by: volleyboy1

Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 13:40:34 PM EST

Cross posted at The Progressive Zionist

So today is the day for the Israelis. The elections are up and running and many wait to see the results.

The Polls are due to close at 10 PM Israel time (12 noon PST, 3 PM EST) and then results can start being reported. As of now, Turnout is looking to be at it's highest point since 1999 with The Times of Israel projecting a possible 70% turnout was at 55% as of 4 PM Israel Time.

On social media and throughout the nation one thing I am hearing is that Likud-Betainu is NOT going to get the mandates they thought they were (Assaf called this one on Sunday). Haaretz is running a "liveblog". Sources there are saying Likud-Betainu may get as few as 31 Mandates (down from 42 they currently hold though it is still way to early to tell)

According to Haaretz:

7.52 P.M. Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu officials are trading accusations, imputing the responsibility for the electoral failure of their joint ticket.

5:33 P.M.  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tells Haaretz  that voter turnout in Likud strongholds in Israel are low, highlighting the growing fear within his party that it's heading for collapse. As the evening wears on, Netanyahu is continuing his efforts to awaken Likud voters across the country.

5.27 P.M. Likud is concerned with low turnout at the party's traditional bastions. "We're lucky if we get 31 seats," one party official said.

On some other interesting notes - Yesh Atid is claiming that polling from Channel 10 shows that they will be the # 2 Party in Israel. This is of course complete speculation but it does pose some interesting questions if true.

Other stories seem to be Arab Turnout which was around 10% in some places was starting to pick up and in Nazareth has hit 44%. The Arab parties are working hard to get out the vote and in an unusual move the Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Michael Sabbah has urged Arab citizens to get out to vote.

Along with this turnout on the IDF bases are also high with 60% turnout (up 13% from 2009) with five hours to go.

What will happen here is anyone's guess and depending on vote totals things could shift in the country dramatically.

A few days ago I wrote a diary based on possible coalitions... Now.... with what I am hearing. Who knows?

I will be posting updates throughout the day. I seriously hope our Israeli friends will come in and comment and share what they are hearing as well.


10:20 AM PT: From the Times of Israel: 20:12

The Twittersphere is awash with purported leaks from the TV exit polls which, based on initial small samples, ostensibly show why Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is sounding worried.

The leaks purport to show the Likud doing less well than even the more pessimistic final polls, falling below the 30-seat mark, and Jewish Home and Yesh Atid competing to be the second biggest party with 16 or so seats each. The leaks still show a right-wing/Orthodox bloc managing to win more than 61 seats, but only just.

BELOW 30 SEATS... WHOA.... And where is Avodah and Livni (HaTanuah)

10:25 AM PT: From Haaretz:     8.08 P.M. Tzipi Livni says will pursue attempts to join forces with Labor and Yesh Atid.

8.06 P.M. Netanyahu calls on supporters: "The Likud government is in danger, go vote for us for the sake of the country's future."

From the Times of Israel:


A source close to the prime minister confirms that Benjamin Netanyahu is truly anxious about the initial exit poll projections, Channel 2 reports, dispelling the suspicion that Netanyahu's Facebook post was a last-ditch plea to get out the vote.

Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett writes on his Facebook page that according to the information his party has gathered thus far, Netanyahu will be the next prime minister. No surprises there. But "the big question is who will be his No. 2, Naftali Bennett, Shelly [Yachimovich], or [Yair] Lapid," he writes

A government official is telling confidantes, meanwhile, that Yesh Atid is faring exceptionally well, closing in on as many as 20 seats.

From the U.S.: 11:28 AM PT: And from the U.S.:

9.21 P.M. The White House said that regardless of the results of the Israeli election, the U.S. approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict would not change.

"We will continue to make clear that only through direct negotiations can the Palestinians and the Israelis ... achieve the peace they both deserve," said spokesman Jay Carney. He said the complexity of the conflict, not Obama's relationship with the Israeli leader, was the main impediment.

First projections (ch. 2): Likud 31, Yesh Atid 19, Labor 17, Shas 12, Jewish House 12, Meretz 7, Livni 7, United Torah Judaism 6, Arab parties (combined) 9 -- ch, 2 calls it 61-59 for the right.

