An Inside Look at Two-Week Old Israeli Election Results
Israelis went to the polls 13 days ago. The elections resulted in the joint Likud-Yisrael Beitenu (Likud Beitenu) list getting 31 mandates, Shelly Yechimovich’s Labor with a decent showing of 15 seats (up 7 from the previous elections), the Jewish Home under the leadership of Naftali Bennett got the expected 12, and Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid (There is a Future) surprised everyone including themselves by getting 17 seats.
As far as the smaller parties, Shas (the ultra-Orthodox Sephardic party) got 11 mandates which is pretty much the accepted standard for this party, United Torah Judaism getting 7, Meretz with a great result of 6 MK’s (they had only 2 in the previous Knesset), Tzippi Livni’s Hatnuah (The Movement) with 6, Kadima (previously Israel’s largest party) with a measly 2 seats, and the Arab parties with 13 mandates altogether (much like the infighting in the Arab world, the infighting amongst the Arab parties is what does them in year in and year out). Otzma, headed by Michael Ben-Ari, and Arye Eldad, did not cross the electoral threshold.
The results gave the right a clear majority: 61 to 59 according to most local media outlets, but a staggering 78 to 29 if we’re to include Yesh Latid, which has a very right wing economical agenda and whose leaders are willing to be a part of either a right—or left wing coalition as amongst the “right” bloc, and rule out the Arab parties who won’t be included in any coalition.
The Israeli public one again reaffirmed that the “Peace Process” is—and has been dead, that there’s no “partner” to speak of on the Palestinians’ side, and that the people here want to see a continuation of Benjamin Netanyahu’s political and economical policies.
This is no surprise as the last four years have brought about a stable economy despite the global economical crisis, increased Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria, and the weakening of the P.A./Hamas, both of whom have been ineffective at best when it comes to trying to achieve their national goals of annihilating Israel.
Iran has suffered economical setback due to continuing work on its nuclear program, and the U.S. government has been unsuccessful trying to turn Israel into another puppet state. While Obama criticized Netanyahu for the latter’s insistence on “illegal” building in the West Bank, Bibi came out victorious in the elections. He’s been given the reigns to form the next government.
The new coalition is still in the makings, but it looks like it will include: Likud-Beitenu, The Jewish Home, Shas, United Torah Judaism, and perhaps, Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid. Personally, I’d like to see a coalition without the two Charedi parties. This would allow Lapid and Bibi to enact measures forcing the ultra-Orthodox to either serve in the army or assist the State by taking part in national service. I’d like to see Arabs also take part in either military service or at least fulfill their national duty, and not be allotted privileges like not having to pay land tax (all Jews living in Israel pay this expensive tax).
I have high hopes that the Likud will rebuild itself from the inside, promoting MK’s like Edelstein, Hottovely, and Feiglin to high positions in the party. I hope that the Jewish Home (the party I voted for) will be a part of the coalition government, and that its MK’s work alongside Yesh Atid MK’s to promote equal responsibility when it comes to army service. I hope that the next four years create a stronger, more stable Israeli right, and that Otzma gets some seats in the next Knesset.