6:00 am Israel time, Saturday, February 7 2015
37 Days Until The Election
***Your humble servant calls your attention to the “time change” noted above–a time change which has been brought about by my arrival in Israel yesterday. For the next two months, this blog will be published in the morning Israel time instead of in the evening.
***It was not without reticence that we left our home in the northern California town of Davis on Thursday. Of course we will miss our family and friends there very much. Moreover, as you all know by now, the University of California, Davis has been the scene of a BDS vote and anti-Semitic incidents during the last month. We look forward to continuing in the fight in Davis from our home here in Israel and eagerly wait re-entering the fray on the ground there in April.
***In the one of the more bizarre statements of record recently, American billionaire (by virtue of his Slim Fast corporation) Daniel Abraham proclaimed yesterday that he is not supporting Herzog and Livni in the coming election via his huge donations to the V15/One Voice Movement campaign .
If you can stop laughing long enough, here’s the rest of what he said from his home in Florida: “I do not know how much money I donated to the charity V-15, but I did give my heart for Israel and the Jewish people.”
Do you hear more laughter in the background? It is your humble servant guffawing over his morning coffee at Abraham’s patently illegal efforts to subvert the democratic process in Israel through the use of a bogus “charity”.
One of the reasons that we have returned to Israel at this time is to participate in the election campaign (our huge Beit Yehudi–Jewish Home–banner goes up on our house tomorrow) which now has only 37 days to go. As mentioned in previous israelstreet blogs, it has been a very dirty campaign so far with no one really focusing on the issues.
The main newspapers on the “Left”, Yedioth Aharonoth (YNET News) and Haaretz, as well as all of the Israeli TV channels, continue to carry out vicious ad hominem attacks on Netanyahu–and their heavily biased polls show that the race is virtually even, in terms of leading parties. Yedioth’s most recent poll yesterday has the Herzog-Livni laughingly called “Zionist Union” party ahead by 1 over Netanyahu’s Likud (25-24).
On the other hand, the main newspapers in the center, the Jerusalem Post and Maariv show a completely different story with their latest, less-biased, poll yesterday which shows Netanyahu and Likud with a 4 seat lead over “Zionist Union” (26-22). According to this poll, Netanyahu’s sudden resurgence is coming at the expense of Naftali Bennett’s Jewish Home party which is in freefall and is down to 13.
Looking at the Post Poll in more detail, we see what is apparently likely to play out at election time (my ideological analysis on each party is in parentheses):
Likud (center-right): 26
Zionist Union (left): 22
Beit Yehudi (right): 13
Joint Arab List (extreme left): 12
Yesh Atid (left): 11
United Torah Judaism (religious-leaning right): 8
Koolanu (center, leaning slightly right): 7
Shas (religious-leaning right): 6
Meretz (extreme left): 6
Yisrael Beiteinu (center, leaning right): 5
Yahad (right): 4
At first glance, the “left” looks relatively strong with 51 “sure” seats: Zionist Union 22, Joint Arab List 12, Yesh Atid 11, Meretz 6). However, it most certainly is not.
Yesterday, a spokesperson for the Joint Arab list said that they would never sit in a coalition with a party that calls itself “Zionist Union”. Moreover, neither Zionist Union nor Yesh Atid would be happy to be in a coalition with the United Arab List or Meretz. But assuming for the moment that this 51 seat base could be cobbled together, where would the remaining 10 seats come from?
They cannot come from United Torah Judaism whose rabbis have decreed that they will never sit in a coalition with Yesh Atid (Lapid’s party which try to ram numerous anti-Orthodox laws through the Knesset). They cannot come from Shas whose leader declared three days ago that Shas would not sit in a coalition with Yesh Atid either. And they cannot come from Koolanu because it will not sit with United Arab List or Meretz.
In essence, the only way for “Zionist Camp”/Herzog and Livni to get to the prime ministership is for that party to win at least 10-15 more seats. Hence, we had Herzog hollowly declaring yesterday that “Zionist Camp” is aiming for 30 or more seats.
On the other hand, the road to a strong rightist coalition is, at the moment, extremely clear.
Let’s begin with a base of 43 seats: Likud 26, Beit Yehudi 13, Yachad 4.
Where would the remaining 18 seats come from? From every direction: United Torah Judaism 8, Koolanu 7, Shas 6, Israel Beiteinu 5. Even from Yesh Atid 11: Yair Lapid, who apparently sees the handwriting on the wall, infuriated Tzipi Livni yesterday by saying that he might be willing to sit in a Netanyahu government after all. However, as stated, United Torah Judaism and Shas will not sit with Yesh Atid.
What does all of this mean at this moment? Things are looking slightly up for the “right”.
Having said that, don’t count the “left” out yet. In the coming weeks, we will see a parade of damning reports about Netanyahu, endless incitement against Netanayhu, a door-to-door campaign against Netanyahu which started this past week, and, and, and . . . What is more is that political commercials will not start running on Israeli TV until about two weeks before the election. And just after that Netanyahu will speak in Washington (supposedly–unless he postpones it).
And who knows what will happen on the Lebanese border, the Syrian border, the Egyptian border, the Gaza border, and in Judea and Samaria? Not to mention Iran.
37 days is a lifetime in Israel.