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Israelis go to the polls today–and nobody knows who will win (Updated)

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Update: The exit polls for Israel’s elections started rolling in at around 4:00 PM EST (10:00 PM Israeli time.) The results show an extremely tight race, though it looks like Benjamin Netanyahu did better than expected. Many close observers of the elections are predicting that Netanyahu will eke out a win, and remain Israel’s prime minister. Here’s an average of three of the main exit polls, compiled by Haaretz:

Original post: Millions of Israelis head to the polls today to elect a new Knesset, which will determine who the next prime minister is. Nobody knows which party will gain the most seats, or which party will have the strength to form a coalition.

It is a toss-up at this point, which is why Netanyahu is turning up his racist appeals.

But the high-level wrangling may not mean much for Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza–most of them believe it doesn’t really matter who the next Israeli leader is, and that the occupation will continue to grind on. What the elections will have an impact on is the future of the “peace process,” settlement building, and Israeli economic policy.

The latest polls show the Zionist Union, the joint ticket of Tzipi Livni and the Labor Party’s Issac Herzog, pulling ahead of Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party by a few seats. KnessetJeremy.com, a website tracking different Israeli polls, has compiled numbers from 16 polls. The website predicts that the Zionist Union will win 20 Knesset seats, with Netanyahu winning 18. Israeli polls are notoriously unreliable though–so be prepared for election day surprises.

As +972 Magazine’s Noam Sheizaf points out, the election winner will likely not take a radically different approach to the Palestinian question. The conventional wisdom is that the Zionist Union will present a better face to the world and will engage in negotiations with the Palestinian Authority. But there is widespread–and justified–skepticism about future peace talks. The Zionist Union’s plan for a Palestinian state, as British journalist Ben White shows, is in keeping with the Labor Party’s long-time position. The party platform says they would annex the “settlement blocs,” major Israeli settlements that impede Palestinian contiguity; keep Jerusalem as Israel’s “undivided” capital; and prevent Palestinian refugees from returning to the villages and towns they were driven out of in 1948. 

Herzog is not in the perfect place to form the next government, even if his party wins. He may get a first shot at forming a government. His likely coalition is with parties in the center and the Zionist left, like Meretz (if they pass the 3.5% threshold required to win Knesset seats) and Yesh Atid. But his likely partners would only get him to 42 seats, if the polls are to be believed. 

Netanyahu, on the other hand, has a much more stable path to a coalition. He would rely on right-wing partners which would get him to 43 seats. But the religious parties are more likely to sit with Netanyahu than Herzog, boosting Netanyahu’s seat total. And then there’s the new party Kulanu–who they pick to side with could be decisive.

If the election is very close, though, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin may ask Netanyahu and Herzog to form a unity government. That’s something Netanyahu is desperately trying to avoid–which is why today, Netanyahu made nakedly racist appeals to Israelis.

“The right-wing government is in danger. Arab voters are going en masse to the polls. Left-wing NGOs are bringing them on buses,” the prime minister warned. Netanyahu also made waves when he explicitly said that he will never allow a Palestinian state. The Israeli leader has also vowed to increase settlement building if he wins, a clear attempt at influencing the settler vote.

Alex Kane

Alex Kane is a freelance journalist who focuses on Israel/Palestine and civil liberties. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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76 Responses

  1. just on March 17, 2015, 10:22 am

    I fervently hope that The Joint List does very, very well.

    It is the only hope on this Israel election day that is on the horizon in the OPT, imho.

    The other hope is in the US, with a newly- awakened government, congress, and people. Israel has LIED over and over and over again. In order for peace, justice, and freedom to happen the US and the west must sanction Israel until and unless peace happens, and fast.

    PS~ they also need to be held accountable for their daily breaking of the ‘ceasefire’, etc.

    No more $$$ nor wmds nor UN veto, either.

    • a blah chick on March 17, 2015, 10:34 am

      If they can get a significant number of seats they just might be able to throw an itsy bitsy wrench in the whole racist machinery of legislature.

      Also this is ot but what is it with the IDF and their female soldiers’ hair? Letting it hang like that looks messy and unprofessional. Just a observation from a crotchety old army vet.

      • amigo on March 17, 2015, 2:15 pm

        “Also this is ot but what is it with the IDF and their female soldiers’ hair? -” ABC

        She looks about 15 or 16 years old .Should she even be voting??.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius on March 17, 2015, 2:48 pm

        More to the point: should she be serving in an occupation army? Not that women actually do much in said army, other than pose for girly pics and accept gifts from Garnier. All PR, like so much about the Zionist entity. So, the flowing locks don’t matter – it’s not like these girls will be battling on the ‘front line’, or what passes for it in Israeli massacres.

        And I think you’re being generous with her age. She looks about 12 to me.

