Netanyahu out as PM?: Yair Lapid shocks Likud/Beiteinu in Israeli election

Israel/Palestine
0Q7A8529
Yair Lapid (above) recently attacked Netanyahu at an economic conference using a parody of the bomb chart Netanyahu presented at the United Nations. (Photo: Yotam Ronen /Activestills.org)

The exit polls are coming in on today’s Israeli elections and early results show a severely diminished Likud/Yisrael Beiteinu party. At one time it was thought the Likud/Yisrael Beiteinu merger would solidify Netanyahu’s power, but the opposite appears to the case (looks like another Arthur Finkelstein screw up).

After the votes are counted, the drama will turn to forming the next ruling coalition. Just as a reminder, Netanyahu did not win the 2009 Israeli election, but was able to put together a coalition. As of now it’s unclear who will be asked to form the new government although Netanyahu seems confident having just posted on his Facebook page, “According to the exit polls, it is clear that the citizens of Israel want to me to continue to serve as prime minister, and to form as large as possible government.”

Regardless of today’s outcome, and whatever schadenfreude there is to be enjoyed from watching Netanyahu fall on his face, there will not be a meaningful change in Israel’s policy towards the Palestinians. The big winner today appears to be ex-news anchor Yair Lapid, and while he is commonly referred to as a centrist here is how he campaigned on the peace process:

Lapid said that he does not care what the Arabs want. “What I want is not a new Middle East, but to be rid of them and put a tall fence between us and them.” The important thing, he added, is “to maintain a Jewish majority in the Land of Israel.”

Lapid has said recently that the Left “makes the same mistake again when it negotiates the division of Jerusalem.”

Same sentiment here:

Israel “must at last get rid of the Palestinians and put a fence between us,” he said, adding that “there will be no ‘new Middle East,’ but at least there won’t be three million Palestinians in Israeli territory.”

Lapid said that he had decided to present his foreign policy platform to voters at the Ariel University Center, located in the West Bank settlement Ariel, because “there is no map on which Ariel isn’t a part of the state of Israel.”

From an American political consultant friend: Israeli Channel 2′s exit poll runs as follows:

Likud-Beytenu 31;

Yesh Atid [Yair Lapid's party, which has favored re-starting negotiations with Palestinians] 19;

Labor 17;

Shas 12;

Jewish Home [Naftali Bennett] 12;

Meretz 7;

Hatnua [Tzipi Livni's party] 7;

United Torah Judaism 6;

Hadash 4;

Ra’am Ta’al 3;

Balad 2.

Divided Knesset – 60/61 Right; 59/60 Center Left.

The Likud is in trouble. Leaked exit polls show Likud in jeopardy, Israel’s secular liberal bourgeoise flexing their muscle, and Israel’s Palestinian population voting. If the leaked numbers hold, the second best finisher will be Yair Lapid’s “Yesh Atid Party” (There is a Future Party). Yesh Atid values tolerance and work ethic ethic. Its disdain for the haredi population is open and palpable. It fears Israel’s economic and diplomatic isolation. Bibi has managed to awaken Israel’s Palestinian voters, just as he has manged to offend nearly everyone he meets other than Sheldon Adelson. And so, just as Israel’s collison course with DC, led to the Shamir led Likud government being turned out in 1992, Bibi’s clash with Barack Obama may cost him the Prime Minister’s Office.

On an IMEU briefing, Yousef Munayyer asks two guests if this government is “the last opportunity for the two state solution,” as some international leaders have suggested. Or, “What would it take for the clock to hit midnight, for the discussion of the two-state solution to be a past discussion not a present discussion?”

Diana Buttu says we’ve already hit midnight. “The international community took so long to get to the point to believe in the two state solution that getting them to believe we’re past that point is very difficult…. We’ve been past midnight for years now… [But] the international community is so wedded and so tied to the two state solution”

Yoram Meital, a professor at Ben Gurion University, says the election could be an impetus for Israel and the international community to adopt the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002, and with the guarantee that Hamas would be included in all discussions.

