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Netanyahu will be next Prime Minister

Netanyahu will be next Prime Minister

Bibi Netanyahu will be Israel’s next Prime Minister, by a whisker, via Jerusalem Post (h/t @TomBevanRCP):

In the final count, Likud won 31 Knesset seats, Yesh Atid 19, Labor 15, Bayit Yehudi 12, Shas 11, United Torah Judaism seven, Meretz and The Tzipi Livni Party six each, the three Arab parties a total of 11, and Kadima two. This gives the Right bloc 61 seats and the Center-Left bloc 59 in the next Knesset.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu began the process of building a new governing coalition on Wednesday with his Likud Beytenu ally Avigdor Liberman and the big winner in Tuesday’s election, Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid.

Netanyahu agreed with Lapid and Liberman that the next government would focus on reducing housing costs, reforming the electoral system, and equalizing the burden of military and national service. But they did not agree on which parties should be in the coalition and who should receive the top portfolios.

The prime minister would prefer to give the Foreign Ministry position to Lapid, who speaks perfect British-accented English and whose moderate image could improve Israel’s ties with the United States and Europe. But Liberman said he wanted to return to his former job once he is clear of his legal troubles and suggested that Lapid be finance minister.

A reader writes, with the subject line “Israel and the Tea Party Strategy”:

I was expecting to write to you with the opposite point, about the vindication of these strategies, but unfortunately, I’m saying this instead.

The security right in Israel tried the Tea Party strategy of electing more extreme candidates in the primaries to for [sic] the establishment leader Bibi to take a harder line. Bennet and to a lesser extent Shas was basically Operation Counterweight. The security conservative Jewish Home and the (Sephardi) religious conservative Shas even RAN as that in some of their literature – as conservative parties to be part of Netanyahu’s coalition, and in Bennett’s case, more explicitly to give it more backbone.

But this failed. They got a more extreme set of MK’s, but they lost seats, and will have barely enough to form a coalition – in fact, they may wind up including Lapid in it somehow and leaving some of the right (in this case, potentially Shad and maybe even UTJ), resulting in a fundamentally leftward shift.

My response: First, it’s overly simplistic to try to compare tactics and results in two entirely different systems; given the mulititude of Israeli parties, there’s something for everyone. Second, I reject that Tea Party backed candidates were more “extreme;” by characterizing it that way, the reader gives away an implicit bias.

But most important, didn’t Republicans choose the guy who was the antithesis of the Tea Pary movement? How did that work out?


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“…the reader gives away an implicit bias.”

Perhaps should read “…the AUTHOR gives away…”

In any event…Wheeoo…!!! A close one…!

    casualobserver in reply to Ragspierre. | January 24, 2013 at 9:53 am

    More like the author clearly states and explains his positions. No revelations required.

    Now that Obama has shown he fells completely unbounded with his reelection, and with John Kerry his likely person on the street, it will be interesting to see if the relationship with Israel becomes even more divisive. Expect our administration to do everything possible to energize the differences in the new coalition. Just as it is an overt ploy here, ‘divide and conquer’ seems logical for Israel too, as a strategy for the WH.

As a resident of Israel for going on 15 years, my personal opinion is that the “Lapid’s ideal” graph (bottom right) is the most likely. Labor won’t sit with Netanyahu, and Yesh Atid won’t sit with Shas or UTJ. Livni will balk at sitting with Netanyahu, but Lapid will convince her to do so, and in the end she will because her alternative is sliding further into irrelevancy.

As for your reader, he’s about 10 years late with his Tea Party analogy. The Likud has already undergone that (long) process, courtesy of Moshe Feiglin (who I’ve often thought can be compared to Sarah Palin in many ways), culminating in his list of candidates running the table in the primaries a few months back – they represent the upper third of the party now, save Bibi himself.

It’s frightening to see Obama ‘targeting’ Israel, the Jewish homeland, the only democracy in the Middle East, and America’s staunched ally, along with Great Britain.

Imagine what he has in store for America? Remember this:

“Obama czar, Marxist Mark Lloyd outlines how the willing media can and should be used against government opposition, in order to silence and then end free speech. In one of the most terrifying messages yet from an Obama (not the United States) Government, current ObamaCzar Lloyd talks about the Rwandan Hutu’s (he calls the Hutus “one tribe”) use of its media in order to affect “social change” via genocide. Note: Approximately 800,000 Tutsis were slaughtered in 100 days.Lloyd initially speaks casually and then exhibits smiles as he continues when he says: “State radio in Rwanda was taken over by one tribe-one group-and they began to put out propaganda so that the Tutsis were targeted. And what resulted…was essentially genocide in Rwanda. The State, or this particular tribe which controlled the radio, very purposefully moved to ensure they could ‘do things’.”

And at the genocide trials years from now, the Obama-zombies will invoke the Hillary Clinton defense, “They’re all dead — what difference does that make now?”

She reminded me of Nazi war criminals saying, “I was just following orders.”

The fight is on, and Diane Feinstein is gunning for your weapons of self defense.

