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Cross Posted at The Progressive Zionist

Now that the Israeli elections are over the questions are just beginning. Questions such as, What coalitions will form? What if any change going forward will the nation face on such issues as The Occupation, the Economy, or on issues of Social Justice. These are all, of course, large questions and can't be answered now - but as the government forms it is interesting to explore them.

First however, lets take a look at the "numbers behind the numbers". The Times of Israel does a very nice job of breaking this down.

The chart corresponds to these totals:
Likud-Beytenu (31 seats):880,972 ballots, (23.32%)
Yesh Atid (19): 541,033 (14.32%)
Labor Party (15): 430,305 (11.39%)
Jewish Home (12): 344,028 (9.11%)
Shas (11): 330,359 (8.74%)
United Torah Judaism (7): 195,577 (5.18%)
Hatnua (6): 188,425 (4.99%)
Meretz (6): 171,660 (4.54%)
United Arab List (4): 137,983 (3.65%)
Hadash (4): 113,336 (3.00%)
Balad (3): 96,788 (2.56%)
Kadima (2): 79,064 (2.09%)
One interesting fact here... There were approx. 250,000 votes cast that did not count. Why? Because in the Israeli system to get into parliament, a party needs to cross a 2% of the total vote threshold. Those votes went to parties (22 parties) that did not meet that threshold and in Israel, that means the votes get tossed out.

So... for the election:

Out of all the 5,656,705 eligible voters, 67.52 percent cast their ballots in just under 10,000 voting stations throughout the country. The turnout was some 4% higher than in the previous elections.

A total of 3,818,441 votes were cast. Of those, 40,464 were disqualified. The remaining 3,777,977 votes were legal and counted by the election committee.

More than 250,000 votes were cast by people away from their local voting station, the majority of them by soldiers and the rest by Israel’s diplomatic corps, prisoners, hospital patients and sailors of the merchant navy.

The threshold needed to enter the Knesset was set at 2% of the general vote, which, in light of the number of votes cast, translated into slightly over 75,000 votes.

And yes.... apparently in Israel... People in Prison can vote.

SO what... Cross the Orange Cloud with me for the discussion

So the question that people in Israel (and around the world) are asking.. Where to now, Yair?

In Israel's parliamentary system governments are formed by coalitions. The party with the most votes GENERALLY (but not always) gets the "first crack" at forming the government. In this case Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud-Betainu Party won the most votes (and largest bloc of seats) so he gets first try.

To form a government the coalition needs to get to 61 Seats (out of 120 seats).

So far, Netanyahu has reached out to four parties: United Torah Judaism (UTJ), Shas, Yesh Atid, and HaBayit HaYehudi. The two religious parties UTJ, and Shas have both indicated an interest in being part of the government and both have stated a preference for the government to be led by PM Netanyahu. At the same time HaBayit HaYehudi (trans. Jewish Home) has almost been begging for a position in the coalition. Their stated goal is to make sure that the Prime Minister does not veer to the Center or Left when it comes to issues of security.

Now there is a certain degree of "bad blood" between HaBayit HaYehudi (H.H.) and Likud. For one there are sever personality differences between the Sara Netanyahu (the P.M.'s wife and Naftali Bennett - the leader of H.H.). Plus, Bennett is a competitor for the Hard Rights votes with the Right Wing of Likud which is most prominently represented by YESHA Council leader Danny Danon and Moshe Feiglin. All of these folks have as their top priority the creation of an Israel from the Jordan to the Mediterranean. But with these three parties, the government can only cobble together 60 seats total not enough to make legislation.

Into the mix comes the Centrist Yesh Atid party led by Yair Lapid (please use the link to look at their website for their main positions). Lapid has put three major points across for his party to join the government. The first is that the government has to initiate reform in the economic sectors of society and ease the burdens that the Middle Class have been facing. The second is that the government has to spread "the burden" of National Service out more equally and finally that the government has to do what it takes to get back into negotiations with the Palestinians.

AND THUS the chaos begins.... In order to join the government, Yesh Atid will have to compromise on at least ONE of these demands. That or Likud-Betainu has to compromise on some of their principles. As YNET puts it:

Lapid clarified on Wednesday that he would not form an obstructive Center-Left bloc to prevent Netanyahu from assembling the next coalition. However, Lapid is expected to present two basic conditions for joining a Likud-led government: Equal share of the burden legislation and the resumption of peace talks with the Palestinians.