      • amigo on March 17, 2015, 3:06 pm

        “More to the point: should she be serving in an occupation army? ” MDM

        I was being ironic MDM.

        “And I think you’re being generous with her age. She looks about 12 to me.” MDM

        I thought so too but as you say I was being generous .It was to avoid being accused of A/S in suggesting Israel dresses it children in uniforms and sends them to war.Only Palestinians do that –right.

  2. Denis on March 17, 2015, 10:25 am

    I’m having some heartburn over the headline. ” — and nobody knows who will win” implies that somebody should know who will win.

    Implying that somebody should know who will win further implies a rigged election.

    This is not Florida.

  3. Krauss on March 17, 2015, 10:45 am

    Of course we know who will win. C’mon.

    http://images.huffingtonpost.com/2015-03-16-1426510743-1636384-IsraelPollAverages.png

    Remember, both Yesh Atid & Labor has ruled out sitting with Arabs.

  4. Ira Glunts on March 17, 2015, 12:04 pm

    https://youtu.be/ERc6hi_F9LA
    This is the video of Netanyahu’s racist provocative remarks today with English subtitles. The video was posted on his Facebook page. Notice the comparison between what “they” have (the buses that are transporting Arab voters to the polls) and what “we” have (the ability to call up the IDF reserves.)

    “Arab voters are coming out in droves to the polls,” is better translated as “Arab voters are moving in droves to the polls.” The word “moving” has a military and threatening connotation. H/T to Dena Shunra for this point.

  5. seafoid on March 17, 2015, 1:26 pm

    Who cares who wins this sham democratic election? It’s not going to change anything. I have read far too many Freedland Israeli election op eds to care about this one.
    Only BDS can change Israel for the better.

    • catalan on March 17, 2015, 1:30 pm

      Only BDS can change Israel for the better – seafoid
      Just like eternal sanctions against Russia will make it relinquish Crimea. Not.

      • seafoid on March 17, 2015, 2:03 pm

        Israel is softer than Russia. Yossi likes his Apple products. Ivan doesn’t care.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RREJSgG42kw

      • catalan on March 17, 2015, 2:40 pm

        Israel is softer than Russia. Yossi likes his Apple products. Ivan doesn’t care. – Seafoid
        And Hassan from Haifa? Whose benefits will be cut first when the economy tanks?

      • just on March 17, 2015, 3:32 pm

        BDS will work.

        Especially when the gravy train rolls up the welcome mat in the form of US/Western sanctions.

        Easy to “see” you, catalan. Thanks for removing any doubt.

      • catalan on March 17, 2015, 3:51 pm

        Easy to “see” you, catalan. Thanks for removing any doubt. – Just
        Not sure what is there to see. Boycotts and sanctions never work. Period. The way forward is openness, communication, trade, and learning. I have done my part. I speak 6 languages and have lived in all sorts of places. Known poverty. Been illegal.

      • seafoid on March 17, 2015, 4:50 pm

        Jews have 2x more income in Israel than Untermenschen, Catalan, so far further to fall.
        BDS is really going to hurt.

      • catalan on March 17, 2015, 4:59 pm

        I am not sure Seafoid. I have always been squeezed and lived among the squeezed. I am living the affluence here in the States but inside I will aways be a 7 year old boy with boogers waiting in line in the cold for the once a year oranges. It doesn’t work like that. People don’t change their ways under pressure. That’s hard for Westerners to understand. Most Israelis are from Eastern Europe and the Middle East. They dance to a different tune, notwithstanding their iPhones.

      • Kris on March 17, 2015, 7:15 pm

        @catalan: “Boycotts and sanctions never work. Period.”

        Google is your friend, catalan. You should try it.

        Even without using google, I can think of these boycotts that “worked:” Montgomery bus boycott, the United Farm Workers boycott, the BDS movement against apartheid South Africa, and the Nestle boycott.

      • just on March 17, 2015, 7:24 pm

        Well, then I guess “I’ve done my part”, too. I speak more than a few languages, have traveled all over and lived in different countries, been poor, but have never been illegal.

        I don’t consider that I’m done doing my part, catalan. None of that alleviates the agony of the Palestinian people. It does help me understand others who suffer, though. It also makes it rather easy to recognize the Racist/Colonialist/Oppressors/Occupiers/Criminals/Terrorists of Israel.

      • catalan on March 17, 2015, 7:25 pm

        Google is your friend, catalan. You should try it. Kris
        Let me qualify – I am talking about boycotts against countries. Like that against Cuba.
        In the case of South Africa, it is my opinion, both from what I have learned and from common sense, that the boycott probably slowed down the changes there instead of stimulating them. The white South Africans were not that bothered by it. There were internal problems there that led to the overthrow of the government.
        I can be wrong, but so far the sanctions are hardening the Israelis and not softening them.
        Also, spare the patronizing tone. It does not suit you.