Meantime, Stephen Walt tweets:

Would love to think Bibi’s poor showing in I’s election creates opening for renewed peace process, but it just ain’t so.

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67 Responses

  1. BillM
    January 22, 2013, 3:46 pm

    This is too bad. I had hoped that Netanyahu would win with a small coalition but an oversized right-wing that he couldn’t control, and would continue his destructive path. Now, he’ll be forced to compromise with Yesh Atid and bring them into the government. All the liberal zionists here will crow that the 2-state solution is saved, and Netanyahu will have more cover to continue the colonization of the West Bank.

    • Krauss
      January 22, 2013, 11:32 pm

      The reports are misleading. There are not two even blocks.

      Here is the most important thing the news coverage omits:
      Arab parties will never, ever, join a coalition with a man who says he ‘wants to get rid of them’.

      They have never joined a coalition with any Jewish Zionist party(which is basically all of them) – including even with Yitzhak Rabin who wished ‘Gaza would fall into the see’ as well as saying, in his last speech before the Knesset, that he wishes for the Palestinians disconnected Bantustans, or as he put it, ‘something less than a state’. They were passive supporters of the government but that didn’t help the settlement construction stopping – in fact it increased by a record amount.

      Bibi has about 61 to 62 seats. The opposition has about 50 seats.
      Bibi doesn’t actually have to go with Yair Lapid, but will probably bring him into the coalition for stability’s sake. Nonetheless, there won’t be a center-left government because the Yair Lapid’s of the world will never, ever be in a coalition with an Arab. He’s a Zionist. Zionists just do not do that.

      Before the election, people thought it was going to be 70 seats for the right and 40~ seats for the ‘Jewish-only’ left. Now it is a smaller difference but there is still 20 seats between them.

    • Watcher465
      January 23, 2013, 6:49 am

      What’s a liberal zionist? More to the point, and the point ain’t Netanyaouw, the point is that the jews of the Zionist entity have never wanted a two state solution and never wanted peace with Palestinians. The Jews were never given a state, they were given a homeland by individuals who had no right to take someone elses homeland to do it. And let’s not forget that that jews already had homelands before this and most of them have stayed there but selfserving politicians fuck up everybody elses lives while they pursue their power plays. Zionism is a political movement. Anyone who calls himself a liberal Zionist is either totally naive or a total moron.

  2. Henry Norr
    January 22, 2013, 3:52 pm

    I have to laugh at all those media types (both U.S., Israeli, and other) who have been obsessing for months about Naftali Bennett, when the real winner turns out to be Yair Lapid, to whom they paid virtually no attention!

    • Sin Nombre
      January 22, 2013, 5:32 pm

      Well even though I’m not a “media type” and don’t think I’ve been “obsessing” about Bennett, I have been saying he’s a coming man, and I stick by that. Hard to think of anyone else rising out of nowhere that fast, whose party is already matching the Knesset votes of Shas. I.e., it’s early yet….

    • Annie Robbins
      January 22, 2013, 6:40 pm

      henry, these were the result of the polls and lots of news about ‘apathy’. it could very well be the public (including international) response to the polls and media (about bennett’s rise) was a big factor in stimulating the (apathetic) public to get out and vote. the increase of voters compared to israel’s last election was noticeable. iow, had there not been the “obsession” over Bennett, that high turnout may not have occurred. just saying. israelis read the western press too.

  3. seafoid
    January 22, 2013, 3:53 pm

    “Chemi Shalev@ChemiShalev
    I hear that people in the White House are openly weeping because of Netanyahu’s predicament #israelvotes”

    And Kadima didn’t win a seat. Sharon’s legacy.

    and this is good

    link to ht.ly

  4. Memphis
    January 22, 2013, 4:02 pm

    can anyone educate me on what a potential coalition might look like with these results?

    • seafoid
      January 22, 2013, 4:49 pm

      There will be more settlements. The poor will continue to get shafted.

