Beyond the Cusp

September 16, 2019

Election Day is Almost Here

 

Well, we are going to try and elect a government one more time tomorrow. We attempted to do so back in April but that became a bad joke as nobody could reach the magic number of sixty-one mandates. There is a better than even chance that we will simply have a repeat performance by an evenly divided country. Now, we know the question on so many minds, how can there be an election without one side reaching a majority. The answer is easy to understand once one realizes that a large segment of the populace refuses to join with either the left or right, the Arab sector parties. When Ra’amBalad and HadashTa’al, both a combination of far-left party and an Arab party plus another Arab party with a Communist party, take on average around ten to a twelve mandates, this means the major parties need to gather sixty-one or more mandates out of merely one-hundred-eight to one-hundred-ten available mandates. This means that instead of being required to form a government with fifty-percent of the vote plus one mandate, to form a government they require between fifty-five-percent to fifty-seven-percent plus one to form a government, a far more difficult task. These outlier parties have as part of their platforms anti-Zionism, support for two-state-solution, socialism/communism and a general disregard, if not outright hatred, of the right and simple disdain for the left and support for Israeli Arabs plus the Arabs of the Palestinian Authority and those in Gaza. Israelis will await the results as it is unsure which side, right-wing or left-wing, will be able of forming a coalition. So, what should the world expect come Wednesday morning and the results are finalized?

 

BTC Israeli Election Banner

 

We can all expect another close election with the balance being determined by which side gets their supporters to the polls to vote. Initial indications from those permitted to take advantage of early voting have presented a disturbing realization, they are voting at a rate measurably below their percentage in April. Should this hold valid for the turnout for the elections tomorrow, it means that whichever side loses the least in turnout will likely come out as the leader. But just because one side receives a larger percentage of the vote does not mean that they will realize sufficient support to form a government. Things have gotten to the point of absurd as Bibi Netanyahu came out making a similar announcement so as not to be outdone by the Blue White Party, where Ganz stated he would accept Arab parties in his coalition if needed to form a government and that negotiations were proceeding in that direction; Bibi stated he would not refuse to work with Arab Ministers who might join his coalition. The reality is almost every Arab Minister from the Arab parties would never join a Bibi led coalition, but Ganz could be a wholly different and definitive possibility. Even should either side make a coalition with Arab Party Ministers, such a coalition would be excessively shaky and unlikely to be sufficiently stable to survive even one year.

 

So, what has accurately changed since April? One thing is that Avigdor Lieberman, leader of the Yisrael Beiteinu Party, has entered into a vote sharing where should one part be close to attaining an additional seat, the other party can gift them any votes which would not cost their party a position. This is performed in order to attempt and provide one of the parties, and thus their combined number of mandates, an additional position. Lieberman had been seen as potentially leading his party along with the rest of the right-wing parties and this places Yisrael Beiteinu definitely allied with the left-wing and has removed any doubt as to their current loyalty. This is a definite change from history and was suspected when Lieberman refused to join any government led by Netanyahu, thus moving to the left of center. This could result in their receiving fewer votes and thus mandates with some of their more conservative members leaving and joining Likud or possibly even Yamina combined right party. This will be another of the variables which will be beyond the polls and prognosticators ability to accurately predict. Then there is the other difficulty which drives and makes Israeli elections different and more variable than other parliamentary governments, the fact that there are numerous, what are best described as, personality parties where they are centered around a person whose positions are often either narrow or even contradictory such as being largely a right-wing party as well as marijuana legalization, which often fail to reach the threshold in order to receive ministers in the government and thus their votes go wasted. This often leads to what becomes lost positions and mandates for either side depending on how many of such parties or alliances of such parties fail to make it into the government. On the other hand, should the majority of such parties on either side actually make it into the government, then that side will have a stronger position in forming a government.

 

