UPDATE 2 (9:35 pm): Southern Israel under attack again tonight by multiple rockets fired by Palestinians in Hamas Gaza.
UPDATE: Dozens of Palestinians have been rioting this afternoon–clashing with security forces at Al-Hader and Abu-Dis near Bethlehem. Soldiers and police being pelted with rocks and burning tires.
As a rule, your humble servant does not place too much stock in polls, but is devoting today’s blog to two recent polls which are frankly remarkable.
To understand why they are remarkable, you need to understand what has happened in Israel and the United States since Benjamin Netanyahu formed his coalition on March 31, 2009.
“Extreme”, “far right wing”, “right-wing extremist”, “radical”, “radical extremist”, “ultra-nationalist”: these are just a few of the many epithets that have been hurled at the Netanyahu coalition by international leaders, governments, NGOs, and media around the world–particularly in Europe, Africa, Asia, South America, and the Middle East. By using such epithets, these entities have sought to delegitimize and undermine the democratically elected government of Israel.
The Israeli media has been particularly vicious. The three main news networks (Channels 1, 2, and 10) have attacked the government endlessly for almost three years–so much so that “anti-Netanyahu” segments have become the staple of many news shows.
Hardly a newscast goes by that doesn’t see Tzipi Livni or some other member of the opposition railing against Netanyahu. Every word that comes from Livni’s mouth and the mouths of those in the Knesset minority are gilded as nuggets of wisdom by the major newscasters and pundits.
The paper press (especially the Jerusalem Post) has been somewhat more balanced, but in sum, even it (especially Haaretz) gives grossly disproportionate space to those that want to overturn the government–even to the point of maliciously exaggerating the numbers of those protesting against the government this past summer.
NGOs behind those summer protests such as the New Israel Fund have sent representatives around the world to delegitimize Israel and the Netanyahu government by calling it “undemocratic.” This blog documented the case of the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement (funded by the NIF) that came to my local city last month spreading its venom and fraud.
The mainstream United States media has been equally denigrating. Robotically following the lead of President Obama who at the beginning of this term in office immediately attacked the Netanyahu government, the mainline print media and legacy TV media (and most of the cable TV networks) have gone after Netanyahu with a passion.
What is amazing is how all of this negativity has impacted Netanyahu’s coalition in Israel and the feeling of Americans toward Israel.
Consider the latest Israeli political poll conducted by the Geocartography Institute, a poll that has come up with the same results as a number of other polls in the last few months. If an election were held tomorrow, this how the 120 seats in the Knesset would be allotted (among the majority coalition in the Knesset/among the minority parties in the Knesset):
The Majority Coalition.
Likud: 39 seats (Netanyahu’s party would have an increase in 12 seats over its current total)
Israel Beiteinu: 13 seats (Lieberman’s party would have a decrease of 2 seats)
National Union-Habayit Hayehudi: 10 seats (These ‘nationalist’ parties would gain 3 seats)
Shas: 9 seats (The Sephardic religious party representation would decrease by 2 seats)
United Torah Judaism: 5 seats (The Ashkenazi religious party would remain the same)
This would give the Coalition 76 seats–an increase of 11 seats over what it currently has.
The ‘minority’ parties in the Knesset:
Kadima: 12 seats (Tzipi Livni’s party would lose 16 seats)
Labor: 12 seats (Shelly Yacimovich’s party would gain 4 seats)
Meretz: 4 seats (Israel’s ultra left wing party would gain a seat)
Arab parties: 10 seats (these parties would experience a net loss of one seat)
Independence party: 0 seats (Ehud Barak’s party would lose all five seats)
(Yair Lapid’ new unnamed party which is not in the Coalition or minority having not yet run for office): 6 seats
The anti-Coalition parties would have 38 seats–one less than Likud alone.
These poll results attest to the profound and ongoing conservative shift in the Israeli public–a shift that seems totally unaffected by the social protests of the summer. Despite the best efforts of the media, NGOs, and foreign governments, the Israeli public has rallied around Netanyahu as a source of stability in an unstable world.
And speaking of rallying, note the following World Affairs Poll, an annual poll conducted by the Gallup organization in the United States. When asked about the favorability with which they viewed the world’s countries (or in the case of the Palestinian Authority ‘entity’), Americans answered as followed:
It is remarkable that after the negative campaigns against Israel, Israel is Americans’ eighth most favored country–and that Americans’ positive attitude toward Israel is increasing. To some degree, your humble servant suspects that this increasing positivity is a result of Benjamin Netanyahu–whose stellar speeches before the U.S. Congress and AIPAC last year displayed a leader determined to stand his ground and act on principle.
THIS DATE IN ISRAELI HISTORY:
On February 23, 1948, Arab terrorists working with British deserters blew up 55 Palestinian Jews on Ben Yehuda Street in Jerusalem.