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1 CuriousLurker  Tue, May 8, 2012 5:51:03am

Can you please explain the significance to those of us (probably many) who don’t closely follow or fully understand the complexities of Israeli politics? This party, that coalition, yonder faction, etc. I read the article, but it didn’t help much.

I get that not having elections when expected might be a shock, but to the outsider Israelis seem to have elections at odd times anyway. I get the sense that Kadima’s move, not the cancelled election, is the bombshell.

2 lawhawk  Tue, May 8, 2012 6:20:08am

re: #1 CuriousLurker

The Knesset is made up of 120 parlimentarians, and to govern, one must be able to get a majority of Parliament. In the last election, Likud was given the opportunity to form a coalition government (in Israel’s history, no single party has ever garnered sufficient seats to form a government on its own).

The need to create coalition governments means that minority parties can hold tremendous sway in the coalition governments - the religious parties for example can threaten to leave the government if their policies aren’t enacted/followed, for instance).

A few times in Israel’s history, the two biggest parties have joined together to form a unity government - particularly in times of need.

Netenyahu believes this was the right time to form a unity government, and that gives Netenyahu the numbers in the Knesset to take a policy stance that might push some of the minority parties to bolt.

3 CuriousLurker  Tue, May 8, 2012 6:25:54am

re: #2 lawhawk

Okayyyyy, now it makes sense. Thanks for the clear, succinct explanation. This could get interesting.

4 lawhawk  Tue, May 8, 2012 6:28:41am

re: #3 CuriousLurker

I summed up the situation here, but the driving issue behind the move wasn’t so much the situation with Iran, but with a planned move to expand the Israeli draft to include all Israeli citizens - eliminating exemptions that have been in place since Israel’s founding. It would require all Israelis to serve, including the ultra Orthodox (Haraedi).

5 CuriousLurker  Tue, May 8, 2012 6:39:30am

re: #4 lawhawk

I had a feeling it might have something to do with internal politics as I’d read that Netanyahu was somewhat hampered by his need to keep the support of the Haredim.

I wonder how it’s gonna play out with the draft. I’m sure some won’t mind, but others… I guess it’s time to start reading the Israeli newspapers daily again.

6 Archangelus  Tue, May 8, 2012 8:09:25am

This has little to do with “national concerns” - it’s about pure political and electoral considerations.
Netanyahu did not want elections even though everyone else in the country pretty much felt the need for them. This is in part out of fear of the previous summer’s protests repeating themselves - a justified fear, IMO, as the atmosphere is already heated on that front and it might actually erupt sooner. He tried to handle them last time and it didn’t work, and now it’s expected to be worse, as none of the issues were really addressed.
Mofaz, on his part, saw political destruction looming in the horizon - his victory and election as head of Kadima was exclusively responsible for the polls showing the party crashing to nearly half the mandates it has in future elections. Kadima’s primary voting (which stood at low numbers) do not actually reflect the opinion of the majority of the people who voted for the party, and a LOT of people across many sections of Israeli society do not want him leading in politics for a variety of reasons. And that’s without even remotely touching the fact that he’s generated animosity for zigzagging on issues so much that it exceeds all those made by the Republican candidates combined.

It’s not about Iran, nor about solving internal troubles in a troubled time or any of that spiel. This action was one of ugly political survival, pure and simple - and the outrage I’m seeing and hearing here since the morning is considerable, from all sides.

7 SanFranciscoZionist  Tue, May 8, 2012 10:59:14am

re: #1 CuriousLurker

Can you please explain the significance to those of us (probably many) who don’t closely follow or fully understand the complexities of Israeli politics? This party, that coalition, yonder faction, etc. I read the article, but it didn’t help much.

I get that not having elections when expected might be a shock, but to the outsider Israelis seem to have elections at odd times anyway. I get the sense that Kadima’s move, not the cancelled election, is the bombshell.

That, and what Lawhawk says below, and also the fact that Shaul Mofaz, the Kadima leader, was on a little tear about how he would never coalition with Likud, and how Netanyahu was a terrible human being, right up to the point where he unleashed this.

Meretz is foaming at the mouth over this. Their leader, Zehava Gal-On, described this as a ‘mega-stinking maneuver’.

8 CuriousLurker  Tue, May 8, 2012 12:01:22pm

re: #6 Archangelus

re: #7 SanFranciscoZionist

Thanks, that helps.


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