So, what have the polls been claiming? Here we must be honest; we have tended to disregard Israeli polling as it is often well off the mark. If President Trump is to be believed, then Prime Minister Netanyahu will waltz to victory with ease, another thing we doubt as nothing in Israeli politics is easy. What people have mentioned in conversations about the elections is that there are polls claiming the right will form the next government and claiming the left will form the next government. There you have it, polls made to order, and that is the unfortunate reality about Israeli polling. Israel has the same dividing political criteria as in the United States. The big cities, starting with Tel Aviv, vote largely for the left-wing while the religious, Zionist and smaller cities tend to vote more right-wing. Similarly to the United States, the population is relatively evenly split with one exception, right-wing voters in Israel are often the ones more determined to make it out and vote. This may prove to be the defining difference when the dust settles and Israel will once more set out to form a government. The bigger question is which person, Bibi or Ganz and company, does the Israeli populace trust to lead the country sustaining the economy and keeping the nation safer. This is where the left very well could hit their largest problem, they are too defined by the memory of the Oslo Accords and the well over a thousand Israelis murdered in the following flood of terrorist attacks. Netanyahu has allowed for terrorism to be greatly decreased with the terror wall, technological miracles such as Iron Dome, and other mitigating factors. Netanyahu has also had the advantage of a strong economic picture. But he does have one looming fault which he has attempted to cajole and coax a picture of his turning over a new leaf and suddenly has reached a point where he claims he will extend Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley, all of the Israeli towns beyond the Green Line and numerous other offerings to the Zionists and stronger right-wing voters. Part of this rhetoric has been his weapon attempting to drive voters from the further right Yamina into the fold of Likud. Netanyahu has gone what some may see as overboard with claims that Yamina will not pass threshold and thus voting for them is wasting your vote and only the Likud is the safe vote. This has been the main difficulty with Bibi as he desires having a coalition made up of Likud without any other parties. By attempting to reach such, he often attacks the other right-wing parties which in the end makes forming a right-wing government that much more difficult as he could cost some of the smaller parties to fail to reach threshold thanks to his attacks. His attack on Yamina would be completely unfounded as it is a coalition of parties which Bibi pushed and pressured Jewish Home, National Union and The New Right to combine so they would easily pass threshold and now he is attacking them for not being able to make threshold. Netanyahu has also been seen to be attacking largely Zionist parties such as Yamina which makes his promises for extending sovereignty all the less believable. Only a strong showing by Yamina would be capable of holding Netanyahu to his word while others would allow him to forget these promises seeing them simply as politicking for these elections.

 

Then there is always the question as to who other than Bibi can lead Israel from the right. That is a question which will have to be seen after the era of Netanyahu as the Likud is the eight-hundred-pound gorilla in the room. But this will change over time and within the next thirty years, and conceivably less, the leading party will likely be a coalition of religious-Zionist parties which will have taken control of Israeli politics. This prediction is based on simple mathematics. The religious sector in Israel, as in the United States and Europe, are reproducing at a far higher rate than the left-leaning populace. This population will be split between the Haredi Parties and the religious-Zionist parties and somewhat less for Likud. There will be, for some time, the ability for Likud to continue to lead as long as they can find some means of retaining the support of the Haredi Parties. Eventually, their allegiance will be swayed to support of the religious-Zionist groupings as they take the lead ahead of the Likud. But all of this will take a few decades and, in the meantime, Israel is a very divided nation with a fine enough balance that we might not form a government with these elections either making new elections in another three months necessary.

 

So, what happens if we have another election which does not produce a government? Well, as we have mentioned to friends and observed, Israel is doing just fine without any functioning elected government and the main difference is there is less news. We have always felt that less news is good and no news is great despite it making blogging more difficult. Eventually Israeli populous will figure out what is what and a government will be voted into power and then we will have more news than we probably desire. We have often found the old Ronald Reagan quote of, “Government is not the solution to our problem, government is the problem.” Perhaps this is partly why we have no problem having Israel continue without a government. Further, as long as we do not have a government, we will not have Trump’s “Deal of the Century,” something we have had a great deal of trepidation concerning what it may present. We are aware that the State Department likely had a fair amount of influence, and that is one area of the United States government which has proven to be very much anti-Israel and definitively anti-Zionist. Their influence is the central figure in our consternation. Perhaps Israel being unable to form a government is Hashem’s way of protecting her from potential disasters where Israel is once again forced to make concessions without a single guarantee that such concessions will bring us any peace. The greatest three concessions Israel has made have been some of the most destructive and now constitute the greatest threats to Israel’s future. The first was the Oslo Accords which brought us the two-state-solution paradigm which promises to produce even more terror wars were it ever to be fulfilled, the pulling of the IDF out of Lebanon without any promise for safety on the northern border leading to Hezballah on the northern border representing the Iranian desires and whims and finally the Gaza withdrawal which produced Hamas and Islamic Jihad who both are also enforcers of the will of Iran. We have our doubts that Israel could survive too many more peace plans as each brings us a new disaster and the renewed threat of devastating wars in the future. The only secure resolution of the Arab threats to Israel is the world finally actually fulfilling the promises we were given and are still the only solution which meets with International Laws, treaties, conferences, Mandates and all enforceable by the United Nations. We are not fools and realize that much of the world desires an end to the state of Israel even if it costs, or especially if it costs, the lives of seven-million Jews. Perhaps the reality is Israel is safest and best off as long as she does not have a government upon which such future demands would be pressed. Yes, perhaps no government is the best government, something Thomas Jefferson would have understood and likely supported.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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