      • piotr on March 17, 2015, 7:54 pm

        “Israel is softer than Russia”.

        I agree. My theory is that some nations have mentality of “small nations”, and some do not. A big nation is more oblivious to what other nations think. I would put in that category USA (most oblivious), China, Russia, India and Iran. Interdependency in Europe makes UK, France and Germany less oblivious. Israel is a special case, as long as they feel sure of American support they may be oblivious to what other nations think, and the rhetoric of the National Camp is definitely like that, but I do not see sincerity in those slogans. And it is not like Russia and USA that you can get more than 80% accepting that Idea (we do not care what they think). Otherwise, what sense it would make for Netanyahu to show before the election how influential he is in D.C.

        The grand strategy as described by people like Glick is to realize that in the long run, Israeli project runs counter to liberal values, sissy as they are, as it is a supremacist colonialist project. Their solution is to enter a stable alliance with political forces that despise liberal values and LIKE colonialism and supremacism, like Senator Cotton. From that point of view, liberalism is spent political force, so latching the fortune to the bandwagon of the right is a win-win: your allies do not badger you to “improve”, plus they are the winning team.

        As GOP got both chambers of Congress and has a good shot at the clean sweep in 2016, this may seem to be a brilliant strategy. This is were activism like Mondoweiss becomes more crucial than before. The notion of “mainstream” in USA is dynamic, and frank support for colonialism and supremacism is declining. In actuality, it was feeble for a while, but the public could remain blissfully unaware of the nature of Israel, “amazingly diverse democracy” etc. As various “traditional values” wane, GOP keeps finding new wedge issues and quietly ignores the old ones; not so long time ago opposition to gay marriage gave GOP a number of political victories on state level, and right now this issue is a clear winner in Alabama and few other places. It is quite amazing how GOP could get considerable political capital on the opposition to the health care reform, I predict that this will last only few years. So now Senator Cotton loves Israel, but what will happen in few years?

        Importantly, the issue of gay marriage was an extremist issue, “outside the mainstream”. Luckily, USA is not like China or Russia, groups outside the mainstream influence what becomes “popular common sense”. Even in China carping about the environment that came from the outside of the ruling elite influences the government.

        Whoever will form the government in Israel, the word “Likudnik” regained its extremist luster. Netanyahu, in a brilliant maneuver, rescued Kahanists from the sinking ship of Yachad and robbed Jewish Home of several seats, the newest wave of relative moderates left, the concept that this is a “centrist movement” got buried. In USA, Zionist extremists got into a serious spat with non-extremists over Iran (et tu, Schumer?). I see it as the end of AIPAC domination “on both sides of the aisle” and in the “mainstream media”.

        Sorry for the rambling. My summary is that as Zionist (and American) right is progressively more insane, the establishment becomes split on the issue of Israel, and thus open to new ideas. But the establishment will not generate these ideas, BDS movement is as important as before. Personally, I would hope to keep the dispute of 2 State versus 1 State to the minimum, or at least, to keep it at a high level of civility.

      • just on March 17, 2015, 8:23 pm

        Thanks for that superb comment, piotr. You can ‘ramble’ anytime.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius on March 18, 2015, 4:49 am

        ”I can be wrong, but so far the sanctions are hardening the Israelis and not softening them.”

        You most definitely are wrong. Firstly, there are no sanctions against Israel, though there should be. Just a grassroots BDS campaign which thus far has only scratched the surface.

        Secondly, your logic betrays the usual libzio nonsense about how Israelis are so sensitive that we have to pussyfoot around them…. or else we might ‘harden’ them. Please. Israelis have had several years of almost cost free occupation. Only a handful of civilians have died as a result of the resistance in the past several years. The occupation had so little impact on your average Yossi’s life that it was barely even an issue in the elections. And how did Israelis respond to this unprecedented ‘peace’? By imposing a sadistic siege on Gaza, bombing it every 2 years, and going even futher to the extreme racist right.

        And you’re worried that a few consumer boycotts might ‘harden’ these poor dolls? No. It’s the non stop mollycoddlling of Israel, this idea that you can destroy the lives of millions and still not pay a price, which has ‘hardened’ Israelis. They’ve been pandered to quite enough, I reckon. Time for something new.

      • annie on March 18, 2015, 5:18 am

        excellent comment piotr. i especially like: Netanyahu, in a brilliant maneuver, rescued Kahanists from the sinking ship of Yachad

        !!!!

        cat, I will aways be a 7 year old boy with boogers waiting in line in the cold for the once a year oranges….so far the sanctions are hardening the Israelis ….spare the patronizing tone. It does not suit you.

        yada yada yada, as if “softening” israelis will bring an end to their colonialism, ethnic cleansing and war crimes.

        just, what doubt? phff. just another hasbrat.