    • yonah fredman
      January 22, 2013, 5:33 pm

      Memphis- The “natural” coalition will be Likud, Bayit Yehudi (Bennett), Shas and UTJ for 61 seats. These four parties served in the previous coalition with Lieberman’s party, which is now part of Likud.

      The unknown factor is Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party which did not exist before and apparently took votes from both the left wing and the right wing.

      Kadima, which was the largest party last time and disappeared this time gave its votes to Livni (Tnua party), who led Kadima last time and Labor and Meretz, plus also votes to Yesh Atid.

      How to include right wingers (natural coalition partners) and Yesh Atid which is “moderate” in its views towards Palestinians, but anti religious as well, will be the difficult balancing act that Netanyahu will have to perform. Netanyahu’s poor election time performance might make his bargaining power vis a vis the other parties, weaker than usual.

      • Avi_G.
        January 22, 2013, 7:35 pm

        The unknown factor is Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party which did not exist before and apparently took votes from both the left wing and the right wing.

        It’s not so much an unknown factor. Are you familiar with Lapid’s opinions on the occupation and on the charade known as the two-state solution?

        Apparently not.

        Before the elections, Lapid stated that Jerusalem shall forever be united.

        So much for East Jerusalem being a capital for for a future Palestinian state.

        He’s basically Tzipi Livni under a different name.

        Yesh Atid which is “moderate” in its views towards Palestinians

        Thanks for the laugh.

      • seafoid
        January 23, 2013, 4:46 am

        Lapid and his voters hate the Ultra orthodox and they don’t like paying for other scroungers such as Bennett’s people. They work, they pay taxes and they want to be treated fairly. They aren’t religious. Likud left them to shack up with the settlers.

        The zionist civil war will look like Lapid vs Bennett.

  5. yonah fredman
    January 22, 2013, 4:29 pm

    Your headline does not match your numbers. Without Yair Lapid, Netanyahu has 61. He is the next prime minister. Talk about wishful thinking!

    • Annie Robbins
      January 22, 2013, 4:51 pm

      he ‘has’ 61 with all the ‘rtwg’ parties. likud got 31, a lot less than they had before.

      • crone
        January 22, 2013, 5:29 pm

        Blog at Haaretz reports:

        “LIVE BLOG: Exit polls give right-wing 61, center-left 59
        Of the more than 5.65 million Israelis eligible to vote, some 3.6 million cast their ballots, with a turnout of 4 percent more than in the 2009 elections; Likud-Beiteinu gets 31 seats, Lapid scores unexpected 19 seats, Labor wins 17.”

        Results are unexpected and indicate a decrease in Bibi’s popularity imho… I agree with Annie…

      • Annie Robbins
        January 22, 2013, 6:28 pm

        crone, i read debka file this morning before the polls closed and they were freaking out. completely freaking..saying they ‘overheard’ netanyahu saying they were going to call for another election. of course, being debka…nothing they say is reliable. but we cam assume they do not like this. it’s very bad for likud. very.

        link to debka.com

        a grave setback for Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s chances of gathering a majority (61 of 120 Knesset seats)

        iow, all the rtwg together got 61 which means they barely scrapped together enough votes. just barely.

      • MLE
        January 22, 2013, 10:17 pm

        Can Israelis living outside the country cast votes?

      • thankgodimatheist
        January 23, 2013, 1:59 am

        Debka file is fantasy land. They make things up as they go.

      • Shmuel
        January 23, 2013, 2:50 am

        Can Israelis living outside the country cast votes?

        Only diplomats and members of the merchant marine.

      • Citizen
        January 23, 2013, 3:54 am

        @ Annie
        In comparison, Obama barely won the popular vote @ 50.5%.

      • seafoid
        January 23, 2013, 4:47 am

        I don’t think so. I have an Israeli colleague who says you have to be in the country to vote.

    • ritzl
      January 22, 2013, 5:15 pm

      And with a durable coalition, given the risk an early election presents, suggested by the “center/left” gains this go. This group is probably just going to shut up and “cleanse” while the “cleansing” is good, and for as long as it’s good for.

  6. chinese box
    January 22, 2013, 4:40 pm

    I wouldn’t get too excited about this yet. It was a centrist government that orchestrated Cast Lead. Has a centrist or Labour government ever removed WB settlements (other than some isolated “outposts”)?

  7. Woody Tanaka
    January 22, 2013, 4:49 pm

    What does it matter? It’s trading one flavor of Mussolini for another. When a racist pig like Lapid could be considered a “centrist” in a state, that state should shoot itself in the head and do the rest of the world the favor.

    • BillM
      January 22, 2013, 5:06 pm

      Woody, it matters in terms of international support. Bibi (and Lieberman) have been disastrous for Israel’s international support. Obviously, it’s not as bad as habara cry that everyone is against Israel, but they have suffered a real and damaging decline in support. Bibi backed by Lapid would be far more likely to present a moderate face (even while enacting the same policies) and regain some of the international support it lost.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius
        January 22, 2013, 5:29 pm

        Unfortunately, I agree. Any government headed by Lapid would have policies almost identical to those of ‘Bibi’ but will take care to mask them with conciliatory talk of ‘moderation’ and the ‘peace process’. This will give Israel the excuse to continue its policies of land theft and apartheid, while also offering the rest of the world an excuse – and they are so happy to grab any excuse where Israel is concerned – to continue with the myth of the ‘two state solution’. Bibi and the other far-righters exposed the moral decay at the heart of Israel. A so-called ‘left’ or ‘centrist’ party provides a veil of respectability over it. And that’s not good at all.

      • Woody Tanaka
        January 22, 2013, 5:38 pm

        I don’t see how it matters. The reality of it’s international support is that the portion of the world who might actually give a damn about the Paletinian people have no power on the world stage. Of those who have power, China and Russia are apathetic to Palestinian rights and will act in their own interests regardless of who is power in israel. Germany has been emasculated over misplaced guilt. The US and it’s pet, the UK, are bought and paid for by AIPAC and the rest of the lobby, and they sure don’t give a damn who is in power; they’ll dance to whatever tune the apartheid state is playing, no matter who’s running the show.

      • seafoid
        January 22, 2013, 5:56 pm

        I dunno Bill. Bibi is damaged goods. He’s a fraud and that is known across the diplomatic community. He won’t get anywhere as PM.

        He has zero credibility. Burston said it well today. He was busy doing nothing in 2 governments. Achieved nothing.

        The Israeli Jews want more of the same. They like their status quo. Palestinians are behind a wall and behaving .

        Lapid is a TV guy. Say Oprah went into politics. Image over substance. The problem isn’t just Bibi. The people are stupid as well. They think this can go on forever. And the system is painted into a corner. Intellectually Zionism is dead.

        The default Israeli mode is procrastination. They’ll try more of the same. But it’s time to sh$t or get off the peace talks pot and face the consequences.

      • piotr
        January 23, 2013, 1:19 am

        Empirically, there were signs that “expand the settlements, full speed ahead” will lead to a collision with USA, so Lapid is indeed a much safer choice. And it is too early to tell that return to meaningless negotiations and slower expansion of settlements will not suffice to prevent Israel’s isolation for the next few years.

        Procrastination makes most sense from the point of view of Israeli electorate. Why volunteer more concessions than necessary? Best to wait and see. That procrastination leads to lethargy is the fault of USA. In USA the issue is still surrendered to the Jewish Lobby, but as we could see on Hagel nomination, the Lobby is split quite a bit.

        We wil see left/dovish drift in the Lobby, with the commentariat wing falling behind J Street. Will it make a difference? Actually, it may.

      • Bumblebye
        January 22, 2013, 6:31 pm

        I can’t see Netanyahu’s list partners (much harder to the right this go round) wanting to go into coalition with Lapid’s party. They’ll only accept Bennett’s Bunch, Shas and United Torah. Even with a majority of one, that’ll work, since the rest won’t form a united anti-coalition. They could still accelerate the hard rights agenda.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 22, 2013, 6:43 pm

        bumble, last time he lobbied livni and she sadi ‘no’. israeli politics isn’t like ours.

      • Annie Robbins
        January 22, 2013, 7:20 pm

        check this out by Ali Gharib :

        Benjamin Netanyahu appears to have won Israel’s election today, but just barely. Netanyahu’s Likud party, after its merger with Yisrael Beiteinu last year, held some 42 seats; initial—and unofficial—exit polls have them now at just over 30. Those results show the rightist bloc with 61 Knesset seats to the center-left’s 59. The two seat right-left difference belies a gap between the two because of the historical exclusion of Arab parties from ruling coalitions. But that might not stop Shimon Peres—who, as Israel’s president, will ask one party to form a coaltion—from picking the center-left bloc to form a government. Netanyahu, however, already has his eyes set on co-opting a party from the center-left. It may well work.

        link to thedailybeast.com

        and he links here: After Win, Netanyahu Seeks Broad Coalition
        link to online.wsj.com

      • Citizen
        January 22, 2013, 8:08 pm

        @ Annie, yeah, imagine if the US had something other than a de facto two party system.

      • Antidote
        January 23, 2013, 9:39 am

        De facto, the US has a one party system, esp. wrt foreign policy.

      • Woody Tanaka
        January 24, 2013, 10:11 am

        “De facto, the US has a one party system, esp. wrt foreign policy.”

        Yup. And not much better domestically, although there are some key differences.

      • Citizen
        January 24, 2013, 4:36 pm

        @ Woody
        For sure. I don’t see any Democrats even protesting the increasingly severe economic sanctions on Iran, which are flags of war on Iran, inter alia direct cutting off of medical supplies and services to average Iranians, for starters. The main two US political parties always agree on total support for Israel, both diplomatically and by military force. Nobody worried about the US economy and increasing poverty of average Americans is saying we should cut off aid to Israel; instead Israel is getting more aid. Ron Paul’s son is reduced to a joke when he simply wants to include Israel when he says we an’t afford foreign aid at this time.

  8. Chu
    January 22, 2013, 5:13 pm

    One more political party to the fray and they could symbolize the 12 tribes of Judah.

    • seafoid
      January 22, 2013, 6:14 pm

      There is no political stability in Israel. Look at all the parties and how they rise then crash and burn. Kadima didn’t even make it this time.
      Very fickle electorate.

      Lapid could be Obama ! Slick PR will tend to draw votes.

    • Bumblebye
      January 22, 2013, 6:17 pm

      No no Chu!
      They’ve gotta have at least one “lost” tribe, the anti-Zionists like Phil & Co!
      The number’s just right. :)

      (edit: anyhow, there’s probably several parties that didn’t win any seats)

      • Chu
        January 22, 2013, 6:20 pm

        and where’s the thirteenth tribe at?

      • Bumblebye
        January 22, 2013, 7:21 pm

        “Lost” of course!
        On the cutting room floor.
        (Is that series still running?)

  9. ToivoS
    January 22, 2013, 6:04 pm

    We’ve been past midnight for years now… [But] the international community is so wedded and so tied to the two state solution”

    This has been puzzling for sure. I think it is a case of diplomatic lethargy. If a country admitted that the two state solution was dead then they would have to do something about the problem of annexation and apartheid. Formulating new policy takes work. It would also entail fierce political struggle, especially in Europe. Diplomats always want to avoid that possibility.

    • Woody Tanaka
      January 22, 2013, 6:31 pm

      “This has been puzzling for sure. I think it is a case of diplomatic lethargy.”

      I disagree. It’s in israel’s interst that the world persue the unattainable (2 states, unattainable because israel has no interest in agreeing to it), while israel cleans the bones of the land in the West Bank. The 2 state farce is still alive because israel has figured out that dangling it out there will let it steal anything it wants.

      • ToivoS
        January 22, 2013, 7:14 pm

        Actually we don’t disagree. You are describing Israel actions. motivations and perceived interests and I was talking mostly about European interests.

        Unless, you are maintaining that Europeans really support Israelis plans to annex WB and confine Palestinians to concentration camps. Then we disagree.

