Pre-election politics in Israel, and where I’ve been

Tomorrow will be a month since my last actual blog post. I’ve been very busy working and also spent a little time in Florida to welcome my new niece, and say “good-bye” (lehitra’ot) to her and the others in my brother and sister-in-law’s family, who will be moving to Israel in two-and-a-half weeks.
daniel and jennifers kids
During the past month, I have been posting about what I’ve been doing, but those were simply “site pages” rather than “blog posts” which is why you 114 wonderful subscribers haven’t gotten emails. (For the rest of you, please enter your email address on the right side, on desktop and laptop, or at the bottom of whichever device you’re using, to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts.)
menu buttonThere’s a link to my work since early last month in the Menu (button on upper-right) called “PGN, 2019: Copy Editor, Writer, Reporter” and those of you who tried it on your mobile devices, read the introduction, but couldn’t find the individual posts to choose from at the bottom, will no longer have that problem. It has been fixed.
Another thing: You should probably use Google Chrome or be logged onto something provided by Google to see the 4-day forecast. This is the difference:

But back to Israel, which is the purpose of this blog post.
Yesterday at 2:39pm, I got this email from Axios, which is a news organization I trust. It reports its own news but is also very likely to link to a different responsible news organization.
axios email 239pm
The article sounds really bad and it comes from a reporter at Israel’s Channel 13.
(Never heard of it? Neither did I. Israel’s old Channel 2 was programmed by two rotating companies, but to increase diversity and competition, both broadcasters were granted their own separate channels in 2017: Keshet 12 and Reshet 13.)

The article said some very bad things but despite that, nobody can deny freedom of the press in Israel.
Some quotes from the Axios article, “Netanyahu boosts racist far-right party with pre-election deal,” formatted as Axios does with its stories:

  • “… paving the way for Jewish supremacists from the ‘Jewish Power’ party to make it into the next Knesset.”
  • “… is equivalent to a U.S. president cutting a political deal with David Duke, the former KKK leader. The prime minister and the ruling Likud Party are legitimizing a racist, xenophobic and homophobic fringe party in hopes of bolstering a right-wing bloc after the elections.”
  • “‘Jewish Power’ was formed by the followers of Rabbi Meir Kahane, the former leader of the Kach party, which was banned from running in Israel’s 1988 elections and designated a terror organization by the Israeli government in 1994. Kach was also blacklisted as a terrorist organization in the U.S., Canada and the EU.”
  • “He proposed a series of racist laws that would have stripped non-Jews of citizenship, mandated separate beaches for Jews and Arabs, and more. At the time, senior members of the Likud attacked Kahane’s policies and said they were similar to the Nuremberg Laws passed by the Nazis before the Holocaust.”
  • “Inside Likud — the same party that ostracized Kach and Kahane in 1984 — there hasn’t been even a whiff of criticism over a move designed to get the Israeli equivalents of David Duke into the Knesset.”

Election Day will be April 9.
Now that we gave that article its time, a friend I worked with 20 years ago wrote to me as he has on other occasions. I woke up to, “This looks disturbing, to say the least. What say you, Lenny Cohen? I need some intel on this.”
So first thing this morning, I wrote up this response:

I don’t think it’s going to happen. First, Bibi’s buddy Trump is against it. Not that any foreign leader should have to do what an American president says (think back to Yitzhak Shamir and George H.W. Bush), but apparently Trump wants Bibi to have a coalition with a center-left party (a national unity government) that would represent most moderates and accept his peace plan which has yet to be announced.
Keep in mind, a political party needs a certain number of votes in order to get a Knesset seat. Bibi thinks teaming up with right-wing parties will make sure no vote on the right will be wasted, in other words going to a party that does not earn a Knesset seat. Politically, it’s a smart idea and why have so many parties in the first place? Consider how much Democrats disagree among each other, and Republicans the same but to a lesser extent. (They fall into line a lot easier.)
So how will the Israeli electorate, which of course includes Arab citizens who make up about 20 percent of the country, vote? I suppose they think similar to Americans. Some know for sure who they will vote for. Others are still making up their minds.
But this is supposed to involve an American peace plan (whenever it’s announced, so it’s a wild card) from a friendly president who has (outwardly) done more for Israel than any other president. The plan is supposed to be announced in between the election and the 30 days given to form a coalition (if necessary, and it has always been necessary so far). Will he make concessions to Palestinians to seem fair? Possibly, and that’s something right-wing Israelis would not want. Will Palestinians except the Trump plan? They haven’t accepted anything from any other American president, including Clinton and Obama, and they’re divided amongst themselves, so I don’t think those right-wing Israelis have much to fear, even if Trump tries to get the Israelis to make massive concessions.
Unfortunately, the one thing I would expect would be more Palestinian terrorism leading up to the election. That would make the undecideds more likely to vote for the right, and a right-wing government (rather than a national unity one) will appear to be the bad guys in front of the world. (As if the world would think fondly of Israel, and as if Palestinian terrorism is acceptable.)
Now, would most Israelis support what these parties on the right call for? Of course not! Would Bibi aligning with them cost him votes from moderates? Perhaps. Maybe it’ll be a bigger factor than his legal issues since there’s more at stake. But Meir Kahane’s Kach party was outlawed and the Israeli Supreme Court is moderate. The right-wing parties can call for anything they want, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to happen. It may be a turn-off to people who would normally vote for Bibi.
So those are my thoughts, as of the moment. We both know the only thing that matters will be the results on Election Day, which is about a month-and-a-half away, and anything can happen until then.

So take it for what it’s worth. We’ll certainly have to see.
i24 news tweets header(Don’t forget part of this website includes RSS feeds from several news sources, plus Twitter posts from i24NEWS English, (on the right side on your desktop or laptop, and at the bottom on your mobile device) so you can stay up to date right here at, even though I can’t post as often while I’m working.)
By the way, my friend’s response was as short and sweet as his question: “Lenny Cohen thanks for the insight, man. I think you’re right.”
I’ll take it!

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