Apart from these two red lines, Yesh Atid will push for a reduction in housing rates, education reform that will see core subjects studied in all schools and the reduction of the number of government ministers to a maximum of 18.

Members of Yesh Atid's list are divided as to their potential coalition partners. Lapid himself has refused to rule out the haredi factions however members of his party estimated that passing a universal draft bill would be easier without the ultra-Orthodox.

Others are less adamant about the exclusion of the haredim and are more concerned about working alongside Habayit Hayehudi. Leaving out Naftali Bennett's party, they claim, would enable progress in the peace process. They believe Shas can be a partner to negotiations on universal draft.

Now, can the government put together a coalition of just Likud-Betainu, Yesh Atid, UTJ, and Shas? The numbers say yes. They would have 68 seats. BUT, the problem for Likud-Betainu would be that any significant discussion on "sharing the burden" would be hindered by the fact that the religious parties (UTJ, and Shas) may not go for real meaningful reform. THUS, any true attempt at that reform could bring down the government.

At the same time, IF the parties go back to the negotiating table with the Palestinians (something the Religious Parties don't really care much about), the difference between Yesh Atid - who seems to favor a negotiated Two State Solution and most of Likud-Betainu which supports some sort of One State solution (although curiously the PM supports a very sad (editorialized) version of the Two State solution would seemingly preclude any agreement there. How would the afore mentioned Danon, and Feiglin handle working with their "Two State " companions in Yesh Atid... and vice versa. Of course, then the question would be... how would that work?

Personally, from what I am seeing - The Prime Minister is making all kinds of promises that he simply won't be able to keep. The only way he could do that would be to head to the Center or Left and include Labor but then he would splinter the Right Wing of his party and could lose half his seats (at least).

So here is where I get cynical... I believe (but I could be wrong), that Lapid is going to do exactly what Ehud Barak and Shaul Mofaz (Kadima) did and join with the government to "fix it from the inside". I base this on all the messages of "positive discussions" both Lapid and Netanyahu are putting out.

Of course, like Barak and Mofaz found out, those who wade into coalition, disappear into the pool of bullshit that surrounds the Prime Minister. He simply either can't or won't do anything that he is promising Lapid. Look what has happened every single time. He just cannot or will not deliver and thus the "great hope for moderation" will go down.

HOWEVER, I would be happy to be completely wrong here and hope that Lapid and his cohorts will "stick to their guns" regarding both Social Justice AND the Occupation issues. Like anything... We shall see.

1:53 PM PT: As Coalition talks continue... Labor, who will meet with the Prime Minister on Thursday (tomorrow) seems to be outright rejecting offers from the Government. In a comment to YNET:

"With regards to the diplomatic negotiations, which must be renewed urgently, the Labor Party will support any such step and back it from the opposition," Yachimovich was quoted as saying.

However, Yachimovich accepted Netanyahu's invitation to meet, stressing that she had nothing against him personally but rather citing her position as stemming from the "unbridgeable ideological and political gaps" between the two parties.

"The public has decided that we will sit in the opposition and we will respect this democratic decision," the Labor chairwoman reportedly said.

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Comment Preferences

  •  So, a Grand Coalition of the top 3 parties (3+ / 0-)

    would be impossible?  Too bad.  That might actually bring about some stability -- shutting out the religious, moderating the RW, and moving towards recognition of reality.  Oh, well!  At least the results are better than expected.

    •  It is possible I just can't see how it could (3+ / 0-)

      work.

      Think on it this way... You have to have Likud-Betainu who economically are lining the pockets of the rich and shutting out the middle class and the poor trying to work deals with the leaders of Israel's Unions and a party that has been completely focused on issues of Social Justice (Avodah). This government has been one of the worst in Israel's history on Social Justice issues which culminated in the J14 Street protests two years ago.

      At the same time you also have Labor activists (though not Yachimovich herself) who advocate - along with Lapid's crew for a true Two State solution, dealing with the Feiglin wing of Likud. Something would have to give.

      If Labor gave in, that would be the end of Shelly Yachimovih's career and the Labor party in general. If Likud gives in, the party splits into most likely two or three parts. I don't see how they could do this unless Netanyahu takes on his own party (which he probably won't do).

