Thursday, September 26

The Inconclusive Israeli Election Results

The 17th September 2019 elections have achieved a deadlock. PM Netanyahu is on the way out.  According to nearly final Israeli election results, the opposition Blue and White party of Benny Gantz edged ahead of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party 1. However, Benny Ganz may not be on the way in. Neither the Likud nor Kahol Lavan parties with their possible coalitions will make it to the minimum of 61 seats out of 120 Knesset seats. 

 Israeli President Reuven Rivlin tasks Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu with forming a new government, during a press conference in Jerusalem on September 25, 2019. MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images

It appears that it will take weeks of intensive negotiations between the factions to form a viable coalition which is very complex and Netanyahu, with his legal problems, may have to be replaced if Ganz does not succeed in forming a coalition that will have 61 or more seats. Somebody else from the Likud may replace Netanyahu, who will not resign without a fight. Netanyahu proposed leading “a broad unity government” that would include Likud in alliance with the Kahol-Lavan  alliance, which won the most Knesset seats in the vote and is led by former army chief Benny Ganz 2. He will have to be dragged alive, kicking and screaming with his waning magic racist mantras and balls of rolling sweat pouring down from his brow. Much depends on his Likud cronies, who appear to be giving Netanyahu overwhelming support and to date are not prepared to desert him for a new leader or even pass a resolution to have the Likud primaries voting to replace Netanyahu.

President Reuven Rivlin faces one of the most, if not the most difficult challenge in Israel’s history to try and get the winning party to form a coalition with so many recalcitrant Knesset members, all pulling in different directions with different demands. The main question is whether Benny Ganz will go back on his electoral promise not to sit down and negotiate a unity government with Benjamin Netanyahu rotating the prime ministerial post with him, even if President Rivlin may request him to do so. Electoral promises and post-electoral decisions during negotiations may even be contradictory. Promises made during election campaigns may not be kept once the negotiations for forming a coalition government begin.

The formation of a government coalition, whichever way one views it, is a gargantuan task and the possibility of total failure is very large. The possibility of a third round of general elections cannot be ruled out if no government can be formed. If this occurs, it will cost Israel millions of shekels and the results will remain pretty much the same.

Perhaps it would be a good idea to form a unity government for one purpose only and that is to pass a law changing the electoral system to ensure that there is a change in the delimitation of parties by raising the percentage support they get or to change the system into a a system similar to the UK that has a constituency representation. The House of Commons and local councils in England and Wales use the first-past-the-post system.

The UK is divided into constituencies. Local authorities into wards.

At a general or local election, voters put a cross (X) next to their preferred candidate on a ballot paper. Ballot papers are counted. The candidate with the most votes represents the constituency or ward.

The voting system of proportional representation as at present in Israel will not allow any party to gain an absolute majority to win an election because of the diverse voting patterns of the electorate and a large number of parties participating. Hence many weeks if not months will be wasted in trying to form a government coalition. This exercise may be a test of total futility and the possibility of new futile general elections cannot be ruled out. 

After much ado in the president’s residence, it was decided that Netanyahu get first shot at forming a government 5. His chances of succeeding are poor and he has a week to do so. Balad (part of the Joint List) decided to abstain from supporting Netanyahu or Ganz. This gave the right-wing block the majority which influences President Rivlin’s decision to give Netanyahu first choice. Balad’s expected 3 votes in favour of Ganz were withdrawn at their request. 

After having been given a meaningless, futile mandate by President Rivlin to form a government, Netanyahu thanks the president for the mandate and gives an election propaganda speech about the importance of him forming a government and continuing as PM. He was campaigning for himself and his right-wing cronies to continue leading the country. The bottom line is obvious as well - getting immunity from a criminal trial pending his hearing in a week.

There are reports on Y Net that Kahol-Lavan requested Balad to abstain from voting so that Netanyahu is given the first option to form a government so that that he will fail and that Kahol-Lavan will be given second option to form a government assuming that their chance of succeeding is greater. Both groups, even with their respective supporters, are unable to win an absolute majority of 61 seats. There is a definite electoral stalemate. 

At the end of the day, within a few months, there will be new elections. If there is no electoral reform or a change in the electoral system, there will be no change in the results and Israel will face inconclusive election results after repeat expensive elections that maybe Israel’s destiny. 

