UPDATE 9:30 am Israel time Wednesday:
At 7:40 am, a Palestinian Qassam rocket exploded in the Eshkol region of southern Israel. At 7:27 am, Palestinian Hamas terrorists fired a mortar shell at the Kerem Shalom Crossing (as Israel was ludicrously preparing to send truckloads of goods into Gaza). At 4:39 am, two Qassam rockets fired by Palestinian terrorists in Gaza struck at Sderot and Sha’ar Hanegev. At 12:27 am this morning, a Palestinian Qassam rocket struck the Chof Ashkelon region of southern Israel. This brings to 11, the total number of missiles and mortars that have hit southern Israel since yesterday evening in an attempt to kill Israeli children, women, and men. This follows 58 missiles and mortars fired on Monday.
And nothing is being done by the Israeli government and our beloved IDF to stop the Palestinian barrages.
The big news in Israel this morning is not the ongoing assault on southern Israel by Palestinian terrorists in Gaza–in fact, disgustingly, there is very little reportage of yesterday’s and today’s events at all.
Instead the Israeli world is focused on PM Netanyahu’s announcement last night that there will be early elections here in Israel–probably to take place on or around January 29th. Regular readers of this blog may remember that last week, your humble servant predicted that Netanyahu would not opt for early elections because he has nothing to gain.
So much for my political prognostication abilities. The reason given by Netanyahu is an inability to reach a decision on budget cuts. Shas, the Sephardic religious party, was particularly singled out by Netanyahu for its resistance to any decrease in the amount of money that religious families receive.
By this morning, every conceivable creature is crawling out of the Israeli woodwork to run in the elections from Tzipi Livni to Ehud Olmert. Even though the January elections should be a veritable who’s who of Israeli rogues and rascals, Netanyahu may not have such an easy course to becoming Prime Minister again.
To put it a different way, your humble servant still thinks that Netanyahu has nothing to gain and everything to lose.
Especially if our dinner table conversation last night is any indication.
Last night your humble servant and family went to dinner at a friend’s house in the neighborhood. The conversation quickly became animated as we watched Netanyahu reveal his plans in an evening press conference on Israeli TV.
By the time the “explosive” conversation had ended a few hours later, the votes of the nine people present stacked up like this: 2 for Labor-Yachimovich (center-left), 2 for Likud-Netanyahu (right), 4 for Yisrael Beiteinu-Lieberman (further right), and 1 for Jewish Home (even further right).
Essentially, the two supporting Labor argued that the budget cuts that Netanyahu wants to enact will further strangle the Israeli middle class and place an undue burden on those in the lowest economic class. For those supporting Likud, the main argument was that Netanyahu has done a good job of maintaining the status quo–particularly vis a vis the Palestinians. The Yisrael Beiteinu-Jewish Home Coalition felt very strongly that Netanyahu has not been forceful enough with the Palestinians on a myriad of fronts ranging from Gaza to the Temple Mount.
Interestingly, the two Labor supporters were the oldest person and youngest person at the table (both males, 67 and 22 respectively); the two Likudniks were both females (23 and 24); the five Yisrael Beiteinu-Jewish Home supporters consisted of two females (60, 52), two males (61, 52), and one female (24).
The most raucous exchanges were not between those you might imagine such as Labor and Jewish Home–they were between the Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu supporters–-with those supporting Lieberman incredulous that anyone could continue supporting Netanyahu.
The results of last night’s dinner table talk are undoubtedly skewed, taking place as it did here in southern Israel. But a Pandora’s Box has been opened, and we will all have to see what pops out in the coming months.
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