- Well that was certainly a week! Before we go into the testosterone fueled tug of war that occurred over an issue that no one cares about, let’s get some polling context thanks to the great Knesset Jeremy poll compiler machine. If we average the results of 3 recent polls, Likud and Yesh Atid are in a virtual tie of about 24. The United Arab List is consistent with 13, with Bayit Yehudi at 12 (up from 8). The Zionist Union is at 10-11, a drop of 13-14, the same number that Yesh Atid gained. The ultra-Orthodox parties, Yisrael Beitenu, Kulanu and Meretz are all around 6-7, while Moshe Ya’alon’s new party has gotten 6, 4 and 0 in different polls.
- Here’s what this all means…the only two parties who gain significantly from new elections are Yesh Atid and HaBayit HaYehudi. Meanwhile, Likud, Kulanu and the Zionist Union are all slated to lose power…therefore, as expected, Likud and Kulanu have walked to the precipice of new elections?
- So what happened? Those lovelies who were with us from the beginning know that the issue of the Broadcasting Ta’agid/Reshut (think Israel’s NPR, but without Tiny Desk Concerts or delightful podcasts) has been around since the start of this session. If you haven’t heard of this whole balagan it is because it does not affect you. If you use the internet and don’t remember the launch of the Model T, you probably have not made great use of the radio and television channels represented by the Reshut. Bibi wants to prevent the opening of its new version (the Ta’agid) either because it’ll be a propaganda spewing money waster or because Bibi’s a dictator sent by Satan to destroy the country and possibly the world (depending on who you ask). On the other hand, Kahlon thinks that refusing to let the Ta’agid open is in itself a waste of money. This whole incident is different than other coalition disagreements (such as what to do with Amona) because most voters don’t care about what actually happens.
- In addition to the question of the fate of the Reshut HaShidur, there’s a law wrapped in the controversy that would create a council that would control public (and possibly private? I’ve been unable to get my hands on the law to see what is actually inside) broadcasts and which would have two government representatives on it.
- Just last week a compromise was reached in which the aforementioned law would be supported in exchange for the opening of the Ta’agid. During the announcement of that agreement both parties even thanked Aryeh Deri for his work in bringing them together. In addition, a month ago, they were eating hummus together celebrating their great cooperation and soon thereafter were forming new tax breaks. However, over the weekend something changed. Bibi posted three Facebook posts in 7 hours announcing that the deal was off. According to Bibi, the problems with Reshut had been solved and he didn’t want to see its employees on the street. Others have speculated that Bibi was convinced by his wife and son to change his mind. (See if you can find the paragraph that starts with conjecture from an anonymous quote (יש כאלה שסבורים is journalist for “I would like to believe”) before stating that quote definitively.) What Bibi did say is that he’s ready to go to elections if the Ta’agid is opened as scheduled in April. (Some think that new elections would delay the investigation against Bibi and that Bibi wants elections for this purpose. However, the police have shown that they will continue major investigations against candidates through elections so I pay this little mind.)
- So here’s the deal. Bibi knows that new elections will be terrible for Kulanu and that he can make demands. At the same time, Kahlon knows that Likud also doesn’t want elections and is trying to get an issue he has fought for since the beginning of the session accomplished. Neither wants to seem weak. Therefore we have a chicken game. The only practical difference is that Kulanu gets more or less decimated by a new election while Likud only suffers having to deal with elections from a weak position. Due to this, most likely a compromise in favor of the Likud will be reached. Therefore, I regret to write that for now, no new elections, no day off…I think.
Totally precise and not arbitrary election date: February 6, 2018 (Things that could drastically change the election a) Bibi indictment (pro YA, BY) b) non-divisive Labor primaries (pro Labor, bad for YA) c) If a major Likud player goes after Bibi in primaries d) YA adding a major security figure e)Moshe Ya’alon using a shrunken monkey head to gain support.
Runner Up: Yesh Atid (I still think it will be hard for Lapid to maintain his current pace if Herzog loses in the Labor primaries)
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