  1.  20 Sep. 2019, Accessed 22 Sep. 2019.
  2.  21 Sep. 2019, Accessed 22 Sep. 2019.
  3. September 2019 Israeli legislative election
  4. Israeli Democracy Institute - September 2019 Elections
  5. After election deadlock, Netanyahu tapped by Israel's president to assemble a new government

Sunday, September 8

The Upcoming Elections on 17th September 2019

The Israeli General Elections are just around the corner.  It is shocking that millions of shekels are being wasted because Netanyahu could not form a coalition. It is also President Reuven Rivlin’s fault as it was incumbent on him to give another Knesset member the chance to form a coalition government. Under the pressure of Netanyahu, in his determination not to lose the elections, the president succumbed to Netanyahu’s desire and new elections, only 5 months after April 9th election, was declared for 17th September. This did go against protocol:
After an election, the President, following consultations with the elected party leaders, chooses the Knesset member most likely to have the ability to form a viable (coalition) government. While this typically is the leader of the party receiving the most seats, it is not required to be so. In the event a party wins 61 or more seats in an election, it can form a viable government without having to form a coalition. However, no party has ever won more than 56 seats in an election; thus, a coalition has always been required.[3] That member has up to 42 days to negotiate with the different parties, and then present his or her government to the Knesset for a vote of confidence. If the Knesset approves the proposed government (by a vote of at least 61 members), he or she becomes Prime Minister.

As the coalitions often prove highly unstable - given the number and diverse views of the political parties involved - parties (or portions thereof) quite commonly leave them. However, so long as the coalition has at least 61 members (and it is free to recruit from parties not originally in the coalition) it is entitled to remain in power. Such a case occurred with the 19th Knesset: Ehud Barak and four other members left the Labor in 2011 to form the Independence Party, and continued their alignment with Likud, while the remaining eight Labor members remained with the party, but left the coalition; after all the changes, the Likud coalition retained the support of the minimum 61 members, and so, it remained in power. If a coalition fails a motion of no confidence, it ceases to be in power, but only if the motion names a specific replacement to be the prime minister. That individual then has a prescribed amount of time to form a new coalition, and new elections are called if this attempt is not successful (known as a constructive vote of no confidence).[11]   (Wikipedia)
Netanyahu knows that he has the chance of being granted immunity from prosecution in 3 criminal cases of which he is a criminal suspect should he be reelected as PM.

This is the most shallow election campaign since Israel’s establishment and is mostly involved in various character assassination of opposition candidates by the right-wing Netanyahu coalition. Netanyahu, during his long rule, must go down in history as the most polarizing prime minister that Israel ever had. The electorate is tired of elections and many are apathetic as a result. His credibility and that of his shenanigans are questionable. 

PM Netanyahu is a criminal suspect and within a week or two after the elections, he will be granted a hearing by the attorney-general on his suspected crimes. Netanyahu is behaving like a megalomanic cornered rat. He is on the warpath blaming the attorney-general, the press media, the law courts, the police, and, of course, the left. He believes that these institutions and the left are conspiring against him and his beloved wife, Sarah and that twitter “genius” his son, Yair, who tweets such a lot of rubbish without being scolded by his parents for it. 

There are so many important issues at stake and not much mention was made of that by any of the parties standing for election. 

PM Netanyahu is not interested in Israel. He is interested in one personal issue only and that is not to stand trial and being elected as PM is his only chance to gain immunity from prosecution and standing trial. He is dishing out jobs to pals in the Knesset, who are his yes-men/women, including the State-Comptroller. He is also not telling the truth to the Israeli electorate and is a purveyor of “fake news” to increase his support and that of his party. 

There are so many reports in the Israeli media over the elections and there is no point in regurgitating them here. 

We should all bear in mind that a leader of a country who lies to the citizens of whom he is the leader has no respect for the citizens of the country that he leads. Apart from that, it is not in the public’s interest that a candidate to lead the country is a crime suspect. He should have his name cleared from all suspicions before he can be allowed to stand as a candidate for prime minister. Some of Netanyahu's famous lies are accusations of opposition parties, including Israel Beitenu and Kahol/Lavan as "left" who are prepared to sit with Arab parties in a coalition despite their strong denials.

This is an appeal to all citizens of Israel to vote for sanity, democracy, and the end of the Netanyahu regime of neo-fascists, who are destroying Israel’s democracy and replacing it with a regime that polarises the nation and creates divisions in our society that Israel does not need. We must vote for a government that will abolish the racist Nation-State Law 1. and work towards the equality of all Israel’s citizens, irrespective of race, colour or religion. The present government is eroding the laws of the land for their own benefit and not for the benefit of its citizens. We have an opportunity to vote for a change of government for the better of Israel and all its citizens and this also includes moving to end the occupation and moving towards a true peace between Israel and the Palestinians as difficult as it is to achieve. We must also bear in mind that if we vote for a party that may after the elections be part of a Likud Coalition then we have not achieved anything for a change of government.

1.  "BASIC LAW: ISRAEL - THE NATION STATE OF THE JEWISH ...." Accessed 8 Sep. 2019.