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Very interesting (2.00 / 7)
Although I am always leery of exit polling.  

am watching twitter anxiously (2.00 / 5)
but it's probably not the best source.  

61-59 is closer than was expected (2.00 / 5)
but Bibi still in charge is not good.  

"Most people worry about their own bellies and other people's souls when we all ought to worry about our own souls and others' bellies" Israel Salanter

Well here is the latest update (2.00 / 5)
From Times of Israel - 75% of vote in....

Likud - 31 Seats
Yesh Atid - 19 Seats
Labor - 15 Seats
Shas - 12 Seats
Jewish Home - 11 Seats
United Torah Judaism - 7 Seats
The Movement - 7 Seats
Meretz - 6 Seats
Hadash - 4 Seats
United Arab List - 3 Seats
Balad - 3 Seats
and pulling up the rear.....

KADIMA with 2 Seats.  

Vote for me and all of your wildest dreams will come true!

[ Parent ]
What's "The Movement"? (2.00 / 5)
and will the religious parties (Shas, UTJ) go with whoever they can get a better deal with?  

"Most people worry about their own bellies and other people's souls when we all ought to worry about our own souls and others' bellies" Israel Salanter

[ Parent ]
Isn't the movement Livni's party? (2.00 / 6)

[ Parent ]
Yep... HaTanuah is Livni and Peretz (NOT PERES). (2.00 / 3)

Vote for me and all of your wildest dreams will come true!

[ Parent ]
And Mitzna (2.00 / 3)

The future is unwritten

[ Parent ]
Thanks! n/t (2.00 / 3)

"Most people worry about their own bellies and other people's souls when we all ought to worry about our own souls and others' bellies" Israel Salanter

[ Parent ]
Yeah... Shas and UTJ generally whore themselves out (0.00 / 0)
for the best bribes offered, though Shas WANTS to join with Biberman. As long as they get Interior and Housing, they are probably pretty happy.  

Vote for me and all of your wildest dreams will come true!

[ Parent ]
My guess (2.00 / 6)
And granted I barely have a working idea of the lay of the land there politically:

Likud/Yesh Atid/Shas/UTJ = ~69 MK

I think Netanyahu would bring in Yesh Atid to co-opt it and win back support to Likud.  I don't think Labor would join in a coalition this time.  

[ Parent ]
Yep... I see that one as well (2.00 / 4)

Vote for me and all of your wildest dreams will come true!

[ Parent ]
If that's the coalition (2.00 / 6)
then Bennett will join as well.  Yesh Atid will table its stands, amorphous as they are, on the occupation and push their economic agenda.  This will allow them to work with Bennett.  There's a lot of talk right now that Lapid won't enter government as the only party from the center-left bloc, even as he denies that his party is part of any bloc.  

This is the problem with momentarily successful fly-by-night personality based parties.  No one can really have any idea what forms the core or their identity and thus what they will do.  They don't answer to a coherent constituency.  And significant percentages of their voters are protest voters.

The problem with this potential coalition is that both Bennett and Lapid have foregrounded changing the position of the ultra-orthodox with national service and lowering their subsidies.  These are red lines with UTJ, and to some degree with Shas.

The future is unwritten

[ Parent ]
Yeah... Not sure how this one will or can play out (2.00 / 3)
I mean if Lapid enters the famous "Bibi Bullshit Sphere" (where groups like Labor and Kadima went based on promises) then they will disappear down the road to irrelevancy like those before him.

IF he stands by his parties positions I don't see how he can be part of a government with Shas and UTJ, much less the Feiglin/Danon wing of Likud. He will have to table everything to work on his economic agenda - which Netanyahu, despite his promises has absolutely ZERO intention of following.

NOW... (if as Lapid seems to favor) a government of Likud-Betainu, Yesh Atid, Labor and HaTanuah forms then the coalition process becomes even more muddied. Well.. to be honest I can't see that one forming. Can you imagine Sa'ar, Danon, Feiglin working with Livni, and Yachimovich. I can't.

