UPDATES 7 pm Israel time, Wednesday, November 3 2014:
*At 4:15 pm this afternoon, about three hours ago, three Palestinian terrorists entered a Rami Levy supermarket in the Mishor Adumim Industrial Park beside Ma’ale Adumim just outside of Jerusalem. Once inside, the terrorists began stabbing shoppers and moderately wounded two before being shot in the legs by an off-duty security guard.
The two wounded shoppers have been rushed to Hadassah Hospital with “moderate” stab wounds.
*Avi Ben-Tzion, the 63-year-old farmer from Netiv HaGdud who was dragged out of his car by Palestinian terrorists and then beaten in the head with an iron bar and left for dead in the middle of a highway in Samaria, has died.
Unsurprisingly yet unbelievably, the police have yet to label the crime as a “terrorist attack”.
*A bus in Gush Etzion has been attacked by Palestinian terrorists and had its windows smashed. Fortunately, no one on board was physically wounded.
—>When is the last time you heard a world leader say these words which were uttered this morning in Israel:
“We stand with you. We see the hypocrisy in the international arena, and we will not be part of that hypocrisy. We have always supported you and will always support you. We will not be part of the choir of hypocrites that attack Israel.”
These words came from the president of Micronesia, Emanuel Mori, who is visiting Israel today.
It is a visit that happens to coincide with that of Prime Minister of Fiji, Frank Bainimarama.
Micronesia and Fiji are two of Israel’s staunchest allies and we thank them!
All the talk in Israel this morning is about the supposed upcoming election on March 17. Your humble servant uses the word “supposed” to indicate that the new election and its date are not quite written in stone. The bill to dissolve the Knesset has only passed its first reading and has to pass two more.
Every indication is that it will sail through; however, a sliver of a possibility exists that Netanyahu can still form an alternative government by having the two orthodox religious parties take the place of Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid and Tzipi Livni’s Hatnua parties in the coalition. Such a substitution would leave Netanyahu with a bare coalition of 61 legislators.
Again, this is extremely unlikely; the likelihood of a new election on March 17th is about 99%.
So what can we expect in the next 104 days:
1. There will be five new polls every day. Five are already out today with very different results because each one is conducted by a group with a different bias. The bottom line is that none of them are accurate. Just look at the final predictions on the final day of the last election; none of the polls came remotely close to predicting what would happen–especially with the last minute surge of Yesh Atid.
2. The Israeli media will spend the next 104 days running news broadcast after news broadcast and “news program” after “news program” extolling the virtues of Yair Lapid and Tzipi Livni and degrading and demeaning Benjamin Netanyahu, Naftali Bennett, and the orthdox religious parties. The process has begun full bore today with every television channel doing the above.
3. The new 3.25 voter threshold is going to create new bedfellows and hopefully keep old bedfellows together. The new threshold means that no party will win seats in the Knesset unless it wins enough votes to have 4 seats. This means that Tzipi Livni, who currently has almost no popular support, will have to join either Yesh Atid or Labor. This means that the Arab parties are likely to form a Arab block. This means that hopefully Jewish Home will not splinter into several different parties.
4. Moshe Kahlon’s new social justice party is a major variable in the election. Focusing on the cost of living, Kahlon’s party is projected to win at least 10 seats in the Knesset. Who will Kahlon hurt? Almost certainly he will cut into Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid and the Shas orthodox party (Kahlon comes from the same Sephardic background). He may also hurt Netanyahu and Likud–being a former member of Likud himself. Israelis love new faces–and Kahlon represents himself as the center. In short, Kahlon is to this election what Yair Lapid was to the last one.
5. The current security situation–which is not likely to get better– favors the parties on the Israeli “right”. The recent war with Hamas, the breakdown of security in Jerusalem, the ongoing problems in Judea and Samaria, the threats to Israel on every border and from Iran all serve to make Israelis think that the country needs a strong leader. Every terror attack, like the one a few hours ago, will drive more voters to the right.
In sum, 104 days is a lifetime in politics–especially in Israel–and it is absurd to predict today what will happen on March 17.