      • Mooser on March 18, 2015, 12:44 pm

        “phff. just another hasbrat.”

        ‘His English is too good, I say,
        Which clearly indicates that he is foreign.
        Whereas others are instructed in their native language
        English people aren’t.
        And although he may have studied with an expert
        Di’lectician and grammarian, I can tell that he was born
        Bulgarian!
        Not only Bulgarian, but of royal blood,
        he is a prince!’

    • just on March 17, 2015, 1:31 pm

      US/international sanctions need to be imposed.

      • Citizen on March 18, 2015, 4:54 am

        @ just
        I don’t see any mainstream politician on the horizon who would take up the cause of imposing sanctions on Israel, do you? BDS proponents are given short shift in the main media, a blip clip now and then, tenor of “a few kooks interrupted…”

      • just on March 18, 2015, 1:08 pm

        Perhaps not yet… I will be lobbying relentlessly, though. Imagine if the people rose up in unison~ AIPAC would have no chance against an informed electorate!

        If sanctions are/were ‘good enough’ for Iran, Russia, Cuba, Iraq, etc. The US needs to rid itself of its double standard and rank hypocrisy.

  6. just on March 17, 2015, 2:36 pm

    It appears to me that the ballots have no translation in Arabic nor English… nor French, Danish, Dutch, etc.

    anybody know?

  7. JLewisDickerson on March 17, 2015, 3:01 pm

    RE: ‘Israelis go to the polls today–and nobody knows who will win”

    MY COMMENT: I’m pulling for Benjamin Netanyahu to be reelected because when he addressed the U.S. Congress in May 2011 he said he was willing to make “painful concessions” in order to achieve a peace agreement with the Palestinians. Certainly he would not have lied to the U.S. Congress. Not to the U.S. Congress! ! !

    “Netanyahu: Israel Ready To Make Painful Concessions; Palestinians Must, Too”, NPR, May 24, 2011 – http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2011/06/01/136610951/u-s-israel-relations-in-spotlight-as-netanyahu-addresses-congress

    “Bibi’s hand is ‘outstretched’, alright”, by Larry Derfner, 972mag.com, October 11, 2011 – http://972mag.com/bibis-hand-is-outstretched-alright/24964/

    What ‘painful concessions’ are left for Palestinians to make? ~ By Willem Aldershoff and Jaap Hamburger, +972 Blog, March 6, 2014 – http://972mag.com/what-painful-concessions-are-left-for-palestinians-to-make/87981/

    “Inside the talks’ failure: US officials open up”, By Nahum Barnea, YnetNews.com, May 2, 2014 – http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4515821,00.html

  8. catalan on March 17, 2015, 5:32 pm

    Just for the record, I joined because of Seafoid. He has passion but no hatred. This is practically unheard of. A member of the ruling caste of northwest Europe/north America that actually knows of a world beyond.

    • Mooser on March 17, 2015, 7:53 pm

      ” A member of the ruling caste of northwest Europe/north America that actually knows of a world beyond.”

      Don’t let his informality fool you, “catalan”, he’s no hidalgo, but you should call him Duke Seafoid until he tells you it’s all right.

      • seafoid on March 18, 2015, 12:01 am

        Israel could never be as smooth as this

      • Mooser on March 18, 2015, 12:31 pm

        Duke Seafoid, if I may take an unwarranted liberty, I’d like to say that for “a member of the ruling caste of northwest Europe/north America” you are really an all-right guy. You are not only aware of a wider world, you know where it’s at! And most importantly, where the action is!

    • ziusudra on March 18, 2015, 4:48 am

      Greetings catalan,
      Very good work, & in good company with just, mooser, piotr & seafoid.
      ziusudra

  9. joer on March 17, 2015, 5:54 pm

    Here is what this election means for the Palestinians: If Bibi wins, the current reign of terror and intimidation against the Palestinians will continue, probably reinvigorated. On the bright side, the kooks he has in his government will continue to keep this issue in the news because they keep saying things like how they should behead their enemies. On the other hand, if Herzog wins , there will be a softening of rhetoric, perhaps a minor change of tactics-perhaps allowing a few more morsels of food into Gaza-or allowing a few more privileges to selected Arabs(which would aid dividing and conquering Palestine as well as sanitizing their image). This softer image will appease liberals and cause Palestine to drop off the world’s radar-and a slow silent strangulation will continue until there are a few colonies of cheap laborers left in historic Palestine.

    It is a tough choice…actually, one not worth making.

    • Kathleen on March 17, 2015, 9:37 pm

      Depressing to hear about. Really depressing for the Palestinians to live and die with.