      I don't know what will happen but I am not guessing it will be all that great this time around. (Maybe I am hanging out with too many Israelis lately ;-)

      "'Touch it dude' - President Barack Obama"

      by volleyboy1 on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 12:31:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  You mischaracterize Likud (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mannie

        They aren't Republicans. They raised taxes on the wealthy last year! On fiscal matters they are more like Third Way Dems; on regulatory matters they have been fully supportive of the draconian regulation of Israel's financial sector that left the country unaffected by the worldwide collapse in 2008. And of course they have no problem with Israel's universal health insurance. Benjamin Netanyahu is in many ways to the left of Barack Obama.

        •  No charlie.. you mischaracterize them (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bontemps2012

          They are only to the left of American Democrats in that the entire Israeli system is to the left of the American system. HOWEVER, there has been a great transfer of wealth as Netanyahu and his plutocrats rape industry after industry and privatize once socialized sectors of business and now the difference between rich and poor has gotten a lot larger.

          Did the Tax rates on the rich go up - sure... but that was not out of some desire by Bibi to make things more equal. That was due to a ton of economic pressure from both the national system and threats to his interests.

          Give Bibi 10 years to enact whatever economic policies he wanted and the country would be a fine example of austerity policies.

          I am not unfair to Netanyahu, this is just who he is.

          "'Touch it dude' - President Barack Obama"

          by volleyboy1 on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 10:09:12 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  ok, that's confusing (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    volleyboy1, WattleBreakfast

    As I was reading this I thought to myself I'd like the Bill from Schoolhouse Rock to somehow sing me through this.

    Questions: you say "Likud-Betainu which supports some sort of One State solution" Is this a different likud? Same one? What do you mean by that? I've never heard of likud supporting a one state solution that includes political rights for Palestinians, and if they don't have political rights that's something else entirely.

    Also, I read the other day that because the left side of the equation includes arab parties that they are automatically disqualified from forming a coalition with them. Is that true?

    •  Good questions... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bontemps2012

      First...

      "Likud-Betainu which supports some sort of One State solution" Is this a different likud? Same one? What do you mean by that?
      Though Bibi made some speech at Bar-Ilan University in 2009 where he explicitly talked about a "Two State Solution" (and is thought to support that by the American Diplomatic Core) to support that, there really is no one in his party that does. One can make the case that the part of Yisrael Betainu that makes up Likud-Betainu (the two parties merged), actually supports this as well, however, it's not like their law makers are jumping up and down to see an independent Palestinian State created.

      At the same time, in the Likud Primaries, the party moved very hard to the Right.

      Oh and Likud-Betainu does not support a One State solution that includes Israeli political rights. They support something similar to what HaBayit HaYehudi supports.

      Also, I read the other day that because the left side of the equation includes arab parties that they are automatically disqualified from forming a coalition with them. Is that true?
      No.. that is not true. It is a free for all... Lapid won't go into an Opposition Bloc with Balad or the Arab Parties, but that does not mean anyone is  "disqualified" from that. It just means that he doesn't want to deal with them. It is not an "official" thing.

      "'Touch it dude' - President Barack Obama"

      by volleyboy1 on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 12:47:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I think Lapid shows his lack of experience. (4+ / 0-)

    Or maybe I'm just reading it this way. If he goes into coalition and gets no meaningful legislation, he's unlikely to do well in politics after that. And I don't see how he will get any legislation he wants out of Bibi. Sort of similar to LibDems in UK.

    •  Yeah.. I don't see that either (the legislation (4+ / 0-)

      angle).

      "'Touch it dude' - President Barack Obama"

      by volleyboy1 on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 12:55:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Bibi looks to be playing Lapid. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        volleyboy1

        But that puts him & Likud at risk of losing out on defining a coalition. Trying to do the LibDem trick on Lapid is very risky here.

        Lapid gets verbal commitments, sure. Then the way to play it back is to insist on seeing Bibi's promises in writing. What else ???

        Bibi is like Dick Cheney.

        Greed with two legs.

        Also, putting it simply, he has cashed in on his brother for decades. If Entebbe hadn't happened, no way he would have become leader of Likud.

        Now if Bibi fails -- which will happen if Lapid insists on written assurances -- he is in big trouble.

        A center-left coalition with Labor is barely possible. Only if Bibi botches the negotiations. Plays Lapid, then can't back it up in writing.

        "Have you left no sense of decency, sir, at long last?" Army Attorney to Sen. McCarthy, 1954. "We have done nothing to be ashamed of. We have nothing to apologize for." NRA 12/14/2012.

        by bontemps2012 on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 03:21:44 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I agree in general with this.... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bontemps2012

          I totally agree with your "Put it in writing" commentary as well. I don't know if I would compare Netanyahu to Darth Cheney. Cheney is sort of an evil master mind... Bibi is more like Mittens or McCain.

