Thursday, February 12, 2009

Israel Election Update Feb. 12

So now it's all over but the haggling. And that will undoubtedly bring many twists and turns as the new government takes shape. Click here for a chart from Ha'aretz showing who voted for whom geographically and ethnically.

The final election results were revealed today, with the breakdown as follows:

Kadima 28
Likud 27
Yisrael Beitenu 15
Labor 13
Shas 11
United Arab List 4
National Union 4
United Torah Judaism 5
Hadash 4
Jewish Home 3
Balad 3
Meretz 3

What this means is that there is a potential for a center-right coalition of 64 seats, whereas no center-left combination would garner more than 44. Things get interesting when you throw Yisrael Beitenu into the mix, which is hawkish toward Hamas and Israeli Arabs but also a staunch proponent of civil marriage and religion-state separation. Wherever they end up, if they end up in the coalition, there will likely be very strange bedfellows in that government.

Kadima is angling for a unity government with a rotating prime minister, which, in the '90s, produced Israel's most stable government in decades, one that accomplished quite a bit. Likud will hear nothing of it, although it would like to bring Kadima into a center-right government.

One of the great ironies is that Shimon Peres, who has so often been on the other side of these meetings, will, as President, determine which party will have the first chance to form a government. The nod will likely go to Netanyahu, who edged out Peres himself for the honor a decade ago.

What does this mean for Israeli policy? In the long run, the guy living in the White House will have much more to say about Israel's security issues than anyone in Jerusalem. Which is reason for us to remain informed and involved.

The UJC sent out a detailed analysis today.

Some other recommended articles:

Analysis: Election arithmetic puts Bibi in the driver's seat (David Horovitz, Jerusalem Post)

Unity, now - We don't have luxury of wasting precious time on coalition bargaining. (JPost editorial) - a disgusted Israel blogger takes more pride in Bar Refaeli's appearance in SI's Swimsuit issue than in the country's political system.

You can select from several Israeli blog feeds here.

Also see: Israel Goes to the Polls - Editorial- However the political jockeying plays out, Israelis have once again reaffirmed their commitment to a democratic process that, for all its imperfections, will eventually produce a representative, responsible and lawful government. If only the same could be said of the Palestinians and the rest of Israel's neighbors, on whom any hopes for a lasting peace must ultimately rest. (Wall Street Journal)

Israel's Election Winner: Peace Skeptics - Benny Avni- Israeli voters Tuesday threw a wrench into the plans of the world's peace processors - President Obama included. The winners were those who presume that as long as Iran and its proxies are armed and ready to fight, no amount of uprooted Jewish settlements will bring peace. Israeli voters are disillusioned with U.S. special envoys.

Who in the world is Avigdor Lieberman? (JPost)

Hamas says truce near, pending Israeli agreement on details (JPost)

Also see the following videos:

Israel’s post-election policy agenda (English video)

Eretz Nehderet (A Wonderful Country)” Saturday Night Live style spoof of both candidates declaring victory (Hebrew video with English translation on the page). And, shades of Jon Stewart, this show was more popular on election night in Israel than the actual returns.

IBA English News coverage of the election results

No comments: