Occupation is fun!

Posted: July 12th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: In the News, media | Tags: , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

wall2

I posted here yesterday the new Cellcom commercial, which I believe breaks some records in bad taste, even by Israeli standards. I would like to add now one more thought about the way this commercial represents the current moment in Israel.

I agree with Dimi Reider who writes in his blog that:

Ads aimed at the general market, like this one, are invaluable time capsules, representing public mood much more faithfully than any art. They can’t afford to affront and lose a single customer – and thus they document not just what a society really is, but what it really thinks itself to be, which can be just as decisive as facts and figures. 

This goes even further: this commercial was done by McCann Erickson Israel, the largest advertising company in Israel, for what is probably their biggest client – Cellcom, Israel’s leading cell phone provider. So one can assume that many people were involved in writing and approving the commercial, including McCann Erickson’s top directors and managers. In that sense, the commercial is no “mistake” by some low level copywriter.

Now, I would like to offer an assumption: I bet the people who wrote this commercial are not right-wing people (it is not such a radical though – according to the socio-economical profile of the people in the advertising business, they are likely to be voting for Kadima, Labor and even Meretz). What I mean is that although some people in Israel find this commercial to be in bad taste, even offending, the Israeli mainstream sees nothing wrong with it – in fact, some comments on the internet even regarded it as one that advocates peace, since instead of fighting, the soldiers and the (unseen) Palestinians are having fun playing soccer.

Read the rest of this entry »


This Government

Posted: March 26th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: elections, The Right, the US and us | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

The weeks leading to Passover are always the busiest of the year for Israeli newspapers, mine included, so I don’t get to update the blog as often as I would like to.

Naturally, the big political news of the week is Labor joining the Likud government. I discussed more than once the possibility of Kadima joining Netanyahu, but to most people’s surprise, Tzipi Livni stood firm, and left the Likud with an extreme right wing coalition. Netanyahu’s conclusion from his failed first term in the PM’s office was that this sort of government can’t survive, so he did everything in his power to have Labor as his left cushion. And still, he would have never made it unless the man at the head of the Labor party was Ehud Barak.

Read the rest of this entry »


It’s Going to Get Ugly

Posted: March 6th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: elections, In the News, The Right | Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off

As I wrote here before, I believe that a Right-wing narrow government is a better option now than a “national unity government” with Netanyahu as PM and Kadima and possibly Labor joining in. But make no mistake -  there will be a dear price to pay for the return of the extreme-right to power.

Professor Zeev Sternhell – who was injured recently in an assassination attempt on his life, probably by an extreme-right terror group – touches this issue in Haaretz today:

The danger in such a government is far graver with regard to domestic issues than to issues of war and peace – because in foreign policy, including the Iranian issue, the power to make the crucial decisions is in any case in the hands of the United States and the European Union. Israel is not going to arrive at any agreement with the Arabs without American sanctions. However, no one is going to intervene if the Israelis decide to destroy the rule of law for themselves, devour human rights to the bone, establish their own rules of ethics and their own legal norms…

No doubt, it’s going to get very ugly.


Why do I Support a Right Wing Government

Posted: February 19th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: elections, In the News, The Left, The Right, the US and us | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

This blog is written from the Left. I try to describe events in the most objective way, but I don’t hide my views. I believe that our first political obligations as Israelis is to do all that we can to end the forty two years old occupation of the West Bank, and to stop the siege on Gaza, which is another form of occupation. I also think that racism is becoming a major problem in Israeli society, and that we must do everything in our power to fight it. These are the principles I see in front of me when I consider which government is best for Israel.

The options range between bad and worse. The parties that advocate a full withdrawal from the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and who are truly committed to democratic values, got three percent of the Jewish vote in the last elections. Three.

Read the rest of this entry »


Livni’s Big Test

Posted: February 16th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: elections, In the News | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off

livnee_zipiOn Thursday morning, president Shimon Peres is expected to start consultations with party leaders, in order to decide who should be given the task of forming a new government. This is the deadline for Benjamin Netanyahu to secure his Right wing block of 65 MKs.