          I agree he would be in big trouble if Lapid holds out for written assurances... at the same time, Labor and the Left can't pull together a coalition either.

          If Lapid plays this right... he can really effect change. The question is.. Can Lapid play this right or will he sink in the ever widening Bibi pool of bullshit and send Yesh Atid to rest on the bottom with the old Labor Party AND Kadima?

          "'Touch it dude' - President Barack Obama"

          by volleyboy1 on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 03:52:04 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Mitt Romney is every bit as evil (0+ / 0-)

            as Cheney.

            Google [ romney leola anderson ]

            White Horse Prophecy madness....

            "Have you left no sense of decency, sir, at long last?" Army Attorney to Sen. McCarthy, 1954. "We have done nothing to be ashamed of. We have nothing to apologize for." NRA 12/14/2012.

            by bontemps2012 on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 05:57:24 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  so Lapid will be duped or will cave? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bontemps2012

    Either one works for Bibi and the settlers.

    •  He will probably be duped and then cave (5+ / 0-)

      I wouldn't put Bibi and the Settlers in the same sentence as that is far too simplistic.

      Most of the settlers political representatives think Bibi is too far to the Left. Bibi cares about making money for he and his buddies. Despite the nonsense you read here and other places, his primary goal is NOT about the settlers, it is his own ambition.

      The settlers are their own thing and their advocates are Bibi's rivals in Likud-Betainu, HaBayit HaYehudi and the fascists in Otzma Yisrael (who did not make the cut - thank G-d).

      "'Touch it dude' - President Barack Obama"

      by volleyboy1 on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 01:11:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  "fascists?" (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bontemps2012

        seriously?

      •  well, presuming he will be duped= hinges on his (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bontemps2012, volleyboy1

        intelligence, wisdom, and savvy

        Your opinion?  Do you think him too naive to remember history

        Of course, like Barak and Mofaz found out, those who wade into coalition, disappear into the pool of bullshit that surrounds the Prime Minister. He simply either can't or won't do anything that he is promising Lapid. Look what has happened every single time. He just cannot or will not deliver and thus the "great hope for moderation" will go down.
        being new to politics can bring a breath of fresh hair but also possibility of being naive
      •  Settlers are not going to live with (0+ / 0-)

        universal conscription and having the subsidies for the yeshivas significantly reduced.

        Not and support Likud. They will see that as betrayal.

        "Have you left no sense of decency, sir, at long last?" Army Attorney to Sen. McCarthy, 1954. "We have done nothing to be ashamed of. We have nothing to apologize for." NRA 12/14/2012.

        by bontemps2012 on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 02:58:12 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  They may be true... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bontemps2012

          Danon and company are not fond of universal conscription BUT Netanyahu has at least in public come out in favor of modifying it and making it more fair than now. Remember also Yisrael Betainu is all in favor of it. So his Likud-Betainu is split.

          It will be interesting as they try to tackle this issue.

          "'Touch it dude' - President Barack Obama"

          by volleyboy1 on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 03:21:25 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Do you see any way for Bibi (0+ / 0-)

            to put together a solution ?

            Originally Likud was secular.

            "Have you left no sense of decency, sir, at long last?" Army Attorney to Sen. McCarthy, 1954. "We have done nothing to be ashamed of. We have nothing to apologize for." NRA 12/14/2012.

            by bontemps2012 on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 03:29:09 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Sure... but not one that I think (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              bontemps2012

              will last particularly long or be particularly centrist.

              I don't recall Likud being completely secular though, just that they did not incorporate Religious Rule into their governings. Personally, I think Netanyahu still feels the same but, coalition politics being what they are, I am not sure he has a choice.

              I just don't see how everyone gets to fulfill even parts of their goals from the election in what may come. The only way they pull anything together that resembles a solution is if everyone compromises on their core principles. Since Bibi himself doesn't have many it might be easier for him, but for his allies... I don't see that happening.

              "'Touch it dude' - President Barack Obama"

              by volleyboy1 on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 03:46:39 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  yeah, my money's on what you said (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    volleyboy1, bontemps2012

    it will be interesting to see what another round of this holding pattern will yield, and how the changing international and regional context will influence the israeli electorate's various responses to those changes.

    •  Well for the most part the election was (2+ / 0-)

      really about internal issues like Social and Economic justice within Israel.

