Elections 2019 Part II/2
Don’t worry, this is going to be a short one.
Just want you to know what it’s like to wake up to political stalemate.
Final results not in, but….
Netanyahu’s party had threatened to drop him if he lost. He hasn’t won; looks like he’s gained equal seats to the Blue and White party of Benny Gantz (32). But he hasn’t lost either…yet. So his party has already indicated that he shall continue as their leader.
Benny Gantz’s Blue and White party looks likely to have either 1 more seat than Bibi, or equal. Not a failure, but stalemate.
Avidgor Lieberman was the reason the last election failed. He refuses to serve in a coalition with the religious. He has gained from 5 to 8/9 seats. He remains the possible kingmaker.
The two major parties could form a government of National Unity, but 64 out of 120 seats does not give them the comfortable position to ‘move on’. So there is a likelihood of working with Lieberman.
The Arabs, 4 smaller parties that have differing views, cleverly combined to form the Joint List, and they have, with 12/13 seats, the 3rd largest party. There have been hints of working with Blue and White, but I don’t think the country is ready for Arabs in government, especially when it includes members who are violently against anything Jewish.
(I’m waiting in hospital for a small procedure. When referring to the fact that Israel is an open and free society, we often refer to the hospitals, which cater even disproportionately to the Arab citizens, both as patients and as staff. I just dropped a coin from my pocket. My hands were full with phone and laptop – writing to you. The nice (covered) Muslim lady next to me kindly picked up my coin. Important? Maybe not. But symbolic).
The 2 religious parties retained their 8 or so seats each. Their supporters do not falter. Those 16/17 seats are usually important as part of a coalition – which always means that the religious get their ‘rather unfair’ wishes. (My parentheses). But they’re worried. Could be left out of government this time. Important to them:
The right to focus study on religion – and financial support for those religious schools (yeshivas).
The right NOT to serve either I’m the Army nor do any national service
Subsidies for each child…
NO civil marriage, divorce not funeral
Retention of Shabbath laws – no transport, trading etc.
Control over kashrut laws – a restaurant does not have to be kosher, but if it is, there’s only one authority in charge. (A 2nd authority now exists and an interesting battle is developing).
Two further blocks, one leftish and one rightish, and the almost defunk Labour Party (of Perez, Rabin, Barak etc.) have gained enough seats to survive, but are not expected to be influential in the next government.
President Rivlin, 80 last week, is, like Queen Elizabeth, waiting to be lied to. He actually has a little more political power here than the UK monarch. The potential leader cannot take all for granted.
September 19, 2019