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Israel's election The hawks’ wings are clipped
The Economist ^ | Jan 23rd 2013 | "D.L"

Posted on 01/24/2013 8:40:30 AM PST by Colonel Kangaroo

YAIR LAPID, a former television talk-show host whose secular, middle-of-the-road party soared into second place in Israel’s election on January 22nd, wrote a popular column for years in the newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, in which he would ask, “What is it to be Israeli?” What, in other words, does it take to feel you belong in the Jewish state? The question became his trademark. Now a large chunk of the electorate—a lot larger than the pollsters predicted—has given an answer that may reshape Israel’s future, not least by improving the chance of a durable peace with the Palestinians.

Mr Lapid’s party, Yesh Atid (There is a Future), running for the first time, got 19 seats in the 120-seat parliament, against 31 for Likud-Beitenu, led by the incumbent prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, who is still expected to retain his post. But he will find it much harder in the next month or so to rejig his ruling coalition. Hawkish and religious parties that have been generally loth to offer the sort of territorial and other compromises needed to revive the peace process got half the seats. But the election result shows that Israelis on the more malleable middle ground are still a force to be reckoned with. The post-election bargaining will be a lot trickier than Mr Netanyahu expected.

Two key consequences may ensue. One is that Naftali Bennett, the religious hawk who rejects the idea of Palestinian state altogether, may not have to be brought into a government. Pollsters had expected his new party to do so well that Mr Netanyahu would have had to give him a senior post.

The other is that it may prove impossible for Mr Netanyahu to include both Mr Lapid’s secular party and other religious parties in a ruling coalition. They are at loggerheads with each other, among other things over the issue of whether Ultra-Orthodox men should have to serve in the armed forces. If Mr Netanyahu found it impossible to include Mr Bennett and the religious parties in a coalition, he might have to bring in not just Mr Lapid but the likes of Tzipi Livni, a former foreign minister whose new party’s main policy is to cut a deal with the Palestinians; she got six seats. Shelly Yachimovich, whose Labour party came third with 15 seats, has promised not to join any government led by Mr Netanyahu.

The election result proclaims that “being Israeli” does not mean you have to share the nationalist-religious zeitgeist that has swept through Israel in recent years and seemed to be propelling Mr Bennett and his Yisrael Beitenu (Jewish Home) party into a position of influence and perhaps even power.

For much of the campaign, Mr Bennett made the running, setting the agenda, declaring his unswerving rejection of the two-state solution, and pulling the whole of Mr Netanyahu’s “national camp” ever further to the right. A former high-tech magnate, Mr Bennett appeared to attract voters from beyond his core constituency of religious Israelis who have settled on the West Bank, the main bit of a would-be Palestinian state. Young people, not necessarily religious or settlers, seemed to admire the brash bluntness of his message coupled with his success as a businessman.

Mr Bennett had taken over and thoroughly revamped the venerable National Religious Party, which had shrunk to three seats in the outgoing parliament. He also co-opted members of the fading National Union, even further to the right, into his Jewish Home. Pollsters thought Mr Bennett’s newfangled outfit would get as many as 15 seats. In the event, it got 11—still a good score, but not what he had hoped for.

Indeed, the Bennett phenomenon may have prompted a backlash. Those same young, yuppy voters may have begun to feel uncomfortable with the harsh vision of endless occupation that Mr Bennett presented. Perhaps Barack Obama’s leaked comments earlier this month that Mr Netanyahu’s policies towards the Palestinians were undermining Israel’s own interests, caused middle-class Israeli voters to stop and think. Hence, perhaps, the surge for Mr Lapid at the expense of Mr Bennett. The parties of the national camp—Likud-Beitenu, Mr Bennett’s lot, and the two main ultra-Orthodox parties— together have exactly 60 of parliament’s 120 seats. So Mr Netanyahu is just short of a majority for a rightist-religious coalition. Mr Lapid is the new kingmaker.

Despite his winning score, Mr Netanyahu has taken a knock. His Likud-Beitenu’s tally of 31 seats is 11 fewer than the previous combined parliamentary strength of the two parties in his ruling coalition, Likud and Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beitenu, which teamed up on a joint list just before the election. The ether around Mr Netanyahu is already thick with recriminations over they way he ran his campaign.