      HOWEVER, I do think that the Occupation and it's effects are going to come into very sharp focus going forward. Given the regional changes and shifts (and what's happening in both Syria and Jordan), I think that this will be more of an issue than it has been.

      "'Touch it dude' - President Barack Obama"

      by volleyboy1 on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 01:31:44 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  So Hatnua, Tzipi Livni's new centrist party, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bontemps2012, volleyboy1

    isn't playing a role in negotiations? It's just going to be an opposition party? Does that mean it's in some sense more left than center? I'd like to hear more info about this.

    •  Unfortunately it seems not... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      livosh1, bontemps2012

      Netanyahu seems to be relegating her to "back bench"status.

      They only won six seats after all (personally I was disappointed as I supported both her and Labor). Here is a chance for her to prove herself again, particularly as an opposition figure. I think she will eventually come to play an important role down the line.

      "'Touch it dude' - President Barack Obama"

      by volleyboy1 on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 03:02:49 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  How long does anyone think this proposed coalition (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bontemps2012

    wil last. IIRC, the EU has said it is putting out a two state solution plan of its own this coming March. They won't have time to repaint the offices before that happens.

  •  Most of this discussion is ignorant of (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bontemps2012

    the realities of Israeli politics today.

    Basically nobody except Meretz -- which got six MKs -- thinks that more negotiations with the Palestinians will amount to anything, and nobody is going to be spending much political capital to push that.

    The #1 issue is drafting charedim into the army, and that was pretty much what ended the last government. All the parties except Shas, UTJ, and maybe the Arab parties want it.  

    The #2 issue is the budget. Shas and UTJ also will demand massive payoffs in terms of government pork for their voters. None of the other parties will demand anywhere near as much. Bennett is smart enough to know that there isn't going to be another round of massive settlement construction -- the country can't afford that fiscally. But there will enough new construction to piss off the rest of the world.

    My prediction for the coalition: (1) Likud-Beitanu, (2) Yesh Atid, (3) HaBayit HaYehudi, and (4) Kadima (what's left of it). I'll be surprised if Shas/UTJ are in the coalition.

    •  You need 61 seats. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      volleyboy1

      Where ?

      And yes, Yesh Atid would commit suicide entering a coalition with Shas/UTJ. On the other hand I get to 61 with this total:

      Likud-Beiteinu (31)

      ZJH (12)

      Shas (11)

      UTJ (7)

      That's 61.

      Thing is, that makes Bibi responsible for anything that goes wrong and it blocks off changing the draft law and cutting the subsidies.

      Bennett would extract a high price for this deal. An alternative moving left/center:

      Likud-Beiteinu (31)

      YA (19)

      ZJH (12)

      Hatnuah (6)

      Kadima (2)

      Makes 70. It also heals wounds from the Sharon split. Bibi doesn't need Hatnuah and Kadima to form a government, but it's good politics. They deny wanting in, but doing it to avoid a 62-seat unstable government makes a difference.

      Another government with Likud-Beiteinu and Shas/UTJ will invite electoral disaster down the road. Too many changes require rolling over Shas/UTJ and their subsidies.

      "Have you left no sense of decency, sir, at long last?" Army Attorney to Sen. McCarthy, 1954. "We have done nothing to be ashamed of. We have nothing to apologize for." NRA 12/14/2012.

      by bontemps2012 on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 07:38:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Nonsense charlie... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bontemps2012

      You say this:

      Most of this discussion is ignorant of the realities of Israeli politics today.
      That is not what my Israeli friends tell me. Not one of them and if you know Israelis, they are not exactly tactful in their criticisms.

      We all know about the conscription laws AND I mentioned them as a block to Lapid in the body of the diary. SO how exactly are you claiming this discussion is ignorant of that.

      As for #2..... You say this:

      Bennett is smart enough to know that there isn't going to be another round of massive settlement construction -- the country can't afford that fiscally. But there will enough new construction to piss off the rest of the world.
      Have you ever seen HaBayit HaYehudi's plans for the Occupation. Yes, he says NOW they can't do it - but, that he feels it has to begin to happen, at least the start of it. Watch the debate for Olim on YNET and watch what both the Likud and H.H. representatives talk about. Then get back to me on knowing the realities of what they are doing.
      My prediction for the coalition: (1) Likud-Beitanu, (2) Yesh Atid, (3) HaBayit HaYehudi, and (4) Kadima (what's left of it). I'll be surprised if Shas/UTJ are in the coalition.
      Interesting comment considering that UTJ and Shas were the next two parties called regarding coalition after Y.A. You did know that - right? You also know that Bennett was called BUT was not offered a meeting, though I am sure they will talk at some point.