  10. Nevada Ned on March 17, 2015, 6:15 pm

    What is surprising – to me at least – is how fragmented the Israeli electorate is. Getting 20 seats in the Knesset (out of 120) is only 17% of the vote. No party has 40% or even close to it. Let alone 50%.

  11. alfa on March 17, 2015, 7:34 pm

    Bobo will now claim he has a ‘democratic’ mandate to prevent a Palestinian State blaa blaa, and democratically proclaimed the Leader of the Jewish Nation. Good, he’s continuing his delegitimizing of the Zionist state and expose the Lobby. We still have Bobo to kick around, the poster boy of ziofascism.

  12. David Doppler on March 17, 2015, 7:41 pm

    So reading the exit polls, and Netanyahu’s premature victory celebration, I’m struck by Moshe Kahlon’s king-maker status. He’s got 8 votes, and, where he goes, so goes the government. I don’t know him well enough to say conclusively, but I do know he has made social issues his main program, and left Likud for Netanyahu’s failure to keep promises on this front. His social and cultural roots are in Likud, but Netanyahu has made Likud all about racism and fear-mongering, Neocon warmongering. So I will be disappointed if he re-unites with Netanyahu, not only because I’m very tired of him, but because the Netanyahu-Neocon trajectory will lead to rapidly expanding BDS, de-legitimization within the international community, and greater unrest along the Jewish-Arab fault line. It is hard to achieve social justice while the IDF is “mowing the grass,” and the world, and the Arab-Israelis and Palestinians are distracted by your government’s ongoing war crimes.

  13. Linda J on March 17, 2015, 8:08 pm

    and we know who will lose — everyone who is not Jewish living in Israel.

  14. catalan on March 17, 2015, 8:27 pm

    Duke Seafoid until he tells you it’s all right. Mooser
    He kind of is for a bulgarian Jew. Northern Europeans all feel like dukes to us. It’s hard to explain.

    • seafoid on March 18, 2015, 12:13 am

      Plámás won’t get you anywhere, habibi
      The Zionist béal bocht is nonsense.

      • just on March 18, 2015, 8:22 am

        +1! Well said, seafoid.

        (clever, too!)

    • catalan on March 18, 2015, 12:25 am

      It wasn’t flattery. It’s just that Mooser does not understand the European caste system, where England and Germany are the Brahmans and Bulgaria is the peasants. And a Jew in Bulgaria, that’s just pathetic. I just can’t compare with an Irishman from England. Respect for my betters is ingrained from day one.
      But now I am in the other promised land, the one I always loved.

      • Mooser on March 18, 2015, 2:05 pm

        “But now I am in the other promised land, the one I always loved.”

        Well, in this promised land, we have a very common saying, which goes like this “Yeah. Whatever, dude.” I think you will hear it a lot.

      • catalan on March 18, 2015, 2:39 pm

        Yeah. Whatever, dude.” I think you will hear it a lot. -”
        I do. That’s how I became a loathed “one-percenter”. You won’t believe the stimulating power of contempt. Eye of the outsider and all that.

  15. piotr on March 17, 2015, 9:27 pm

    Frankly, I root for Herzog only because I would like Netanyahu, Bennet and their squad of Valkyrien to by unhappy (and Adelson, Cristol and many other folks I would rather see in depressive mood rather than manic). Every poll at this moment shows Kahlon as a kingmaker. So what will he make?

    Sign of hope: Miri Regev from the right wing Valkyrien declared that Kahlon is a traitor. Does she know something, or just shoots her mouth?

    PS. There are constructive reason to wish that Herzog would make some meaningful concession to Israeli Arabs and Palestinian under the occupation, and economic policies beneficial to the middle class, allow for the civil marriage etc. etc. and who knows … refrain from periodic wars and make peace? But my heart is full of hope of schadenfreude.

  16. seafoid on March 18, 2015, 12:07 am

    Wow. Wallahi al atheem. Yossi and Yossita voted for LIKUD.
    WTF.

    What a kick in the balls to Liberal Zionism. Dersh, Shavit, Remnick, NYT, Freedland, Maureen Lipman – your boys and gals took one hell of beating.

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/israel-election-2015/1.647304

    “Netanyahu’s Likud party is set to emerge as the election’s big winner with 29 seats. The Zionist Union trails behind with 24 seats. The Joint List of Arab parties is the third-largest party at this point, followed by Yesh Atid, Kulanu, Habayit Hayehudi, Shas, Yisrael Beiteinu, United Torah Judaism, Meretz and Yahad”

    What was it Abba Eban said? Sabras never miss the opportunity to miss an opportunity.

    And Mencken. Give Yossi and Yossita what they want and give it to them good and hard.
    And the untouchables came third!

    BDS wa khalaas

    • annie on March 18, 2015, 6:40 am

      seafoid, thank you so much for Ahmad Qabour’s Unadikum w/the translation.

