Lessons of the election

There are several important lessons to be learned from the outcome of the Israeli election:

1. The Israeli public is predominantly right-wing and outright opposition to Israeli policies and particularly insults to our Prime Minister only brought out the vote.  Thus, Pres. Obama’s consistent anti-Israel declarations and evident pro-Islamic bias together with his constant hostility towards Bibi Netanyahu only served to provide more support for Netanyahu as our next PM.  You could say the situation boomeranged on Pres. Obama and now he has to put up with Netanyahu as PM throughout the rest of his lame-duck Presidency.

2. The liberal media, both in Israel and internationally, did everything it could to boost Isaac Herzog, leader of the left-wing camp, and to downgrade Netanyahu and Likud, to the extent that they repeated ad nauseam the mantra that the Likud was consistently 3-4 seats behind the Labor/Zionist Union.  Whereas in fact the result was exactly the opposite, so how could they get this so wrong, only by consistent self-gratifying bias.

3. The Israeli electorate was principally concerned with security rather than domestic economic issues (such as housing), contrary to many reports, and this means that Netanyahu has strong support for his policies of continuing to build on the West Bank as well as retaliating against Palestinian unilateral moves.  In fact the Palestinian issue played almost no role in this election and to the chagrin of the Palestinians, their cause, while receiving great PR around the liberal western world, has almost no traction here in the Middle East, where the issues of Iran and IS are far more significant and dangerous.

4.  Issues such as “bottlegate”, the payments made to Sara Netanyahu for used bottles, and the costs of the PM’s official house, were clearly designed to tarnish Netanyahu’s reputation, but they had no effect on the electoral process and have largely been forgotten.

5.  The issue of large vs small parties played a role, people saw that it was important to vote for Likud rather than the smaller right wing parties, such as Yisrael Beitanu (Lieberman) and Bayit Yehudi (Bennett) and this boosted Likud.   Now that Netanyahu has only five smaller parties to deal with, Yisrael Beitanu (5 seats), Bayit Yehudi (9), Shas (7), UTJ (7) and Kulanu (10), in order to get a majority, he should have relatively easy negotiations for a coalition.

6.  Moshe Kahlon of Kulanu emphasized economic domestic issues, which makes him a perfect fit with Netanyhau to make him Finance Minister, in place of Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid), since Kahlon was always Likud.  In this way, Kahlon will replace Lapid and he will be more cooperative with Netanyahu than Lapid was.  This will force Lapid into the opposition where he belongs, with the left and the Arabs.

7. Netanyahu’s speech to Congress had none of the dire consequences that his opponents, both in Israel and the US, foretold.  The US-Israel alliance is still extremely strong, stronger than Pres. Obama’s ability to damage it, and Netanyahu’s standing in Israel gained from his forthright statement of Israel’s interests vis-a-vis Iran and the agreement being negotiated.

Overall, the hostility of Obama and the liberal media and Bibi’s own role in international affairs played into his hands as the fighting underdog.  He played his role very effectively and won handsomely.

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