I have no idea how this one will play out. No idea at all....  

Vote for me and all of your wildest dreams will come true!

[ Parent ]
It'll be tricky any way it goes (2.00 / 2)
but there have been some strange coalitions in the past.

I think the idea of Feiglin and Mitzna, who still champions the Geneva Accords (even as he signs on with Livni?), would be pretty weird as well.

It's gonna be an agonizing few weeks...

The future is unwritten

[ Parent ]
Well it looks like Lapid wants to party with Bibi (2.00 / 2)
At least that is what his speech just indicated.

Biberman is holding out the Finance Ministry for Yair and Yair seems to be jumping at the chance (like Mofaz, like Barak) to serve at Bibi's heels. And now all Bibi has to do is talk about "sharing the burden" and Lapid goes running to him like some star-crossed lover.

Now, mind you, you and I probably don't agree on stuff here as I am a supporter of either HaTanuah, or Avodah (But I am also an American so really I don't count for much over there) but, I think what Lapid is doing right now is gobbeldy gook.

He talks about a "Two State solution" well, how does he get that with Danon, or Feiglin much less Bennett if he joins the coalition?

He talks about social justice.... Well how does he get that with Bibi constantly funneling money to his rich pals? At what point will he say enough or even better, at one point will Bibi simply clamp him down.

Finally, since Bibi told UTJ and Shas he already wants them, what happens when Yair starts talking about "sharing the burden" and actually tries to do something about it.

The whole thing is a "belagan" and honestly if you guys are not in new elections by this time next year I will be very, very surprised.  

Vote for me and all of your wildest dreams will come true!

[ Parent ]
Lapid's been angling for a seat (2.00 / 2)
in Bibi's coalition for weeks.  It has always been his intention.  And frankly, I don't see a "gush hosem" a blocking bloc coalescing even as Yachimovich is pushing for it.

If elections by next year, will Lapid still have any credibility?

And though Lapid wants to re-start the peace process, or at least the negotiations dance, there's no way he'd ever get anywhere near what it will take.  He announced his party's diplomatic platform in Ariel and campaigned heavily in the settlements.  He might be a centrist in the context of current Israeli popular opinion, but there's nothing centrist about what he'd be willing to concede.

The only thing that changes the dynamic at this point is a Palestinian push for enfranchisement.  If only East Jerusalem Palestinians would start participating in the political process, things might move.

The future is unwritten

[ Parent ]
No I can't see a Blocking coalition either (2.00 / 1)
So as for Lapid's credibility? It will be gone within one week after he joins that crew and pretty much goes against everything he campaigned for in the election.

As for his "Centrist" creds. on the Two State Solution. He seems to be in line with at least something resembling what most Israelis would do even if that is something that the Left would not agree with. I think the Olmert deal is the best that the Palestinians will ever get at this point in time. I am not Israeli and I only lived there for a year, and have friends and family there so it's not up to me, but, that is all that I would offer if I were Israeli. Again, though, it is not up to me.

You may lament the Palestinians non participation but I think you would be better off telling them that maximalist demands (Right of Return, '67 Borders) simply won't work. They lost that fight so pretty much it's now deal with that.

I do agree though that if they joined the process and accepted a true Two State Solution I think it would be a lot better.  

Vote for me and all of your wildest dreams will come true!

[ Parent ]
22% of mandatory Palestine, East Jerusalem, and some acommodation for refugees (2.00 / 1)
is hardly maximalist.

They won't accept less than that, and even though it would make Israel viable for the long-term, Israel won't agree.  At some point it becomes a struggle for civil rights.  If that happened today, it might bring about 2 states.  If it comes in 10 years, it will spell the end of Israel as a "Jewish" state.  That's one of the ironies I outlined in my diary.  The right is backing Israel into the very situation it fears the most.  

I would be happy living in a single bi-national state that was functional.  And I don't think such a thing is impossible.  Some Jewish Israelis would leave.  But some are leaving all the time.  If there is a stable civil society and economic opportunity, then the cultural project of Zionism will flourish here.  But it will be difficult.