      • seafoid on March 18, 2015, 11:25 am

        Afwan. It’s such a powerful song of Palestinian sumud.

      • annie on March 18, 2015, 11:27 am

        i love the song. i want to learn how to sing it but can’t find a phonetic translation. (hint!)

        ;)

      • Walid on March 18, 2015, 1:08 pm

        Annie’s hint:

        Unadikum
        ashuddu ‘ala eyadikum
        wa ebussu’l’arda
        tahte ni‘alikum
        wa equlu efdikum

        Unadikum
        ashuddu ‘ala eyadikum
        wa ebussu’l’arda
        tahte ni‘alikum
        wa equlu efdikum

        wa uhdikum deya ‘ayneyy
        wa dif’el qalbi a‘tikum
        wa uhdikum deya ‘ayneyy
        wa dif’el qalbi a‘tikum
        Fe me’sati’lleti ahya
        Nasibi min ma’sikum

        Unadikum
        ashuddu ‘ala eyadikum
        wa ebussu’l’arda
        tahte ni‘alikum
        wa equlu efdikum
        Unadikum
        ashuddu ‘ala eyadikum
        wa ebussu’l’arda
        tahte ni‘alikum
        wa equlu efdikum

        Ena ma huntu fi watani
        wa la sagghartu ektafi
        Ena ma huntu fi watani
        wa la sagghartu ektafi

        waqaftu bi wachi’zullamî
        Yetimen ‘ariyen hafi
        waqaftu bi wachi’zullamî
        Yetimen ‘ariyen hafi

        Unadikum
        ashuddu ‘ala eyadikum
        wa ebussu’l’arda
        tahte ni‘alikum
        wa equlu efdikum
        Unadikum
        ashuddu ‘ala eyadikum
        wa ebussu’l’arda
        tahte ni‘alikum
        wa equlu efdikum
        Hameltu demi ‘ala keffi
        wa ma nakkestu a‘lami
        Hameltu demi ‘ala keffi
        wa ma nakkestu a‘lami

        wa suntu’l‘ushbe’l akhdara
        Fawqa quburi eslafi
        wa suntu’l‘ushbe’l akhdara
        Fawqa quburi eslafi

        Unadikum
        ashuddu ‘ala eyadikum
        wa ebussu’l’arda
        tahte ni‘alikum
        wa equlu efdikum

        Unadikum
        ashuddu ‘ala eyadikum
        wa ebussu’l’arda
        tahte ni‘alikum
        wa equlu efdikum

        Unadikum
        Unadikum
        Unadikum
        Unadikum

        The poem for Palestine is by Palestinian Tawfiq Zayyad (1929-1994) and made into a Nakba Day song by the Lebanese Ahmad Kaaboor in 1974 : ‘I call to you all: I take your hand and hold it tightly. I kiss the ground on which you place your feet. I know that for you I would give my life. My life I would give for you. I offer you the light of my eyes, The fire of my heart: For this pain that I suffer Is only a small part of your pain. I never have sold my country And I have been willing to serve, To face the invader with steadfastness and courage, An orphan willing to die. Carrying my people on my shoulders, You will see my flag raised high, And a mountain clothed in the green of the olive branch For those who will come after. I call to you all!’ –

      • just on March 18, 2015, 1:21 pm

        Many thanks for bringing it, seafoid!

        Thanks, Walid!

    • just on March 18, 2015, 12:30 pm

      Any person who does not understand Ahmed Qabour’s call ‘Unadikum’ is not worth my energy.

      (with respect to Tawfiq Ziad, RIP)

      • seafoid on March 18, 2015, 1:14 pm

        The thing I love about Unadikum is that it recognizes every action to stand up for Palestine, no matter how hopeless it may seem. Gaza last year, for example. To keep the land alive in the hearts of the people.

      • Walid on March 18, 2015, 1:43 pm

        seafoid, Simone Daud wrote that it was blaring on the loudspeakers of Sabra-Shatilla before the Israeli massacres started in 1982 and I heard it myself being played on the giant loudspeakers at Maroun al-Ras on Nakba Day 2011 as the Palestinian kids were getting killed and injured by Israeli snipers because they were hanging Palestinian flags on the fence.The whole ugly scene was triggered when the giant screen at the celebration site put on a live feed taken from Israel’s Channel 2 or 10 that showed close-up shots of Israeli soldiers hiding behind sand dunes at the fence and the guy in charge of the sound system put on Unadikum and the people just went wild and started rushing to the fence. That song is electrifying even to a non-Palestinian.

      • seafoid on March 19, 2015, 12:21 pm

        Walid

        I am going to get

        أناديكم
        ..أشد على أياديكم
        أبوس الأرض تحت نعالكم

        printed on a t-shirt.

