Weekly Election Update: Cigars and Booze

  • Another poll indicates that multi-millionaire author Yair Lapid has a chance of heading the largest party in the Knesset. However, the people still prefer multi-millionaire strategic adviser Bibi Netanyahu to be Prime Minister. In the poll, YA received 26 mandates, Likud got 22, HaBayit HaYehudi got 14, while the Zionist Union got 13. The poll also indicated that 37% of those polled agreed with the court’s decision to convict Elor Azaria of manslaughter while 60% disagreed.
  • Netanyahu is facing increased pressure on the legal front in the form of two investigations. Last week we learned that one of the investigations revolves around his reception of hundreds of thousands of Shekels worth of cigars as a gift from Hollywood producer Arnon Milchan. I’ve never seen a picture of Bibi smoking so I can only assume that they’re for resale to pay off his ice cream habit. Since no Bibi scandal is complete without the inclusion of his family, Sarah Netanyahu is thought to have received expensive bottles of champagne from Milchan as well. Netanyahu’s lawyer said that the gifts were not meant to influence the PM.
  • In a far more interesting scandal, Netanyahu may have made a deal with political/journalistic rival and head of Yediot Ahronot Nuni Moses to receive more favorable treatment in the paper in exchange for pushing a bill to prohibit free newspapers. In addition, Moses asked for the closure of the weekend edition of Yisrael HaYom. Because if you can’t beat them then use sketchy political tactics to close them. Considering Moses’ hatred of Netanyahu, this may have been entrapment. Sometimes, the lack of journalistic integrity in this country is astounding.
  • In response to the new investigations, Likud MK David Amsalem proposed a bill to prohibit bribery, fraud and breach of trust investigations against sitting prime ministers. Kulanu is opposing the bill which will make it difficult to pass. Amsalem complained that for the last 20 years every PM has been investigated, which has made their jobs harder. Of course, 10 of those years were during Bibi premierships. Apparently, the notion that some PMs went their ENTIRE TERMS without being investigated beforehand is lost on him. In the good innocent old days, scandal was rare enough that Rabin resigned because he forgot to close a bank account he had while he was the ambassador to America.
  • In light of the investigations, Labor Party MKs are attempting to push up Labor primaries. After delaying them for a year there is a fear that Isaac Herzog may try to push them off until November of this year. Herzog would most likely do this in an attempt to drive every Labor voter to Yesh Atid until he’s the only one left.
  • Head of Kulanu and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon claimed that he never promised to lower housing costs, only he did.
  • The opposition decided to filibuster a bill establishing that the new public broadcasting organization will go on air in April. I went over the issue of the “Taagid” in a previous post. Suffice to say that few of you will ever watch or listen to anything coming out of the organization so obviously this is what the Knesset spent its time doing. During the filibuster, one of the Shas MKs asked secular Zionist Union MK Etan Cabel to say something about the weekly Torah portion during his 50 minutes at the podium. Cabel responded by reciting the beginning of the portion by heart.
  • MK Zahava Galon turned 61 and MKs from various parties threw her a surprise party. Galon noted that she has friends from across the political spectrum saying “I truly love you all”. Next week she will be accusing those friends of destroying the country and hurting the orphaned and the widowed. Politics!

Totally precise and not arbitrary election date: February 6, 2018

Winner: Yesh Atid. The consistent Yesh Atid polling lead is due to Likud exhaustion mixed with the campaigning skills of Lapid who manages to be everything to everyone. This along with the Labor collapse gives them an advantage nowadays. Traditionally, non mainstream parties (everyone but Likud and Labor) do better long before elections so this lead could fade. However, there are plenty of reasons to believe that YA could end up getting the first shot at building the next coalition.

Runner Up: Likud

That was as long one! I think we deserve a bear video.

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