# 222 – Pre-Election by Stephen Pohlmann - Ourboox.com
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# 222 – Pre-Election

Helping others to understand Israel - and Israelis to understand others...
  • Joined Sep 2016
  • Published Books 409

January 21, 2013

Many of you may actually know that tomorrow – Tuesday – one day after Obama’s inauguration – is election day here in Israel. It has been in the news…

How do I describe a) the atmosphere, b) the background and pre-election build-up and c) predict the likely outcome?


First, I doubt that there’s another country with such a mixture/variety of priorities and issues. And each issue is 100% important to many. For instance:

  • Palestine

    • What to do with Gaza?

    • How to keep the positive momentum in West Bank going, without allowing Hamas to take over?



  • Did I write ‘positive’? Just seen Fatah’s leader, Palestinian Authority President, Abu Mazen, spread yet another ugly rumour: that ‘Jews were negotiating with the Nazis before the start of WWII’. This is the guy we’re supposed to talk to? The one who recently persuaded almost the whole UN to support the establishment of the Palestinian state; the state that cannot imagine having a Jewish presence within its borders… a man of peace?



  • Iran

    • Watched yesterday the late Shah’s son speak of overthrow of this impossible and dangerous regime, yet not one mention of the impossible and unspeakably cruel regime of his papa (so ably and willingly supported by the West – and Israel). How tough should we be with Iran?

    • How long should we sit on our hands?

    • How can we trust US/UN to protect us?



  • Rest of Arab World

    • How much should we worry about the Arab Autumn/Fall (forget about Spring).



  • World Opinion

    • Relationship with USA

    • With the U.N.

    • With Europe

    • How to deal with the Anti-Israel movement, so mixed up with, or confused with anti-Semitism.


How to keep Israeli Arabs satisfied

  • Only 30-35% are expected to vote – that figure has been on downward spiral for some time – many of the Arab Israeli political posters are only in Arabic.

  • The Jewish Israeli vote will be down, but still will be around 70% – very high by int’l standards.



  • The last terrorist attack in Israel was by Israeli Arabs (Palestinians living in Israel as full Israeli citizens) – part of quite a large extremist minority.

  • The Arab vote is very split. Most will vote for one of the 3 main Arab parties. Some will vote for ‘Jewish’ parties, many of which do try hard to attract Arabs.

  • A reminder that the Israeli Arabs (1.25 million of them) are often painted as 2nd-class citizens. I would not deny that. I would tell them to join the line, also containing Moroccan Jews, Russian Jews, Ethiopian Jews, political immigrants from northern Africa, guest-workers from Nepal (home help/cleaners), Philippines (carers for the elderly) and Thailand (farm workers) etc. Every country has 2nd class citizens. I think it’s incredible how well they can and do live in a country which many of them and all their cousins are trying to destroy.



  • Religious vs. Secular

    • Should religious serve in army or at least do community work?

    • Should larger families have relatively greater benefits?

    • Should religious schools receive extra money and special benefits?


Sephardic vs Ashkenazi

  • A reminder that it is the Ashkenazi (Central European) Jewish community which is credited with the political and even practical establishment of the state of Israel.

  • The ‘real’ Sephardis are those, like Aviva’s family, who escaped the Spanish Inquisition and came almost directly to Israel in the late 15th / early 16th Centuries.



  • The ‘Orientals Sephardis’ are those who settled in northern Africa and other parts of the Middle East, in countries such as Iraq, Iran, Morocco, Yemen, Tunisia, Syria, Egypt etc. They came in their droves after the establishment of Israel, forced for various reasons to leave their homes and escape oppressive regimes. Their numbers were far greater than the Palestinians still treated as refugees in Lebanon, Egypt, Syria, or settled in other parts of the World.



  • Check out the lovely movie, ‘Kazablan’, a 1974 musical, based on a 1954 play, based on the Romeo and Juliet theme of forbidden love between a young couple from communities who do not mix.

  • There has always been ‘worry’ about the relationship between the 2.



  • Haves vs Have-nots

    • Major economic crisis

    • Social  unrest – I already referred in a previous letter to the social protests, the tent cities, supported some weekends by up to 10% of the population! One of tomorrow’s larger parties, the revived Labour Party is led by the lady who made her name supporting the protesters.



  • Corruption in politics

    • How can one vote when so much confidence in the honesty of the politicians has been lost.



  • Change the system

    • Too many small parties, some of them gaining power in coalitions far above their vote.

    • Many believe that the minimum threshold of votes to be won by a party should be 5%, and not the current 2%.

    • And we should move away from the current party lists – we rarely have heard of anyone beyond #3 on any party’s list. There is a strong movement towards establishing a system based on at least 50% members voted in by constituencies.


Democracy is the best of the bad systems available to us. Few countries can claim to be happy with their current versions of democracies. Coalitions are becoming the norm. Few governments are given the power to do what they promised to do. And many of our (Israel’s) neighbours/enemies are misusing the definition of democracy, ending up with dangerous dictatorships.

Tomorrow’s elections have little chance of even helping to solve our problems.


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