As we all sit down to figure out the elections in Israel, one has to remember the old Jewish joke about the guy who is stranded on a desert island. After years alone, he is finally rescued, and he takes his rescuers on a tour of his patch of land. They pass two huts, and the rescuers ask the Jew what they are. He tells them one is the synagogue he used to go to, and the second is the one he now goes to!
That is what happened in this election. Why did the right end up with only 60 seats, and not the 66-68 seats that are naturally theirs? Because they built a second hut. Over 7% (247,967) of the votes cast were wasted on parties that did not make the threshold (2%) to get into the Knesset. The votes that went to parties on the right that did not make the threshold, as far as I was able to calculate, would have given the right an additional 6 seats.
When you analyze the votes there is one fact that becomes clear: the people of Israel were voting with their pockets first and security second. The one party that got that was Yair Lapid’s, Yesh Atid.
On issues of security and defense over 2/3 of those parties elected all had the same platform: no division of Jerusalem; acceptance of a Palestinian entity based on defensible and secure borders for Israel; and a fine red line on Iran. The split of the votes went on the domestic issues, and that is something that the new government will have to address and deal with when they finish the coalition agreements.
In the end Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has the chance to build a strong coalition of 80-plus seats in his new government, within which all parties share the same platform on national security, and address the issues that need fixing, including the economy.
The real loser of these elections was not Bibi, but the left. The great and mighty Labor party got only 15 seats, and with Meretz getting 6, there are only 21 seats on the left to boast about. From my view that’s nothing to be proud of.
In addition, the great and mighty Kadima is left with only 2 seats. Tzipi Livni, who thought that she would be Prime Minister, received only 6 seats.
So when all is said and done Bibi’s message to the world after these elections should be the following:
“Israelis do know what is good for them: a united and undivided capital of the Jewish state, Jerusalem; secure and defensible borders; and last but not least, a non-nuclear Iran”.
The final count is as follows:
31 – Likud
19 – Yesh Atid (Lapid)
15 – Labor
11 – Shas
11 – Bayit Hayehudi (Bennet)
07 – Yehutad Hatorah (Aguda)
06 – Hatnuah (Livni)
06 – Meretz
12 – Arab parties (5-UAL, 4-Hadash, 3-Balad)
02 – Kadima