        Guaranteed conversation opener with Arabic speakers

      • Walid on March 19, 2015, 3:00 pm

        “… am going to get أناديكم ..أشد على أياديكم أبوس الأرض تحت نعالكم printed on a t-shirt. ”

        It sure would, seafoid, but better still, would be to have it in Hebrew with the word Palestine in it and to wear it in TA.

      • just on March 19, 2015, 3:15 pm

        I’ll buy one.

        It’ll go nicely with any one of my keffiyehs.

      • seafoid on March 19, 2015, 5:50 pm

        Walid

        for a t-shirt to wear in Israel
        It would have to be from this song

  17. seafoid on March 18, 2015, 12:11 am

    Beinart can give up the triangulation. Sabra Zionism is no longer housetrained.

    MJ Rosenberg @MJayRosenberg
    · 8h 8 hours ago
    I guess abandoning my Zionism was an act of self preservation. My younger self would be devastated by this. I’m sad but vindicated.

    • Mooser on March 18, 2015, 2:10 pm

      “I guess abandoning my Zionism was an act of self preservation.” MJR

      Duh! For that you went to college? Although I don’t know if “abandoned” is the mot jewste Maybe something about “prying it from cold dead hands” might be more appropriate. Oh, but have it your way, MJR, you’re always out in front of the crowd; “abandoned”. That’s what everybody will say.

  18. piotr on March 18, 2015, 1:00 am

    My calculation is that Zionist Union with allies and external support of UAL should have 53 seats, Likud with allies (Shas is not certain) should have 58 seats, “king maker” Kulanu, 9 seats. Except I do not understand is the “shared seat” of Kulanu and Yisraeli Beitenu goes to YB (more surplus) or to K (more total vote).

    This means that Kulanu remains a king maker.

    By following historical precedents, Netanyahu will form a government that will last exactly two years.

    • Kay24 on March 18, 2015, 1:39 am

      That is two more years of massacres, shameless land theft, barefaced lies, devious policies, and endless suffering for the Palestinians. Now that this detestable man has proclaimed to the world, that there will never be two states (the obvious finally coming out during a desperate moment) what will our naive leaders do, and how soon will congress flock to kiss Netanyahu’s assets? The moral thing to do, is support the Palestinians bid for statehood at the UN, and stop the charity from going to the parasites in Israel. There is no point keeping the charade going, and pretending we believe Israeli leaders. They are a bunch of liars, starting with Netanyahu, and their word means nothing.

      • Accentitude on March 18, 2015, 3:27 am

        Agreed. But trying to find a light at the end of the tunnel that is Netanyahu is damn near impossible, but I think I might found just a glimmer of hope in all of this ridiculousness.

        Netanyahu is a deplorable, despicable, genocidal, racist, war-mongering, islamophobic, destructive, toxic, lying, scummy, slimey, POS but you know what? He’s also the best damn thing that ever happened to Palestine in terms of Public Relations. The more he opens his mouth, the more that he carries out atrocious activities under the name of Israel and as the self-proclaimed leader of the entire race of Jews across the world, the more he isolates himself, the more he appears deplorable, despicable, genocidal, racist, war-mongering, islamophobic, destructive, toxic, and so on and so forth. After the Charlie Hebdo massacre, the French Government hated him. After the campaign speech in front of Congress, the Obama Administration hated him, nevermind the fact that Turkey, once a fierce Israeli ally, hates him, Italy hates him, Great Britain hates him, Germany hates him, Russia Hates him, Iran hates him, 99% of the MENA region hates him and most of the European States hate him….so who is Netanyahu kidding? As smart as he is, he’s too stupid to understand that he is the best damn thing that has ever happened to the PLO in terms of Pro-Palestinian Public Relations. He’s lonly strengthening their resolve to go the ICC, to sign on to and ratify more treaties and conventions, to pursue diplomatic relationships with many of the world’s most powerful and most influential governments. Since the beginning of 2015, look how many countries have either upgraded the PA’s representative offices or opened up Palestinian embassies in their countries. He’s losing the war of opinion, he’s losing the war of among U.S. and foreign college campuses which are the breeding grounds for future leaders in this world, he’s losing the fight against BDS, he’s losing the fight against resolving the Iran conflict through negotiations. He’s even losing the favor of Jews in Europe and the United States and elsewhere who refute his claim that Israel is the land of all Jews. So by all means, let this guy keep doing what he’s doing. He’s only dragging Israel’s name through the muck even further….and soon if he wants to stick to his guns about refusing to allow a 2 State Solution, he’s going to lose his greatest benefactors who’ve invested billions of dollars for the last couple of decades in establishing a 2 state solution…AND…he’s going to lose the fight against public opinion in terms of viewing Israel as a full-fledged Apartheid state when the Palestinians who don’t have a state of their own begin to consolidate their efforts and fight for equal and civil rights as part of a 1 state solution.

