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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Election Analysis - The left-right split is outdated

The press has been highlighting the fact that there is essentially a tie between the left wing and right wing bloc, 60 seats each.

The truth is that the whole left-right split is outdated and doesn't really apply in this election. Out of the 60 seats that supposedly make up the left wing block, 19 belong to Lapid and 15 to Labor. Neither one of them  campaigned on the traditional left wing issue, the peace process. In fact, both campaigned on economic issues and that is what this election was really about. The 2 parties that did focus their campaigns on the peace process were Meretz and Livni's party, they got a grand total of 12 seats, 6 each.  Additionally 12 of the 60 left wing seats are from the Arab parties who have never been in the government.

The fact is that it is incorrect to call Yesh Atid a left wing party. Yesh Atid is a centrist party which garnered a lot of right wing votes not on the strength of it's diplomatic plan (it basically had none) but on the strength of economic issues and שוויון בנטל.

I would split the electorate as follows:
1. Old fashioned left - main platform is the peace process 12 seats (Meretz and Livni)
2. Socialists - Main platform is economic socialism Labor 15, Meretz 6 (secondary platform)
3. Capitalists - Main platform is economic capitalistic reform (e.g. more competition, privatization, etc.) Likud 31, Yesh Atid 19, Bayit Hayehudi 11 (secondary platform)
4. Right wing - No Palestinian state, settlements etc. Likud 31, Bayit Hayehudi 11.
5. Charedim - 18
6. Arabs - 11

Based on my definition above the big winner in this election is capitalism 61 - 21.

Israeli Election Results and Analysis

With over 99% of the votes counted here are the results:

Now comes the hard part, creating a coalition. Based on the results there is only 1 person who can make a government, Netanyahu. The big question is what will his coalition look like. There are 3 major issues that the next government needs to deal with:

1. Economy/Budget
2. שוויון בנטל - draft of Charedim/Arabs
3. Palestinians/Diplomacy

Here are 4 coalition possibilities:

1. Right wing + Charedim 

Likud 31 + Bayit Hayehudi 11 + Shas 11 + Yahadut Hatorah 7 + Kadima 2 = 62
Probability - Low
This coalition has 3 strikes against it.
1. Economy/Budget - Shas will not allow major budget cuts, in general the Charedim view the government as a cash machine and will want more money not less.
2. שוויון בנטל - draft of Charedim - Non-starter with the Charedi parties, they will never agree to drafting Yeshiva bachurim
3. Palestinians/Diplomacy - Not going anywhere given the right wing characterization of the government

2. Likud + Lapid + Bennet + Others

Likud 31 + Yesh Atid 19 + Bayit Hayehudi 11= 61 + other parties (Possibilities include - Shas, Kadima, Livni)
Probability - High

This coalition is the least problematic
1. Economy/Budget - One of Lapid's campaign promises was to deal with the high cost of living and help the middle class. He and Netanyahu should be able to reach agreement on the budget.
2. שוויון בנטל - draft of Charedim - This was Lapid's other major issue, he will make sure to come up with a solution, once Netanyahu has 61 with Bennet and Lapid, Shas may join the government but will have little influence on this issue.
3. Palestinians/Diplomacy - Bennet make make this a bit difficult, but I believe that this will not be a blocker.

3. Likud + Center Left (Chiloni government without any religious parties)

Likud 31 + Yesh Atid 19 + Labor 15 + Hatenua 6 + Kadima 2 = 73
Probability - Very Low
This is talked about after every election, a government with no religious parties. This will most probably not happen because Netanyahu does not want to abandon his natural partners on the right and this coalition will be too left wing for him. The Likud has moved right with MKs like Feiglin, Hotovelly, Danon, etc. the Likud MKs will work very hard so this does not happen.
The issues
1. Economy/Budget - Very problematic with Labor, Yeshimovitch will not agree to any budget cuts, she views herself as a socialist vs Netanyahu as a capitalist, they are polar opposites on economic issues.
2. שוויון בנטל - draft of Charedim - This coalition is built to deal with this
3. Palestinians/Diplomacy - The Palestinians/world will be happy but this will be a repeat of 2004-2005 when the Likud revolted against Sharon

4. Likud + Charedim + Bennet + Lapid

Likud 31 + Bayit Hayehudi 11 + Charedim 18 + Yesh Atid 19 = 79
Probability - Low
It is very hard to see Lapid joining this constellation
The issues
This coalition has 3 strikes against it.
1. Economy/Budget - Shas will not allow major budget cuts, in general the Charedim view the government as a cash machine and will want more money not less.
2. שוויון בנטל - draft of Charedim - Non-starter with the Charedi parties, they will never agree to drafting Yeshiva bachurim
3. Palestinians/Diplomacy - Lapid may be able to have some influence here and get things moving.

Winners 

1. Yair Lapid is the big winner. His party is the second biggest and he is the king maker in terms of Netanyahu creating a coalition.
2. Naftali Bennet - Bayit Hayehudi - Yes, they did not get 15 seats and are only the 4th (tied) biggest party, but they did more then double their seats and it looks like Bennet will be a major player in any Netanyahu coalition.

Losers

There are a lot of losers in this election:
1. Shelly Yechimovitch (Labor) - Labor only received 15 seats and is only the third largest party. 3 months ago she was talking about being Prime Minister. She is most probably destined for another 4 years in the opposition.
2. Netanyahu and the Likud - The merge with Yisrael Beitenu turned out to be a bad move and the 2 parties lost 11 seats. Netanyahu will have a very tough time creating a stable coalition.
3. Tzippi Livni - With only 6 seats she is done. 
4. Kadima - In 6 years Kadima went from the governing party to being wiped off the map. After all of the soldiers/diplomats votes are counted they will probably get 0 seats.
5. The Charedi parties - While they preserved their strength and ended up with about the same number of seats, Lapid's 19 seats will come to haunt them. As mentioned above, the most likely coalition includes Lapid which will be very painful to the Charedim (shades of 2003)
6. All those people who voted for the small Right wing/Charedi parties and threw away their votes. Amsalem, Amnon Yitzchak and Otzma Yisrael took away 4-6 seats from the right/religious. There is no question that those seats in the hands of the Likud and Shas would definitely have changed the coalition landscape. 



Monday, January 14, 2013

Satmar Rebbe Undergoes "Humiliating" Search at the Airport; Will Now only Fly on Private Planes

The Satmar Rebbe of Williamsburg is flying to Israel from Miami. When he went through the metal detector it beeped and therefore they asked him to undergo a patdown. His Gabbaim tried to explain who he is and how important he is to no avail. He was forced to take off his outer garments and be patted down. Satmar Chasidim were deeply hurt by the lack of respect and decided that from now on the Rebbe will only fly on private planes.

I am not a Chosid but even so I fail to see how this was humiliating. If they want to waste money on private planes that is their choice, but then they shouldn't expect people to give them money when they come collecting.

Here are some pictures from the airport.



Local newspaper in Beitar prints a family picture in the snow and is called to Beis Din

One of the local newspapers in Beitar printed the picture below of the Mayor's family enjoying the snow.
The picture looks innocent enough so what was the problem? If you look really closely you can see that there is a woman/girl in the picture. Because of that the publisher was summoned to Beis Din to explain himself how he could publish such an "un-tznius" picture.

Source: ביתר: פרסם את תמונת רעיית ראש העיר וזומן לבית דין