Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Talking Points -- 2013 Israeli Elections -- the morning after


I suspected something was up when Lisa and I did our "stroll poll" and came upon neighbors and friends who told us that they'd voted for Yair Lapid.  

Earlier, my father-in-law, voting for the first time in Israel and after weeks of thoughtful reflection, told us he'd be voting for Lapid.

Was this a trend in the making?

Turns out the answer was yes.

So here are some basic talking points the morning after.

Big Picture

PM Netanyahu emerges weakened but still Israel's next PM

-        Likud + YB held 42 seats together; now they'll be down to 31. And they've already said they are not going to stay a unified faction.
-        It was an unhappy merger.
-        Keep in mind the Likud Party does not reflect not Bibi (he's more centrist, the party "members" less so)
Centrist party Yesh Atid, new player, emerges.

PM and Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett want “broadest coalition possible.”

Centrist electorate didn't disappear – as Amotz Asa El says, it simply found new home(s)

Israelis are asking for a moderate governing coalition in voting for Yesh Atid and Labor lite

There has been no political re-alignment. No Right-Left shift. The blocs are technically tied.

Remember "right" and "left" don't mean the same things in Israel as in the US.  Shas is "right" theologically, "left" economically and, basically, dovish on security.

We the electorate chose from a losuy menu

So here are the 8AM Jerusalem numbers (without soldiers & prisoners etc.)

NB  Israel does not have winner take all system. The only losers are those who don't cross the electoral threshold – no party has ever ruled alone --- coalition building is next stage – see "what next" below….

Likud-Beytenu 31 [Shalom and Feiglin –most prominent Likud talking heads] [People want-- though don't trust –Bibi, but they neither trust nor want his party]
Yesh Atid: 19
Labor: 15 [lost by pledging not to participate in coalition/dumb] [Labor lite—de-emphasized foreign policy/smart]
NRP /Habayit: 11 (NB captured NRP from old guard] [a return to the Old NRP influence with new NRP values]
Shas: 11 [lost to two Sephardic schismatic parties that didn't cross threshold] [Deri return a bust]
UTJ: 7
Meretz: 6 [picked up from less leftist Labor]
Livni:  6 [the Area 51 vote]
Mofaz: 2
Arabs: 12
The stats in Hebrew as of 8 AM
הליכוד - ישראל ביתנו
מחל
23.25%
832,099
יש עתיד
פה
14.19%
507,879
העבודה
אמת
11.45%
409,685
ש"ס
שס
8.83%
316,151
הבית היהודי
טב
8.76%
313,646
יהדות התורה
ג
5.31%
189,931
התנועה
צפ
5.02%
179,818
מרצ
מרץ
4.59%
164,150
הרשימה הערבית המאוחדת
עם
3.80%
135,830
חד"ש
ו
3.12%
111,685
בל"ד
ד
2.66%
95,312
קדימה
כן
2.09%
74,735
עוצמה לישראל
נץ
1.73%
61,825
עם שלם
ץ
1.20%
43,095
ע

Who is Lapid?

Telegenic celebrity; columnist; son of Tommy; Middle Class Israel; Tel Aviv Icon
“What is good for Israel is not in the possession of the right, and nor is it in the possession of the left. It lies in the possibility of creating here a real and decent center.”

--anti-Haredi

--pro-business


--pragmatic on security

--quintessential middle class

--Yair Lapid called on senior members of the political establishment to do everything in their power to form a government that is as broad as possible in order to face the challenges before Israel.

-- Said Israel was facing an economic crisis that threatened to shatter the middle class, mounting international criticism, and security threats.

--Acknowledged the weight of the responsibility he was now shouldering, and recalled the similar situation faced by his father, Yosef Lapid when the latter was leader of the Shinui party

Who is Shelli Yachimovich? (Labor)

-- Convinced that the election results amount to a resounding vote of no-confidence in Binyamin Netanyahu,

-- Labor would serve as a fighting opposition and would work to topple the government soon   

What did Bennett say last night? 

-- his party had returned to the center of the political map,
-- Israel had “returned to itself.”
-- new home for those in search of a proud, non-servile Zionism

Is there a consensus on FP?
All major Zionist parties – Likud, Yesh Atid & Labor skeptical of the Palestinian leadership’s willingness to negotiate

What Bibi Got Wrong
Tone:  on FP
Columnist Ari Shavit, a for the hard-Left newspaper Haaretz: “This was a lesson in how not to run a campaign.”
Better to ask what he got right—not much.

The Real agenda…
--domestic:  economy; Haredim; oligarchic capitalism
-- $10 billion budget deficit
--Iranian nuclear program
--upheaval in Arab world security threat to Israel
-- unknown unknowns (revolution in Jordan); war with Egypt; reassessment with US and Europe etc etc

Turnout
Turnout was nearly 67 percent, higher than the 65 percent in 2009
3,616,947

What next?
Build a coalition…
Likud + Yesh Atid == obvious
>>> next pieces of the block far more problematic
+add NRP
+add Labor?  -- ideal for pragmatist/though unlikely
+add Haredim – recipe for paralysis
+NB Haredim and settlers have differences
oi vey

Wildcard (science fiction)

Peres asks Lapid to form government – he turns to Labor, Likud (Likud fragments) Kadima and Livni – highly unlikely scenario -- could pull together 48 seats plus 15 Likud moderates led by Bib --

How'd the polls do?
aggregate of early polls gave Likud /Lieberman 42-- closing polls 34
Labor 20:17
NRP12: 13
truth is major polls weren't that far off (even predicted Kadima with 2; Meretz with 6; livni with 7

Media Reaction
Yediot Aharonot:
* A Blow for Netanyahu, A Surge for Lapid
* The Father of the Failure
* A Vote of No-Confidence
Ma’ariv:
* The Right Wing Weakens; A Blow for Netanyahu; the Big Winner Is Yair Lapid
* Protest Vote
* Forget About A “Blocking Majority”
Haaretz:
* Spectacular Achievement for Yair Lapid; Disenchantment in Likud
* Netanyahu Has a Future
* Why Netanyahu Failed
Makor Rishon
* 2013 Elections: Setback for Likud Beiteinu; Major Accomplishment for Lapid
* The message: Social Agenda
* Netanyahu Lost Because of Fear
Israel Hayom
* Surprise for Lapid. Disappointment for Netanyahu
* Possibility for Stability
* The Lessons of the Elections


Stay tuned.

In Israel elections aren't over the morning after the election but the morning after a coalition deal is signed between the various parties….

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