        All I can say is, pop some corn, take a front seat and watch the adventure unfold.

      • Kay24 on March 18, 2015, 8:17 am

        Accentitude, you have made excellent points, but for the Palestinians, it must be disheartening to think that many in Israel, STILL want the man you describe so well. Obviously Israealis prefer the endless violence, and want to keep the occupation going. When this monster declared there would be no 2 states, it seemed that many in Israel, voted in support of this man’s world despised policies. There is no explanation for the outcome otherwise.
        Unfortunately, the world will still have to deal with the man who lies, shows no remorse, and kills his neighbors based on those lies.

      • eljay on March 18, 2015, 8:29 am

        || Accentitude @ March 18, 2015, 3:27 am ||

        Good post.

  19. ToivoS on March 18, 2015, 4:01 am

    Well it looks like Netanyahu has just achieved a resounding victory. 30 knesset seats! This has to be good news for those who believed that Israel was not at all interested in a two state solution. For those of us who believed that Israel was never really interested in that solution but just used the “peace process” to hide their true intentions this election strips away that facade. Now the whole world should be able to clearly see where the Israeli public stands on this issue.

    BDS has a real future. Especially in Europe. We no longer have to hear those diplomats arguing that we must give negotiations a chance. Negotiations with Israel are over. They have clearly made their voice clear on this issue. Time to stop the nonsensical talks and get down to some serious sanctions. Europe is ready and maybe even in the US we can advance the debate towards BDS.

    • Citizen on March 18, 2015, 5:23 am

      From your lips to Chris Matthews mouth–er, make that his boss’s mouth to ears of Chris Matthews. Maddow even?

    • MHughes976 on March 18, 2015, 10:19 am

      Well. I don’t see as much of silver lining as you do, Toivo. Euro politicians and diplomats have endless resources of circumlocution and no appetite for confrontation with Israel. The programme of population transfer, the natural concomitant of ‘no 2 states’ will be talked about a little more openly and the Euros will say ‘Yes, perhaps, so long as it is achieved by negotiations’ and the merry-go-round will start up again, though nothing much except for the status quo will happen for a long time. The real negotiation will be for Western money to play for the population to be moved and that will be very discreet.
      I didn’t place many hopes on Herzog but I must say that this is yet another desperate failure of hope – into which all sorts of people had talked themselves; the UK press was writing Netanyahu off yesterday – for some sort of rationality to break out.
      Netanyahu must be congratulated on taking very serious risks and seeing them pay off at least in the short term.

      • Mooser on March 18, 2015, 2:12 pm

        I knew the election, well, I had a strong feeling the election wasn’t worth getting excited about.

    • Atlantaiconoclast on March 19, 2015, 1:03 am

      Exactly. And why are Europeans willing to sanction Iran, but not Israel, especially given that the people of Iran don’t have as much say in their nation’s policies as do the people of Israel, forgetting for a second the fact that occupied Palestinians have no representation in Tel Aviv.

  20. seafoid on March 18, 2015, 6:18 am

    Some great news in the fine print

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/israel-election-2015/.premium-1.647545
    “Yahad does not appear to have met the electoral threshold, meaning that former minister Eli Yishai and MK Yoni Chetboun (currently with Habayit Hayehudi) are out.
    Habayit Hayehudi will lose a third of its representation, according to the exit polls, coming in with eight seats.
    Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party crashed from 15 seats in 2009 (in 2013 it ran together with Likud) to six, according to the exit polls. ”

    Lieberman and Bennett are two of the most rabid Israeli politicians- good riddance to those party ideologues rejected by Yossi

    Yishai was in charge (nominally) during the Carmel fire and blamed criticism of his response on anti Sephardi bigotry

    And another thing- why do so many pictures from Israel feature soldiers ? Is any other OECD country as likely to show conscripts when featuring civilian processes ?

    • just on March 18, 2015, 8:13 am

      “And another thing- why do so many pictures from Israel feature soldiers ? Is any other OECD country as likely to show conscripts when featuring civilian processes ?”

      It’s the Occupation Nation, doncha know! Other than that beast, it needs to portray its “fear, fear, fear” all day, every day. Armed to the teeth, it’s the swagger they’ve come to love.

      Who wants to visit/live in Israel? Raise your weapon of choice!

      (It is good news about Lieberman and Bennett)

  21. catalan on March 18, 2015, 1:10 pm

    phff. just another hasbrat.” Annie,
    I indeed have a little brat so that does make me a has-brat. Add my cat and it is has-brats.
    I do see the “rat” as well but as an environmentalist I love every species, rats and weasels the most as they don’t seem to get any love.

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