Wednesday, March 18, 2015
The Israeli Elections - More Than A Referendum On Netanyahu
The results from the Israeli election are in, and Israeli PM Netanyahu has defied all expectations by scoring a decisive victory to win a fourth term.While pre-election polls showed the Livni/Herzog coalition, self-named 'The Zionist Camp' well ahead, apparently the champagne corks got popped prematurely. Not only did Likud finish well in front, but the rest of the right did too and Bibi will be able to put together a natural governing coalition, while Herzog will not.
Netanyahu has already declared victory. The Central Elections Committee has shown Netanyahu and Likud with 30 seats, compared to Zionist Camp’s 24 seats.
Next came the Joint (Arab) List at 13 seats, Yesh Atid at 11, Kulanu with 10 and Beyt Yehudi with 8. They were followed by Shas and United Torah Judaism, 7 each, Yisrael Beytenu 6, and Meretz with 4 seats.
Since Israel has so many parties, the end of every election involves major horsetrading in order to get to the magic number of 61. Netanyahu will get there relatively easily. Herzog and Livni simply can't. They're history.
So how did Netanyahu manage to win when all the pundits and the polls saw him losing?
First off, this was not merely a referendum on Netanyahu. It was a referendum on Barack Obama by the Israeli people.
The Israeli reaction to President Obama's blatant meddling and financing of the 'Zionist Camp's' campaign was visceral. Many of them remembered the last time in happened, when an Israeli election was manipulated to put in Left in power in 1999. Oddly enough, Yitzhack Herzog, the current Labor candidate was involved in that money laundering scam up to his neck.
Now, it worked in 1999, but many Israelis remember how the Left's victory was followed by Arafat's hideous war against Israel's civilians, hundreds of dead and maimed Jews and the feckless inability of the Labor government to cope with it. It took Arik Sharon, the old lion scarred in so many of Israel's battles for survival to come forth once again to lead Israel to victory.
That memory still runs deep, like an angry scar across Israel. They went along with 1999 because of the lingering shock of Rabin's assassination, because they badly wanted peace, and because President Clinton was personally popular in Israel and they trusted him.
They do not trust Barack Hussein Obama, and with good reason. Herzog and Livni were President Obama's candidates, and they announced themselves willing to do his bidding early and often. Herzog made his desire to divide Jerusalem and to throw those he called 'settlers' out of their homes well known.
Herzog and Livni openly courted the Arab list as partners in a future coalition, even though it contained a number of politicians vociferously opposed to Israel's very existence, like Haneen Zoabi and Ta’al Party chairman MK Ahmed Tibi.
Obama's operatives like Jeremy Bird, national field director for Obama’s 2012 campaign and funded by “One Voice International" put together a group of activists called v15. OVI paid for hundreds of people to go door-to-door and try to boost the turnout on the Left and among the Arab voters. Since OVI receives State Department funds, The U.S. congress is investigating with the idea of eliminating OVI's 501c status.
Believe it or not, Netanyahu is now under fire as a 'racist' by the White House and the usual suspects because he had the unmitigated gall to called attention to the millions of dollars and shady operatives Obama sent in to interfere with Israel's elections, and the fact they were doing just what Obama's pals at ACORN used to do...buy votes among the Left and the part of Israel's Arab population in places like Umm Al-Fahm that simply aren't loyal to the country and truck them to the polls.
What passes for 'journalists' at places like Pravda-on-the -Hudson might be surprised, but there are plenty of Arabs who voted Likud and Beit Yahudi. Just ask Ayoob Kara, an Arab MK who had a prominent place on the Likud list, who left the IDF with the rank of major and will probably retain his slot as a deputy minister. In fact the place in Israel where Netanyahu and Likud got their biggest majority (77%) was in Al-Naim, an all Bedouin town.
There was also another talking point involved in what the Leftist press characterized as Netanyahu's 'veer to the Right' or as I prefer to call it, his acknowledgement of reality. He's apparently realized that there's no basis for a Palestinian state next door to Israel at this time, and certainly no way to accede to Mahmoud Abbas's ridiculous demands unless Israel wants to commit national suicide. He finally said so, simply admitting what everyone with any knowledge of the region already knows. Abbas's continued sponsorship of terrorists in the mosques, media and schools he controls as well as his alliance with Hamas.
Netanyahu also realizes, as many other leaders in the region do, that President Barack Obama's policies in the region are both wrongheaded and dangerous, and quite likely to result in catastrophe. He didn't quite say this, but he clearly made the case that this was certainly no arena for amateurs like Herzog.
And finally, he talked to the Israeli people and reminded them what was at stake. in the end, that hit home much more than the flashy glitz the 'Zionist Camp' was putting out.
In spite of all the foreign money, all of the promises of Hope and Change from Herzog and Livni, and all of the blatantly biased media coverage, in the end that was what counted. They were smart enough to see through what Obama and the Israeli Left were trying to do, and they voted accordingly.
The interesting thing is that even if Netanyahu had lost and the Obama backed surrender caucus of Livni and Herzog had won, the pressure on Israel to retreat to indefensible borders, create half a million Jewish refugees and accede to President Obama's diktats wouldn't change one iota. They'd merely have more willing partners, who wouldn't realize the trap they were stepping into until it was far too late.
I doubt President is going to take this rebuke from a bunch of stubborn Jews lightly, and I fully expect Netanyahu and Israel to accused of all sorts of things. President Obama vowed to create daylight between America and Israel in 2009, and anyone who's observed him at work on this project, would have to grant he's made some progress.
In a subsequent article, I'll examine the implications of this and where it's likely to lead.