      • Citizen
        January 24, 2013, 4:47 pm

        @ ToivoS

        It does not matter if Europeans don’t really support Israel’s de facto annex of WB & Palestinians in concentration camps, their lack of effective actions against this, do so.

      • Sibiriak
        January 22, 2013, 9:43 pm

        Woody Tanaka:

        (2 states, unattainable because israel has no interest in agreeing to it)

        I don’t think Israel’s current interest in agreement to a settlement plan should be the measure of its attainability.

        By that measure, a 1SS would be infinitely more unattainable.

        No matter what, Israel will have to be forced into a settlement against its will and perceived interests.

      • Woody Tanaka
        January 23, 2013, 10:32 am

        I understand your point, but my belief is that the israelis will never agree to the 2ss, and will continue to hold the Palestinians in their state of bondage unless their only alternative is to impliment the South Africa Option of 1ss.

      • Citizen
        January 24, 2013, 4:56 pm

        No question in my mind that Israel (America’s Jewish Establishment–Israel as a nation state cannot be separated from Jews, everywhere, according to Israeli leaders and institutions). Israel will not grabbing land unless the US threatens to cut off its financial & diplomatic aid. Israel is working hard to replace its host America with China, or even India–but that’s a stretch since China and India have no anti-semetic history Israel can milk to thrive off gentiles with a conscience Israel itself does not have, witnees the Palestinian plight (and lack of awareness it the USA, home of free speech).

  10. pabelmont
    January 22, 2013, 6:04 pm

    Israel has lots of parties, a few differences (not many from the Palestinian POV). I sometimes think the USA has only one party, but two flavors, like two brands of the same Proctor and Gamble tooth-paste, differing only in things the BIG-MONEY doesn’t care about — such as abortion, gay-rights, immigration. Obama often seems to promise a real division, and then disappoints. We’ll see.

  11. Avi_G.
    January 22, 2013, 7:19 pm

    Everyone seems to be overlooking one of the main reasons for this minor shift. The reason Netanyahu’s party didn’t get as many votes as he would have liked is because of domestic economic issues. That’s what the tent protests in Tel-Aviv were all about in 2011. It’s the economy.

    The Israeli so-called middle class didn’t like Netanyahu’s free market economics and the reduction in social programs. That was a major factor in this election. The Palestinians, not so much a factor. The tent protests indicated as much as the average Israeli couldn’t care less about matters related to the occupation, or Palestinian rights.

    And that is where Lapid’s party stepped in and filled the gap as a party that will restore economic equality and reduce the prices of commodities.

    Incidentally, the poster Lapid is holding up in the photo reads:

    The Middle Class is Exploding

    Tax Increase on Middle Class.

    Housing Prices: 37%

    Gas Prices: 38%

    Water Prices: 115%

    Electricity Prices: 23%

    But the mainstream pro-Israel media in the West is marketing this election win by Lapid’s party as a win for the moderate left, for sanity. It’s false.

    • Jethro
      January 22, 2013, 7:40 pm

      Yup. Jerry Haber says it best:

      “Don’t believe the spin you will hear that the center-left did really well. The Palestinian issue was not on the ballot; the majority of the country voted on economic and social issues. Most of the Israeli public could care less about peace and could care less about the Palestinians. And why should they? There is no terrorism, and they don’t even see the Palestinians who are behind walls or living in Gaza.”

      • Citizen
        January 22, 2013, 8:19 pm

        @ Jethro
        And as Jewish Israelis generally go, so goes the USA masses even more so, as befitting the respective geography; neither gives a rat’s ass about civil rights for muslims or as they are better known, “jew-hating terrorists.” Zionism is embedded in the system. Only the body politic’s wracking death cough, may eventually expel it. Then it will be too late, for everyone. Oh to be a historian fly on the wall half a century from now.

      • seafoid
        January 23, 2013, 4:55 am

        I think the Yesh Lapid vs the Haredim clash will be fascinating.
        A lot of schmuck taxpayers are probably sick of paying for the messianic fantasies.