      Oh and at least part of Yesh Atid says they think they can deal with Shas. What... you don't believe me? I'm ignorant? Well lets see..... Here is YNET:

      Members of Yesh Atid's list are divided as to their potential coalition partners. Lapid himself has refused to rule out the haredi factions however members of his party estimated that passing a universal draft bill would be easier without the ultra-Orthodox.

      Others are less adamant about the exclusion of the haredim and are more concerned about working alongside Habayit Hayehudi. Leaving out Naftali Bennett's party, they claim, would enable progress in the peace process. They believe Shas can be a partner to negotiations on universal draft.

      Oh and the issue of Shas being in coalition was specifically discussed between Lapid and Netanyahu today

      Maybe they don't know what you do? Maybe you should tell them. Ok?

      "'Touch it dude' - President Barack Obama"

      by volleyboy1 on Thu Jan 24, 2013 at 10:26:15 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Responses (0+ / 0-)
        I mentioned them as a block to Lapid in the body of the diary.
        I was referring to the discussion in the comments, not the diary.
        the next two parties called regarding coalition after Y.A. You did know that - right?
        Yes, and who gets called first is irrelevant. You did  know that, right?
        watch what both the Likud and H.H. representatives talk about.
        I'm very well aware of what they say. And it isn't anything like what was going on 1977 to 1992 (supported even by Shimon Peres when he was PM). The days of Greater Israel are over. Did you notice that Netanyahu quietly backtracked on E-1?
        •  Responses Back.... (0+ / 0-)
          I was referring to the discussion in the comments, not the diary.
          Yes, there are some comments that reflect minimal awareness of what is happening in Israel or what reflects the Israeli political scene. HOWEVER, I think there are also comments that are right on. I personally felt a bit offended by your comment. If you didn't mean it in the way I took it, then I apologize for "snapping".
          Yes, and who gets called first is irrelevant. You did  know that, right?
          I don't know if I think that is irrelevant. Right now, things are very confusing. The Haredi have formed a bloc to vote their interests however, at the same time... Shas is negotiating with the government regarding conscription.

          Similarly there are mixed signals coming about about Jewish Home. Some Likud officials are making "cooing sounds" to Bennett and Habayit HaYehdui. Others not so much. There still isn't a meeting scheduled between the two. That tells me that Likud-Betainu has Yesh Atid in their pocket (which will bring up an interesting issue wrt security as previously mentioned) and is looking to solidfy with either the ultra-Orthodox and Yishai OR with HaBayit HaYehudi.

          Again, you may be absolutely correct but, I also think that if Jewish Home enters the coalition it will be with their plans muted.

          The days of Greater Israel are over. Did you notice that Netanyahu quietly backtracked on E-1?
          I am not so sure that you are right here. The E-1 plans have been drawn back (as you mentioned) but they are still on the table AND the Right Wing of Likud I believe is still feeling emboldened on Security issues. At least that is what my friends from Israel tell me, I believe, has not given up on Israel from the Jordan to the Med. As I said, I believe the PM personally favors Two States (though what he calls "Two States" is not really what anyone else calls Two States).

          charlie, I may be wrong about all of this but, I don't think so. I will say that I am really confused as to what I think will happen. At this point I believe the government will end up as Likud, the Religious Parties, Yesh Atid, and possibly Jewish Home BUT I would not lay money on it.

          "'Touch it dude' - President Barack Obama"

          by volleyboy1 on Sun Jan 27, 2013 at 09:54:36 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Another reason why the Right lost seats (3+ / 0-)

    is that there hasn't been a single rocket from Gaza in two months. This is the longest period of quiet in a decade. If Hamas really wanted peace, they'd not fire another rocket for five years when another election is scheduled. As long as the terrorists are active, the Israeli left has no chance of ever getting back into power.

    We'll see if Hamas actually wants peace.

  •  Great diary, Volley (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bontemps2012, volleyboy1

    If Lapid and Yesh Atid join a coalition with Shas and UTJ, it will signal that they are just a flash in the pan, devoid of any principles, and will soon go the way of Kadima. There is no way that Yesh Atid can advance its "sharing the burden" agenda if Shas and UTJ are in the coalition too.  I don't think people voted for Yesh Atid with the expecation that it would join forces with the religious parties and compromise away the principles it campaigned on.