If Bennett wants to secure a "Jewish Home," he should jump on the very terms that you termed maximalist as a golden opportunity.  And if Lapid wants a moderate Zionist state, he should do the same.

The future is unwritten

Honestly I could care less what Bennett wants, I don't support him (2.00 / 3)
And yes 22% of Mandatory Palestine, East Jerusalem, and "some accomodation" of the refugees is "Maximalist" when that "some accomodation" is full Palestinian R.O.R. and includes the Kotel.

I know what Abbas said he would agree too, but, he also said he couldn't make a final agreement without a Public Referendum. SO let the Palestinians come with a final agreement that passes popular referendum to split East Jerusalem, Get some compensation for the Refugees in terms of financial support, and acceptance of Israel as a Jewish State and I will be there jumping up and down to support that.

I think you misunderstand me Strummerson... I am all in favor of Israel stopping construction everywhere and going back to the table. BUT, I also support the Olmert Plan that was put forth in 2007-08.

And I agree with you, if Bennett wants a "Jewish Home" he would jump at that and if Lapid wants a moderate Zionist State, he would do the same. But despite his rhetoric Bennett wants Yisrael HaShlema and wants the Palestinians out of there and Lapid wants a shiny ministers post and who the hell knows what else.  

Vote for me and all of your wildest dreams will come true!

[ Parent ]
I think I understand you quite well (2.00 / 2)
I think you are clearly a person of good will and compassion, a person who wants Israel to be an ethical democratic nation state that has an institutionalized identity that remains Jewish.  I see that you understand how the occupation vexes this, and it seems to me that you also see some legitimacy in Palestinian aspirations and/or necessity in actualizing them for this to become a more peaceful and productive part of the world.

I just thought from our interchanges that those shared perspectives and orientations were clear.  I apologize if my response somehow gave you a different impression.

You mentioned above that you are most supportive of Avodah and Hatnuah in this election cycle.  I think that makes sense as your positions seem to be well expressed by them.  And I think the leaders of these parties are reasonable people of good will (though raving egomaniacs of course, that's a given).  And indeed, Amram Mitzna's view of a viable two state solution is pretty much what I outlined.  But I don't think that most of the rest of the folks on this list would go that far.

As far as Abbas and referenda, we can't demand that this occur prior to hashing out the proposal.  Barak at Camp David also was clear that any agreement would have to pass a referendum.  Part of the problem is that the ball has been dropped so badly.  Abbas never came back with a counter-proposal to Olmert.  That was a huge mistake because it reinforced the impression that the "there is no partner" folks (who don't want a partner) are trying to create.  Israel has worked very hard, both intentionally and unintentionally to undermine his credibility in various ways.  This is also a mistake.  

One of the things that has changed since Camp David, and that I think is meaningful, is the Arab League proposal.  I think it's sincere.  It makes economic sense (and the League is largely a plutocratic oligarchy) and it would undermine Iran's maneuvering to be the primary voice in Dar el Islaam.  I'm pretty confident that if the land swaps were 1-to-1 and Abbas signed off on them it would meet with their approval.  Refugees is stickier.  I think there would need to be some symbolic number of '47 refugees to Israel proper, some money, and a right of return to the new Palestinian State.  But I believe it's worth trying to find a compromise there.  Some of the Palestinian leadership has already embraced this, including figures like Rajoub and Abbed Rabbo.  

As for recognition of a Jewish State, it shouldn't hang anything up.  What is required is a recognition of Israel and its right to self-determine.  Abbas has already done as much.  So have others.  Insistence that Palestinians validate the Zionist narrative is merely a blocking maneuver meant to obstruct.  We don't need to corroborate their narrative; they don't need to corroborate ours.  We just need to recognize the right of the other to form their own narrative as long as it isn't harnessed to war monger.  If negotiation leads to full normalization, and this is precisely what the Arab League plan offers (and we should settle for nothing less) then this will suffice, unless we want to keep fighting over abstractions.  I don't, even as I recognize the importance of these abstractions to each group.  The point is to stop using them against one another, to address material realities having to do with bodies and dunams, and to begin to shift the ethos of the neighborhood.  Even a best case scenario will be a long hall.