        “In Dreams Begin Responsibility”, Delmore Shwartz.

        But messianic bots don’t do responsibility, do they? They just do dreams and expect the secular middle class to suck it up. Someone else always pays.

  12. James Canning
    January 22, 2013, 7:53 pm

    With Aipac still largely in control of the US Congress, Obama would not have an easy time forcing Israel out of the West Bank if this was his highest objective in American foreign policy.

  13. piotr
    January 22, 2013, 7:54 pm

    Given very incremental differences between Likud, Yesh Atid and Jewish Home, there should definitely be a coalition involving all three. We will see continuing expansion of settlements and policies to “immiserate Palestinians”. And no serious peace process.

    The question with no certain answer is if the West, lead by USA, UK, France etc. will keep limit negative reactions to “notes of concern” or not. It partly depends on the ability of the governments not to notice what is going on. The hope was that actions are easier to overlook (if you are so inclined, of course) and frank declarations.

    With Lapid or without Lapid, it will remain the same government that had essencially the same policies with Labor and without. The only politically interesting issue is if religious parties will be excluded or not, but these issues do not make a difference for what we care about here.

  14. MRW
    January 22, 2013, 8:29 pm

    Avi_G and Jethro make more sense to me. The rest is wishful-thinking.

  15. David Doppler
    January 22, 2013, 9:06 pm

    To me, the so-called life & death Iran threat existential crisis of the Neocons is being replaced by a political/ideological existential crisis – what does it mean to be Israeli in the time of Obama? Bennett is a more articulate far-right winger, who gained some votes, Beiteinu disappeared into Likud, which lost seats, this is the first I ever heard of Yair Lapid, who is the surprise gainer, supposedly for the center-left. You may be right that it doesn’t mean anything positive for ending Palestinian suffering, but I’m not so sure. The Obama-Hagel vision does lead toward peace, and they’ve just shown that the old AIPAC/Neocon magic no longer works to delude the US. What does it mean when your hidden policies are now baking in the Noon day sun? No one knows how to lead the whole country when Obama-Hagel are speaking realism and it no longer works to distract everyone by fear of Iran or false smears of Anti-Semitism. When the US and international press are starting to actually report on what your doing and why? When films showing your bad behavior are being nominated for awards? Maybe you have to face reality, atone for your sins, make peace, and move on with your life. Dump Likud Beiteinu. Save Israel. Save the Middle East. Save America.

    • piotr
      January 23, 2013, 1:46 am

      ” The Obama-Hagel vision does lead toward peace…”

      to the degree that they have a vision. At the moment, they are as vague as Lapid. Vagueness is an improvement over right wing extremism, but as a constructive force it has to move beyond that.

      The best what I can see is that this is a time when activism can make a difference. Relying on our vague leaders to do the right things is futile, but they may yet adopt new ideas when presented. Hagel nomination could be a harbinger: Obama left it to float, and it did indeed float!

  16. piotr
    January 22, 2013, 11:35 pm

    As I wrote in the previous comment, the preliminary exit polls describe the change that in absolute terms is the restoration of the status quo right after the last elections, with Lapid instead of Barak. What is a bit heart warming though is that the voters chose vapidity over “let’s be more Jewish than any Jew ever before”, the latest innovations of Likud and derivatives (Jewish Home is a Likud derivative like Israel Beitenu). The combined seats of Jewish Home and Likud Beitenu are by 6-7 less than their ancestral parties from the previous Knesset.

    This means that the “rightwing slide” of the Israeli Jewish public is not “inexorable” . In particular, neocons are out of touch even in Israel.

  17. yourstruly
    January 23, 2013, 12:49 am

    no map in which areal isn’t a part of the state of israel?

    whose days are numbered?

    justice for palestine?

    already in progress?

    based on?

    today’s election in israel?

    plus the november election in the u.s. of a.?

    something about a society that’s of, for & by the people?

    & by popular demand?