    Another thing: It's interesting that Bibi wants Lapid to be Foreign Minister, thereby putting a "pretty face" out there as a mask as he attempts to obstruct any possibility of a negotiated two-state resolution. And Lieberman wants Lapid to be Finance Minister so that Lieberman can reclaim the Foreign Minister portfolio himself.

  •  Bibi needs to pass a budget. (0+ / 0-)

    That's what killed Bibi last year. He couldn't pass a budget.

    A 61-seat all-right coalition, now, would be in that same stew. He has the same people who failed to pass a budget. The same intractable personalities.

    The strangest part of this is that getting to a stable/workable budget-passing coalition might force some bizarre alignment -- as unheardof as accepting one or more of the Arab parties into a ruling coalition.

    Spectacularly, that is in line with what Jewish Home has been pushing for the last two years.

    "Let’s annex Area C on the West Bank, just like we did with the Golan [in 1967] and the western wall, and give these Palestinians Israeli citizenship."

    "The Palestinians could say: 'Okay, we don't want a state anymore, give us a right to vote in the Knesset.'"

    That's 50,000 Palestinians taken on board in one action. That's also risking that the West Bank looks to become one big Area C, looking to vote in the Knesset.

    -- The governance problem points to budget rather than changes to conscription.

    -- The Palestinian situation could lead to the old One State Solution, as proposed through the United Nations back in 1946-1948.

    -- A version of the One State Solution with 250,000 Arabs coming in with annexation of Jerusalem -- not impossible. That map appeared during the campaign.

    -- That's equivalent to 6 seats in today's Knesset. Arabs get to be as numerous in the voting population as Shas/UTJ.

    What we are told publicly about negotiations has Bibi avoiding Bennett. That's head butting stuff, if true, not budget-passing politics.

    JH is cast as Far Right, but that includes an amazing willingness to reach out to Palestinians and take them in to Israel wholesale. Plus, JH economics are out-and-out progressive and locally secular.

    Bibi has to be afraid of that. Shivering....

    Shas and UTJ ??? From what J-Post has since the election they could be in the dark, grubbing for subsidies while much larger stakes are on the table.

    "Have you left no sense of decency, sir, at long last?" Army Attorney to Sen. McCarthy, 1954. "We have done nothing to be ashamed of. We have nothing to apologize for." NRA 12/14/2012.

    by bontemps2012 on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 07:07:46 AM PST

    •  Yes and no.. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bontemps2012

      My understanding is that lack of reforms AND the "sharing the burden" (The Charedi draft) issues are what brought on the call for new elections. It is what broke up his alliance with Kadima.

      As for this:

      The strangest part of this is that getting to a stable/workable budget-passing coalition might force some bizarre alignment -- as unheard of as accepting one or more of the Arab parties into a ruling coalition.
      Nah... that won't happen with anyone until the Arab parties drop their anti-Zionist positions. No parties that would enter a coalition on the Center or Center Left (Avodah, Yesh Atid, HaTanuah, Kadima) will enter into coalition with them.

      As for the rest of this.. it is very optimistic towards a One State solution and Jewish Home... But that is NOT their plan.

      I agree with you that the Habayit HaYehudi plan will eventually force one of two things. Either an eventual One State Solution, or a massive campaign of ethnic cleansing, HOWEVER, in the short run it will do neither.

      In the short run it would make the ethnic shift in Israel run to 55% Jewish and 45% Arab. Moreover it would disenfranchise approx. one half of the Arab voters who would live in an Autonomous area of the country but would not have political voting rights as citizens.

      THAT is why they are a Far-Right Party. They have every intention of creating a One State area from the Jordan to the Med. but they have absolutely NO intention of allowing it to be a true One State Democracy.

      When you talk about JH taking the Arabs in wholesale it is not accurate. They will take in 100,000 more and that is it.

      "'Touch it dude' - President Barack Obama"

      by volleyboy1 on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 08:09:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  They had the map drawn with 250,000 (0+ / 0-)

        coming in -- sweetened hugely because that includes Jerusalem and the surrounding areas.

        If JH could get away with 50,000 or 100,000 and cement Jerusalem they would do it in a minute.

        The 250,000 solution works, too. Getting Jerusalem is the huge prize. The game changer.

        JH has been more creative than the other parties. That also applies to economics.

        If they are aiming to push to the Jordan, they have to know that Israel can't stay Jewish forever. Over the centuries that solution has to break down.

