed.

 

This often begs the question as to why the right does not simply win outright. The answer is actually one of the most basic and simply reasons for so much of the troubles in world politics, egos. There were two right-wing parties which did not clear threshold. Between them, they cost the right wing somewhere between four and six seats which would have made the five Ministers allied under Avigdor Lieberman unnecessary which would have made him far more agreeable. One did not clear threshold mainly because Bibi Netanyahu cut their support from under them in the final two days before voting partially as revenge for past ills between Bennett and Netanyahu and partly to take the votes and the other party simply refused to merge with other right leaning parties over slight differences and an over-reliance on the polls which gave him false hopes. This will be somewhat different come September as there are now rumors that Bennett will merge his party into Likud, which we will believe when we see the report that the deal has been signed, sealed and delivered to the public. Whether the other rogue right-leaning party will join with the United Right-Wing Parties or remain on his own tilting at windmills remains to be seen. There are also rumblings that the marriage which formed the Blue-White Party may be starting to fray around the middle. Our best guess is that Lieberman and his party might find their gambit backfiring and his party not making threshold or barely getting by losing one seat. Further, Netanyahu and the Likud will very possibly be penalized by the voters costing them as many as four to five seats. These seats will mostly go to either Bennett or to the United Right-Wing Parties. The next Israeli government, without some unforeseen seismic shift in the population, will be a right of center, Zionist and nationalist government with a strong religious flavor. With the shift moving to the supporting parties from Likud, Netanyahu might finally have to find some modesty and no longer act as if the government is his plaything which must do what he demands. This could prove to be an improvement as Bibi will also need to fulfill his nationalist promises about extending Israeli civil law to the settlements, all the settlements, just as he promised. Having an increased religious-Zionist interest possibly rivaling either of the Haredi Parties, this could prove to be most interesting. The only thing left is to wait and see how everything settles out.

 

The new elections will prove revitalizing for the Jewish Home Party which was all but destroyed for the month after Bennett and Shaked left taking one more of their Knesset Ministers with them for the ride and formed his New Right Party. After some arguments, blame setting and finally deciding on the person desired to take the lead, all they had left was to convince their choice that he desired rebuilding the party. The initial answer, if the rumors are correct, told the representatives for the Jewish Home that he had no desire ever, and especially not now, to be in politics, let alone in such a responsible decision. This simply motivated the people within Jewish Home involved with the decision and they approached this gentleman again imploring him to take the challenge as it required a man of his stature and his reputation for honor, honesty, straight shooting, nerve, resolve and most of all for speaking what is in his heart and keeping to his promises as his word is his bond. Some were skeptical that any man could fill the epic hole at the heart of the party. The skeptics were dead wrong, Rabbi and retired IDF General, combat helicopter pilot, and IDF Chief Rabbi Rafi Peretz was everything that had been advertised. We here at Beyond the Cusp were amazed at the reactions we ran into when Rabbi Peretz name was mentioned for the first time to people immediately after he finally accepted the challenge. The positivity was actually amazing and now that he will have three and a half months to make speeches and be seen and heard by the average Israelis instead of having to campaign with a mere three and a half weeks to go until Election Day as he was given for the just held election. This will be an interesting election as September approaches as in Israel, elections are made or lost in the final few weeks. More to come as summer’s end nears.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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