More important for the future of Israel, however, is the prospect that he may, if he is to embrace Mr Lapid and perhaps other parties in the more peace-minded centre, have to grapple more seriously with the Palestinian issue. If the hawks led by Mr Netanyahu and backed by Messrs Bennett and Lieberman had won an outright majority, they might well have hunkered down together, turning a deaf ear to pleas from Mr Obama and others to re-engage with the Palestinians. Now Mr Netanyahu may have to think again.


TOPICS: Israel
KEYWORDS: israel; lapid; netanyahu
The hawks' wings probably did get clipped in this election. But I don't think the doves' wings got any stronger either. Seems like a victory for the status quo and bold foreign or military moves by the Israelis may be less likely until a more unambiguous signal comes from the electorate.
1 posted on 01/24/2013 8:40:41 AM PST by Colonel Kangaroo
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To: Colonel Kangaroo

Apparently the Low Information Voter is not a uniquely American phenomenon


2 posted on 01/24/2013 8:54:12 AM PST by Buckeye McFrog
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To: Colonel Kangaroo
bold foreign or military moves by the Israelis may be less likely until a more unambiguous signal comes from the electorate.

From the electorate?

More likely:

Can't you see that flash of fire ten times brighter than the day?
And behold a mighty city broken in the dust again

3 posted on 01/24/2013 8:54:19 AM PST by null and void (Gun confiscation enables tyranny. Don't enable Tyranny)
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To: null and void

Netanyahu is clearly much weaker. His government now depends on the uncertainties of coalition government. His government can suddenly fall and he can be swept quickly out of office. He knows this better than anyone. The Iran nuclear program will not suddenly cease. The big question is will he accept the Obama imposed terrifying peace of mutually assured destruction or will he do something bold while he still has power?


4 posted on 01/24/2013 9:11:26 AM PST by allendale
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To: Colonel Kangaroo

“loth”? Do they mean “loathe”? A “durable peace” will come via the Antichrist, though it will last only 3.5 years.


5 posted on 01/24/2013 9:14:35 AM PST by F15Eagle (1 John 5:4-5, 4:15, 5:13; John 3:17-18, 6:69, 11:25, 14:6, 20:31; Rom10:8-11; 1 Tim 2:5; Titus 3:4-5)
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To: null and void

I agree. “has given an answer that may reshape Israel’s future, not least by improving the chance of a durable peace with the Palestinians.” Just how stupid can they be to believe that. “Reshaping their future” equals surrender to the towel heads. They’re toast if they think this is going to bring peace. For Islam there will be peace when all Jews and Infidels either pay a tax while they take their revenge on you and your family’s, or they (you) are dead! That is our fate and the Jews as well if we do not stand together and fight this Evil. You should love your enemy but you should fight against EVIL. Islam is Satan’s minions on earth and it is EVIL!


6 posted on 01/24/2013 9:18:12 AM PST by Ab Alius Domitor ("In the end; the winner")
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To: Buckeye McFrog
...improving the chance of a durable peace with the Palestinians.

Didn't read past that sentence.

7 posted on 01/24/2013 9:20:14 AM PST by Spirochete (Sic transit gloria mundi)
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To: Spirochete

Peace in Israel.

When pigs fly.


8 posted on 01/24/2013 9:45:51 AM PST by Venturer
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To: allendale
He will do nothing, until he must do something.

That will be far, far too late for a lot of people.

9 posted on 01/24/2013 9:46:44 AM PST by null and void (Gun confiscation enables tyranny. Don't enable Tyranny)
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To: Colonel Kangaroo
"The election result proclaims that “being Israeli” does not mean you have to share the nationalist-religious zeitgeist that has swept through Israel in recent years and seemed to be propelling Mr Bennett and his Yisrael Beitenu (Jewish Home) party into a position of influence and perhaps even power.

Naftali Bennett is head of Bayit Yehudi, not Yisrael Beitenu.

