Saturday, February 21

The Israeli Elections 2015 with Foregone Predictions?

All kinds of video clips - especially from the right wing have gone viral. These clips are bordering on the humorous as well as attacking those on the left wing of the political spectrum. The problem is that the right wing, especially the settler leadership in the occupied territories, are using Nazi tactics to dehumanize the left wing, who do not hold right wing, religious, Zionist views that oppose the occupation.

The upcoming general election is the most aggressive, filthiest election campaign in Israel’s history. While all election campaigns in Israel are lively and aggressive electioneering is dominant, new lows have been reached in this campaign. The use of character assassination tactics does not add to fair publicity and the important issues that need to be addressed.

The hedonistic lifestyle of PM Binyamin (Bibi) Netanyahu and his wife have been well described in the State Comptroller’s Report,  which was published a month before the election date. This has created grist to the mill of those opposing Netanyahu as being re-elected as Prime Minister. Whether it will influence the outcome, remains to be seen. Bibi is surrounded by a group of very loyal Likud Party hacks that seek every opportunity to “whitewash” Bibi on TV, internet and in the press. They are in denial and claim that this Report is part of an organized “smear campaign” against Bibi and the Likud. Naturally they accuse the left of carrying out this smear campaign, whether it is their extravagant living, Sarah Netanyahu pocketing bottle-deposit money as well as exploiting the staff in the Prime Minister’s residence and private homes. Likud will not win an absolute majority but they will win a mandate or two more than the left of center Zionist Camp. The Israeli Electorate are moving towards the right and they will support center to right of center political parties that will be the natural coalition partners with the Likud.

While the Comptroller’s Report is on the way to be the basis of a criminal investigation into the misuse of state funds by the Netanyahu family and is an embarrassment to Netanyahu, it will not affect the right wing outcome of the elections. Islamophobia and racism against Arabs (which unfortunately is on the increase in Israel) is a strong factor in influencing the final election results.

The Bayit Yehudi Party (Jewish Home Party) under Naftali Bennett’s leadership have come out with shocking statements in their election campaign, accusing the left of not having learn’t the lessons of Late PM Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination on November 5th 1995. What Lessons? This is the same as saying that the Zionists are responsible for ISIS! The assassin, Yigal Amir, who shot Yitzhak Rabin on that fateful night (I was present at that Peace Assembly when it occurred) came from the extreme right wing camp. He was sentenced to life imprisonment. According to reports, Yigal Amir and his family are supporters of Bennett and his Bayit Hayehudi Party. So which pot is calling the kettle black? Naftali Bennett has also been accusing the left of being traitors to Israel and inciting his supporters against them. Such hypocrisy!!! The criticism that I can make is the portrayal of Naftali Bennett as a Nazi. This is shocking and to be condemned in the strongest terms no less. It is an example of another low to which this election campaign has reached.

The Zionist Camp, even it wins a mandate or two more than the Likud will have a more difficult time than the Likud in forming a coalition government for the reasons already mentioned. The balance of power remains in the hands of the Joint Arab List that according to the latest polls will be the third largest party. The raising of the electoral threshold of the political parties has forced the Arab parties to unite creating a considerable political force that cannot be ignored when it comes to coalition building, especially by the left of center if the President approaches them to form the next government.

If the Joint Arab List is considered a potential partner in a left of center government coalition, they will have to agree to a common denominator that is acceptable to the Zionist Camp, if not, they will have to share the responsibility of the Likud being entrusted with forming the next coalition that will leave them in the opposition. If the Joint Arab List and Meretz were to form a common list, the chances of a change of government would have been increased. This list would definitely be a very strong political force which would influence a new original coalition deal that would be very interesting as well as challenging old outdated ideologies and be more representative of all Israel's citizens. This could also leave an option open for religious parties to join if they so desire. Unfortunately the chance of this happening is very remote if not impossible with the present mindset in the Israeli Electorate.

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