        It's overreaching.

        But a Jerusalem solution, or a Two State solution ??? JH sounded to be going for a Jerusalem solution as the long-term best deal.

        Settlers be damned ??? I haven't seen the local break-out for where JH got their votes. If it's very weak on the West Bank, there is no reason to look back. Have to see the detail of the vote patterns.

        "Have you left no sense of decency, sir, at long last?" Army Attorney to Sen. McCarthy, 1954. "We have done nothing to be ashamed of. We have nothing to apologize for." NRA 12/14/2012.

        by bontemps2012 on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 08:46:50 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Well Israel already annexed J'slem (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bontemps2012

          and offered the Arabs there the vote. Many of them have refused to take it.

          I think you underestimate what Bennett wants to do. He won't in the end by happy with just Area C - Remember his party merged with National Union, a virulently racist party.

          Anyway, watch Bennett's presentation on his plan, he doesn't just want Jerusalem, the Israelis have that already, they have annexed it.

          Bennett wants to annex all of Area C and connect areas A&B through a serious of modern highways. A & B would then operate as autonomous regions within Israel, where the people would vote for their own leaders and their own things but everything would be under the auspices of those regions belonging to Israel.

          And this is true:

          JH has been more creative than the other parties. That also applies to economics.
          Unfortunately their policies make Zero economic sense. They have no way to pay for the programs they propose. They also support a much more Laize-faire tax structure and heavy privatization. Here is their website... long on rhetoric and very short on details.

          As for where their votes came from...

          They got their votes from the Settlements and rightist areas of Jerusalem.

          "'Touch it dude' - President Barack Obama"

          by volleyboy1 on Fri Jan 25, 2013 at 10:59:57 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Offer of the vote. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            volleyboy1

            The 1980 annexation is limited with respect to Arab rights. And it does not provide for blanket Arab voting for Knesset members.

            Do you have the polling station totals ??? Is that online?

            I have software for tracking these things -- turns Excel spreadsheet .xls to annotated maps.

            Reportedly 6,300 Arabs in East Jerusalem were allowed to vote for Knesset candidates in 2013.

            The map I saw on a cell phone image has Ramalla included as a suburb as well as Belen. You could build a Beltway road around Jerusalem. Last time I saw a map like this was 1970s when a $3-billion capitalization plan was floated

            The 250,000 figure could be an overstatement. That could be the total population of the expansion area. If so, the 250,000 figure includes the Jewish areas in the expansion area. But I think Ramallah is around 100,000 and Belen is maybe 50,000, so the 250,000 Arabs in this expansion is possible.

            Since Ramallah's the PNA's capital, you gotta know Bennett would do it for the kicks. He's not doing long term calculations.

            That's still huge. Either way on population that is one helluva change. Take it with a 2 year, 3 year delay on Knesset votes. Just do it. Assuming Arabs can still do addition, just do it.

            By the way -------------------------

            from your link this is Onion-funny:

            17. Preservation of national lands

            The State of Israel is losing its lands in the Galil and the Negev. The massive illegal construction by Bedouins in the Negev is a loss of land, as well as a breakdown of the rule of law and de facto sovereignty. We will enforce law and order in the Negev and the Galil, vigorously tackling illegal building and unlawful land appropriation, and to strengthen Jewish settlement in these regions.

            Chutzpah !! Bennett is entertaining.

            Palestinians are Bedouins, of course. Next he'll start quoting Brezhnev. There has to be some gem of a line laying out the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan that parallels Bennett's attitudes toward the West Bank.

            "Have you left no sense of decency, sir, at long last?" Army Attorney to Sen. McCarthy, 1954. "We have done nothing to be ashamed of. We have nothing to apologize for." NRA 12/14/2012.

            by bontemps2012 on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 07:01:26 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Again.. Yes and No (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              livosh1

              All of the Arabs in E. Jerusalem were offered citizenship and full rights. Many chose NOT to take that offer. So yes, you are right that only a few voted, BUT that was their choice not a law by the Israelis. So sure... the 6,300 votes is more of a reflection of that than discriminatory practices.

              And yes, I agree that that link is "Onion Like". But not surprising.

              HOWEVER.. I don't think of Bennett as "entertaining", not by a long shot. I would rather not think of him at all to be honest. I mean I am not trying to be too serious but I think Bennett is bad news in every way.

              "'Touch it dude' - President Barack Obama"

              by volleyboy1 on Sat Jan 26, 2013 at 03:37:05 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

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