10 posted on 01/24/2013 10:21:13 AM PST by Ranald S. MacKenzie (It's the philosophy, stupid.)
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To: Spirochete
Me either. There are a whole lot of lies packed into that one sentence. That peace is anything other than a time to reload, that there is such a things as Palestinians, that acquiescing to terrorists does anything other than embolden terrorists, that there is a chance of peace with a people that are required by their religion to kill or subjugate all Jews and Christians etc.
11 posted on 01/24/2013 11:42:52 AM PST by Durus (You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality. Ayn Rand)
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To: dennisw; Cachelot; Nix 2; veronica; Catspaw; knighthawk; Alouette; Optimist; weikel; Lent; GregB; ..
Middle East and terrorism, occasional political and Jewish issues Ping List. High Volume

If you’d like to be on or off, please FR mail me.

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12 posted on 01/24/2013 5:54:51 PM PST by SJackson (The Pilgrims—Doing the jobs Native Americans wouldn’t do !)
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To: dennisw; Cachelot; Nix 2; veronica; Catspaw; knighthawk; Alouette; Optimist; weikel; Lent; GregB; ..
Middle East and terrorism, occasional political and Jewish issues Ping List. High Volume

If you’d like to be on or off, please FR mail me.

..................

13 posted on 01/24/2013 5:55:11 PM PST by SJackson (The Pilgrims—Doing the jobs Native Americans wouldn’t do !)
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To: dennisw; Cachelot; Nix 2; veronica; Catspaw; knighthawk; Alouette; Optimist; weikel; Lent; GregB; ..
Middle East and terrorism, occasional political and Jewish issues Ping List. High Volume

If you’d like to be on or off, please FR mail me.

..................

14 posted on 01/24/2013 5:56:15 PM PST by SJackson (The Pilgrims—Doing the jobs Native Americans wouldn’t do !)
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To: Ranald S. MacKenzie

This article is full of it. Lapid said there was no way he would join a left coalition and Jewish Home did quite well. You have a center right government and there is no doubt about it either. They sure did try though. obama and his henchfreaks did everything in their power to influence the Israeli election. They failed to topple Netanyahu which was their main goal...and he knows it.
I am loving this because Bibi whupped o’s scrawny butt AGAIN.


15 posted on 01/24/2013 10:32:51 PM PST by MestaMachine (Sometimes the smartest man in the room is standing in the midst of imbeciles.)
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To: MestaMachine; SJackson; Eleutheria5; Zionist Conspirator; Zionista Feminista; Shellybenoit; ...
This article is full of it.

Yes, from what other people on FR have told me, it's just another leftist media outlet (in this case the British The Economist) spinning so as to make it seem as if the Obama crew's interference in the Israeli election was "successful" - from their perspective. But unlike what happened in the 1990s, the bottom line is that the Israeli voters resisted this condescending intrusion from abroad into their own political system: Netanyahu will remain as PM! So the American 'Rats - Soros and J Street included - were among the losers.

16 posted on 01/25/2013 8:03:31 AM PST by justiceseeker93
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To: Colonel Kangaroo

The Economist has never been an Israel-freindly magazine. Through the years I have seen revolting articles in it


17 posted on 01/25/2013 9:07:31 AM PST by dennisw (The first principle is to find out who you are then you can achieve anything -- Buddhist monk)
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To: justiceseeker93

I agree. A little majority is still a majority.


18 posted on 01/25/2013 9:59:48 AM PST by left that other site (Worry is the darkroom that developes negatives.)
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To: Colonel Kangaroo

“The election result proclaims that “being Israeli” does not mean you have to share the nationalist-religious zeitgeist that has swept through Israel in recent years and seemed to be propelling Mr Bennett and his Yisrael Beitenu (Jewish Home) party into a position of influence and perhaps even power.”

It is hard to take seriously an article that can not even get the names of the parties correct.

Yisrael Beitenu is Avigdor Liberman’s (he stepped down to face criminal charges) party that joined Likud.

Naftali Bennett’s party is Habayit Hayehudi.

Of course The Economist probably hates Liberman as much as Bennett.


19 posted on 01/25/2013 1:50:23 PM PST by dervish (either the vote was corrupt or the electorate is)
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