    • yourstruly
      January 23, 2013, 1:09 am

      in the above elections?

      fear of sudden violent death?

      the ultimate decider?

      those who say stay the course?

      despite perpetual wars, global warming & such?

      justice for palestine?

      & in the knick of time?

  18. Citizen
    January 23, 2013, 4:33 am

    Obama/Hagel should subtly encourage EU countries to increasingly protest the settlements, and ditto re growth of BDS. He may already be doing that on the sly. He’s already stated publicly that the expanding settlements impede the start of direct negotiations for peace and work against Israel’s best interests. It would also help if the US would take a silent back seat next time the settlement issue is brought up in the UN GA or UN SC. For starters. Too he could subtly encourage the growth of talk wrt cutting foreign aid–as Rand Paul has done, explicitly including Israel, again “for its own good.”

    Israelis are tuned into the Obama v Bibi stuff and this has had some impact on the elections. See link to huffingtonpost.com

    • MHughes976
      January 27, 2013, 3:49 pm

      It being known all round that Netanyahu and Obama dislike each other Obama’s electorate backed him clearly and Netanyahu’s electorate expressed caution. So Citizen’s right that Obama has a moment in which the initiative is his. I think he could be bolder than Citizen envisages. If he produced a Treaty (the word Bush used to use) for a 2ss, following something like the arrangements that have been discussed for so long, written in full detail so that there could be no more insincere negotiations and called for a referendum on both sides it would be hard for anyone from Likud Beteinu to Hamas to refuse and there’s a chance that there would be overwhelming majorities on both sides. Not that I think Obama would do anything that dramatic: he’s a man of quiet negotiation if ever there was one. And of course the referendum could go wrong on either or both sides – something like that happened in Cyprus a few years ago. And the 2ss would be an unstable stopgap not a real solution, though perhaps a step forward.

  19. Citizen
    January 23, 2013, 6:44 am

    Ali Abunimah @AliAbunimah
    Spot the difference between two versions of Israel’s official elections website | @intifada electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abun… #Israelvotes

    22 Jan
    Hebrew but not Arabic version of official election website shows West Bank, Gaza as part of “Israel”
    Spot the difference between two versions of Israel’s official elections website.

  20. gazacalling
    January 25, 2013, 12:51 pm

    No, it doesn’t open up the peace process.

    But I like the focus on economic issues. De-emphasizing the Palestinians in an election seems to me to be a positive development.

    Here’s why: being friends with your neighbors is the best possible economic policy. You don’t have to waste tons of resources on security. You can trade with your neighbors.

    Right now you can’t win an election in Israel by saying you want to be friends with the Palestinians. That’s sad but true. So the next best thing is to de-emphasize it and focus on an area where ultimately the end game is friendship.

  21. thetumta
    January 25, 2013, 7:26 pm

    I don’t care about Israeli elections, Hell I don’t care about the beauty pageants we hold here every so often.

    The useless “Times Union” in Albany, NY actually published a letter to the Editor today that quoted Washington’s farewell address on the dangers of foreign entanglements. Advertising revenue must have made a major shift lately!

    Haven’t seen anything like this here in decades.

    Hej! Tumta

  22. Binyamin in Orangeburg
    January 27, 2013, 1:55 pm

    May I respectfully suggest that more important than Mr. Lapid’s election to the Knesset, was Moshe Feiglin’s.

    Feiglin is a reincarnation of Rabbi Meir Kahane. But whereas Kahane had to create his own party to run for, and win a seat in, the Knesset, and both he and his party were eventually expelled from the Knesset, Feiglin ran on the Likud ticket and thus will never be expelled.

    When the Likud allowed a Kahanist to set up a faction inside itself, it made a dramatic turn away from the anti-racist consensus that heretofore had predominated. Menachem Begin (and Jabotinsky) at least claimed to be anti-racist. Feiglin makes no such claim.

    That Feiglin now sits within the ruling party’s Knesset bloc, and heads a faction that won 26% of the Likud membership’s vote in an internal party leadership vote, speaks volumes about how far Kahanism has come in recent years.

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