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    Netanyahu will be next Prime Minister

    Netanyahu will be next Prime Minister

    Bibi Netanyahu will be Israel’s next Prime Minister, by a whisker, via Jerusalem Post (h/t @TomBevanRCP):

    In the final count, Likud won 31 Knesset seats, Yesh Atid 19, Labor 15, Bayit Yehudi 12, Shas 11, United Torah Judaism seven, Meretz and The Tzipi Livni Party six each, the three Arab parties a total of 11, and Kadima two. This gives the Right bloc 61 seats and the Center-Left bloc 59 in the next Knesset.

    Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu began the process of building a new governing coalition on Wednesday with his Likud Beytenu ally Avigdor Liberman and the big winner in Tuesday’s election, Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid.

    Netanyahu agreed with Lapid and Liberman that the next government would focus on reducing housing costs, reforming the electoral system, and equalizing the burden of military and national service. But they did not agree on which parties should be in the coalition and who should receive the top portfolios.

    The prime minister would prefer to give the Foreign Ministry position to Lapid, who speaks perfect British-accented English and whose moderate image could improve Israel’s ties with the United States and Europe. But Liberman said he wanted to return to his former job once he is clear of his legal troubles and suggested that Lapid be finance minister.

    A reader writes, with the subject line “Israel and the Tea Party Strategy”:

    I was expecting to write to you with the opposite point, about the vindication of these strategies, but unfortunately, I’m saying this instead.

    The security right in Israel tried the Tea Party strategy of electing more extreme candidates in the primaries to for [sic] the establishment leader Bibi to take a harder line. Bennet and to a lesser extent Shas was basically Operation Counterweight. The security conservative Jewish Home and the (Sephardi) religious conservative Shas even RAN as that in some of their literature – as conservative parties to be part of Netanyahu’s coalition, and in Bennett’s case, more explicitly to give it more backbone.

    But this failed. They got a more extreme set of MK’s, but they lost seats, and will have barely enough to form a coalition – in fact, they may wind up including Lapid in it somehow and leaving some of the right (in this case, potentially Shad and maybe even UTJ), resulting in a fundamentally leftward shift.

    My response: First, it’s overly simplistic to try to compare tactics and results in two entirely different systems; given the mulititude of Israeli parties, there’s something for everyone. Second, I reject that Tea Party backed candidates were more “extreme;” by characterizing it that way, the reader gives away an implicit bias.

    But most important, didn’t Republicans choose the guy who was the antithesis of the Tea Pary movement? How did that work out?


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    Henry Hawkins | January 24, 2013 at 1:57 pm

    We have to believe that, no matter how inane the idea, John Kerry’s ego will make him envision himself as the leading candidate in 2016 for the Dem nomination. Will this create tension and conflict between what the WH tells Kerry to do as SoS and what he judges to be politically expedient vis-a-vis a 2016 run?

    At any rate, I’d love to see Dem primary season debates between Kerry and Joe Biden: Lurch versus Uncle Fester.

    Oh, almost forgot to mention… John Kerry served in Viet Nam.

    Mary Sue | January 24, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    I saw on Twitter Mark Mellman was involved with the campaign for Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid. I had a bad feeling when he tweeted:

    Looks like our client #Yesh Atid will go from 0 seats to second largest party in Israel in one election….historic….congrats to team

    If anyone has read “The Victory Lab” it is obvious Mellman is an important person to watch, his name comes up frequently. Tactics used to reelect Barack Obama and Harry Reid seem to be his specialty. While other pollsters fumble to get a handle on what is bubbling on the surface, Mellman manages to trace the opinions being moved by new strategies below the surface. It seems pretty clear these strategies were employed to affect change in the Israeli election as well.

    I really don’t think this is about choosing a tea party candidate vs non-teaparty types, it is about competing with a ground game that leaves us in the dust no matter where it is employed.

    I agree with the assessments of Yackums and Millhouse above, though I disagree that Lapid won’t sit with Shas. I rather think it might be the other way round. Didn’t Livni go on record as saying she won’t sit with Likud or Bennet? And Yachimovitch has said she refuses to join the coalition at all and will sit in the opposition and try to bring down the governemnt.

    On the other hand, when offered a place in the government most politicians will forget their principles. Yes, I am cynical. That’s what 35 years in Israel will do to a person.

    My educated guess is that the coalition will look like a mixture of Bibi’s ideal and Lapid’s ideal.

    BannedbytheGuardian | January 24, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    Israel is also 6 months behind on a budget , which I read is the reason the election was called early.

    I think annein pt might have it there.

    No use crying over spilt kefir – just get something worked out .

    BannedbytheGuardian | January 24, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    This brings up an interesting experience I had as a Guardian poster.

    During the Blood Libel drama , I posted Dershowitz’s defence & noted Netanyahu’s support for Palin. Posters there went off on a tirade of mockery because Ihad put forward Bibi as an expert on matters Jewish.

    If the Leader of the State of Israel is not a contemporary Jewish authority but the Guardian is – eeekks – this is what Logical historical thought is up against.

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