The idea of Shas or UTJ as “operation counterweight” is ridiculous. Shas in particular is squishy on security (the Oslo and Gaza disasters are both its fault), and socialist in economics. Indeed, in many ways Yesh Atid, with its liberal economics, can be seen as a sort of TEA Party analogue.

In any case, Shas and UTJ did not lose seats; on the contrary, UTJ got an unprecedented 7 seats, while Shas kept its 11.

The big disappointment for the security right was the failure of Otzma Leyisrael to cross the 2% threshold, which means 2 seats were thrown down the toilet. Pre-election polls did show them crossing the threshold, but on the day too many people panicked and decided to vote for someone else instead, thus making a self-fulfilling prophecy. If just 15K more people had stuck to their guns, Otzma would have crossed the threshold and the two strongest voices for no compromise on security would be back in the Knesset to pressure Netanyahu from the right and give him something to be more moderate than.

Otzma was stupid to split off from Bayit Yehudi in the first place. What possible leverage could they have as a two- or even three-seat faction? WILL THEY NEVER LEARN?

    You took the words right out of my keyboard. I was so happy when Bennett managed to unite the National Union with Bayit Yehudi, and it was so frustrating to see Otzma break away. If they’d have stayed with Bennett the party would have won at least 14 seats, possibly more.

      Milhouse in reply to anneinpt. | January 24, 2013 at 10:41 pm

      My understanding is that Bennett refused to have them in his list, so they had no choice but to run separately.

      The threshold rule is bizarre and undemocratic. Even if a party can’t get in, at least its votes should not be thrown out; they should be treated like the excess votes of parties that do cross the threshold, and transferred to the party’s allies according to the agreements registered in advance. (Better still, how they are transferred ought to be up to the voter, as it is in Australia, but that’s a minor refinement. The main thing is that they should not be thrown out.)

        Re Otzma, OK, I thought it was the other way round. Still, it’s a shame. I think every party can have a broad spectrum of opinion within its parameters.

        I disagree that the wasted votes should be distributed amongst other parties. In this way the public will never learn not to vote for fringe parties, safe in the knowledge that their vote will go to another party.

          Milhouse in reply to anneinpt. | January 25, 2013 at 4:27 pm

          Why should the public “learn” such a lesson? It’s antidemocratic and unfair. On the contrary, the system should be set up to encourage people to vote their true preferences, and the easiest way is preferential voting, as is done perfectly in Australia, and imperfectly in Israel through the הסכמי עודפים. The main flaw in Israel is that these agreements apply only to votes for those parties who passed the threshold, and not to votes for those who didn’t; it would be simplicity itself to apply the same rule to both sets of votes. It would also be reasonable simple to give the choice to the voters themselves, either through a variant of the “above the line” voting system for the Australian senate, or in some other way.

Henry Hawkins | January 24, 2013 at 1:57 pm

We have to believe that, no matter how inane the idea, John Kerry’s ego will make him envision himself as the leading candidate in 2016 for the Dem nomination. Will this create tension and conflict between what the WH tells Kerry to do as SoS and what he judges to be politically expedient vis-a-vis a 2016 run?

At any rate, I’d love to see Dem primary season debates between Kerry and Joe Biden: Lurch versus Uncle Fester.

Oh, almost forgot to mention… John Kerry served in Viet Nam.

I saw on Twitter Mark Mellman was involved with the campaign for Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid. I had a bad feeling when he tweeted:

Looks like our client #Yesh Atid will go from 0 seats to second largest party in Israel in one election….historic….congrats to team

If anyone has read “The Victory Lab” it is obvious Mellman is an important person to watch, his name comes up frequently. Tactics used to reelect Barack Obama and Harry Reid seem to be his specialty. While other pollsters fumble to get a handle on what is bubbling on the surface, Mellman manages to trace the opinions being moved by new strategies below the surface. It seems pretty clear these strategies were employed to affect change in the Israeli election as well.

I really don’t think this is about choosing a tea party candidate vs non-teaparty types, it is about competing with a ground game that leaves us in the dust no matter where it is employed.

I agree with the assessments of Yackums and Millhouse above, though I disagree that Lapid won’t sit with Shas. I rather think it might be the other way round. Didn’t Livni go on record as saying she won’t sit with Likud or Bennet? And Yachimovitch has said she refuses to join the coalition at all and will sit in the opposition and try to bring down the governemnt.

On the other hand, when offered a place in the government most politicians will forget their principles. Yes, I am cynical. That’s what 35 years in Israel will do to a person.

My educated guess is that the coalition will look like a mixture of Bibi’s ideal and Lapid’s ideal.

BannedbytheGuardian | January 24, 2013 at 4:45 pm

Israel is also 6 months behind on a budget , which I read is the reason the election was called early.

I think annein pt might have it there.

No use crying over spilt kefir – just get something worked out .

BannedbytheGuardian | January 24, 2013 at 5:03 pm

This brings up an interesting experience I had as a Guardian poster.

During the Blood Libel drama , I posted Dershowitz’s defence & noted Netanyahu’s support for Palin. Posters there went off on a tirade of mockery because Ihad put forward Bibi as an expert on matters Jewish.

If the Leader of the State of Israel is not a contemporary Jewish authority but the Guardian is – eeekks – this is what Logical historical thought is up against.