My critique of the center-left, the parties you support, is that I think they aren't willing to go far enough, or don't think they can lead the national will to get there.

Finally, my one request, is that you stop all this "I'm not an Israeli, I don't live there qualification."  Sure, and that's why you don't have a vote.  But it doesn't mean that you can't have an opinion that is informed and valid.  Even where our perspectives diverge, yours seems well intentioned, reasonably informed, and productively stated.  So no more apologetics.  I respect your opinions.  If someone else thinks that only Israelis are entitled to form opinions, that's just their own chauvinism and/or defensiveness.  And it's not ethical in my view.

The future is unwritten

[ Parent ]
Well thank you Strummerson... I really appreciate your (2.00 / 2)
understanding and willingness to discuss.

Let me also appreciate one thing you said:

Finally, my one request, is that you stop all this "I'm not an Israeli, I don't live there qualification."  Sure, and that's why you don't have a vote.  But it doesn't mean that you can't have an opinion that is informed and valid.  Even where our perspectives diverge, yours seems well intentioned, reasonably informed, and productively stated.  So no more apologetics.  I respect your opinions.  If someone else thinks that only Israelis are entitled to form opinions, that's just their own chauvinism and/or defensiveness.  And it's not ethical in my view.

There is a lot of "Israel" in my life at the current time. For some reason, it has become really important to me lately (last 2-3 years). You see, I lived there for a year and afterwards when I returned I was so tired of the political games and backbench Zionism that manifests itself in the Jewish Community here in America that I turned away completely for about 15 years. I just felt that for all the AZYF conferences, and World Zionist Youth meetings and all of that, the reality of living in Israel was different. Israel is after all just another country, and while it is special in my mind, it is not a country above human failing.

When I was there, I wanted to make Aliyah. I played Rugby for the Hebrew U. Team and most of my friends there were veterans from either the Tzanchanim or Golani. I wanted to be just like them. The problem was, my vision would have never let me in a Combat Unit so I decided rather than be a clerk I was coming home to America. I was 20 and stupid. Being in Combat is awful, but I was a kid and filled with visions of glory (I know better now at 50). But I am coming there this year to visit and just spend some time in a place I grew to love.

So now, I have come full circle. I am happily married (to a non-Jewish woman) and have two wonderful young boys. Aliyah at this point is out of the question. Still... I do get involved through blogging, practicing my Hebrew, and currently am practicing and training to be a Krav Maga instructor.

SO.. ok that is where my perspective forms itself. Here in the U.S. I am a fairly liberal Democrat (not too far left though) so that kind of thinking provides my base.

For me, I really dislike what I see the Right doing. I think they de-humanize and reduce the Palestinians to cartoon figures of hate. However, I have no illusions about the Palestinians and their ability or desire to live in a single multi-ethnic state. I think some might but most don't and even if they did, their right wing (or hard left) would not make it possible.

As for the Kotel... Maybe Nusseibeh could do it, but, now that it is in Jewish hands, I can't see relinquishing it.

Sorry for rambling, I do appreciate your perspective even if I disagree with it in some ways. I am conflicted here between Israeli and American ways of looking at the issue.

Meanwhile, the coalition talks proceed apace and frankly I can't make heads or tails out of things. It seems like Lapid will join the coalition and has said he could work with Shas on a compromise, but, I don't see how he can join the coalition with UTJ and if Netanyahu goes to HaBayit HaYehudi then that precludes his Two-State demand.  

Vote for me and all of your wildest dreams will come true!

[ Parent ]
btw (2.00 / 1)
The Palestinians aren't demanding The Kotel.  These days, given how disgusting its administration is, and the degree to which it has become an almost idolatrous fetish, I wouldn't mind it being administered by non-Jews.  The Muslim Nusseibeh clan has administered the Church of the Holy Sepulcher quite well since Umar ibn al Khattab because the Catholics and different streams of Orthodox kept fighting.  Maybe that way women would be able to really daven there without being arrested.  

The future is unwritten

[ Parent ]

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