Once he gets the nomination, the real game will begin. Netanyahu wants to form a broad coalition, with Kadima as a senior partner, balanced by some right wing or religious parties. He believes that a big coalition, with one or more partners from the left, is the key for his political survival. Netanyahu will have to overcome some opposition from within his party, because a big coalition also means less cabinet positions for Likud members, but he will probably be able to pull it off.

That leaves everything in the hands of Tzipi Livni.

Read the rest of this entry »


Final Results

Posted: February 14th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: elections, Polls | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

The final results of the general elections were published on Thursday evening. Here they are, together with the polls’ average I posted here and my own projection.

elections-final

Everyone missed out on the big surprise of the election – Kadima passing the Likud and becoming the biggest party again. The reason is simple: a new law prevents publishing polls in the last 4 days before an election. In the days leading to the elections, there was a significant move of voters from left-wing parties to Kadima, probably in order to stop Netanyahu. Meretz and Labor lost 3-4 MKs to Kadima in the 72 hours prior to the elections.

Read the rest of this entry »


Elections Night

Posted: February 10th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: elections, In the News | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

netanyahu_bibi2:15 AM. As I write this post, around 25 percent of the votes have been counted, and one thing is clear: Benjamin Netanyahu is Israel’s next Prime minister

Don’t let Kadima’s narrow advantage in the exit polls fool you. These results are going to change as more votes come in, but even if Kadima maintains its lead, the Right wing will have a clear majority in the Knesset. That means that Tzipi Livni won’t be able to form a government, or to stop Netanyahu from forming one. The game is over.

2:40 AM: Ynet reports that after counting 83 percent of the polls, Kadima leads with 29 MKs, while the Likud has 27. Meretz suffered the biggest blow: Israel’s liberal party has only 3 MKs. The Right maintains its lead, with 64 MKs out of 120.

3:00 AM. Final results will only be published in a couple of days, but as things look now, we will have a Right-Center coalition, probably with Netanyahu as PM. He will try to have Livni and Kadima as his senior partners. Yes, all the leftists who voted for Livni in order to stop Netanyahu will discover that they actually helped him build a more stable coalition.

If for some reason Kadima will refuse to join Netanyahu’s government, he will have the option to form a coalition with the Extreme-Right and Orthodox parties.

3:05 AM. The “good” news: Liberman with 15 seats for now. He might get to 16 when the soldiers votes are added. It is still too much for the populist and racist politician he is, but far from the 20 MKs his supporters were hoping for.

3:30 AM. More than 90 percent of the votes are in. Kdima has 29 seats, Likud 27, Israel Beitenu 15, Labor 13, Shas 11, Yahadut Hatorah 4, Hadash 4, Raam 4, Ihud Leumi 4, Meretz 3, Balad 3, Habait Hayehudi 3. There will be some minor changes when the soldiers’ votes are counted, and all seat allocation rules applied.

3:35 AM. No reason to party. Going to sleep.

MORNING UPDATE: Kdima 28 seats, Likud 27, Israel Beitenu 15, Labor 13, Shas 11, Yahadut Hatorah 5, Hadash 4, Raam 4, Ihud Leumi 4, Meretz 3, Balad 3, Habait Hayehudi 3. 150,000 votes, mainly soldiers’, left to count.


Elections Projection

Posted: February 9th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: elections, this is personal | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Here is my projection:

Likud 26

Kadima 25

Israel Beitenu 18

Labor 15

Shas 10

Meretz 6

Yahadut Hatorah 5

Ihud Leumi 4

Bait Yehudi 3

Hadash 4 (*)

Raam 4

Balad, The Greens, The Green Movement, Gil – not passing the 2% threshold.

Right-Orthodox Block: 66 MKs.
Left-Center Block: 54 MKs

(*) This is where I stand.


The Last Polls

Posted: February 7th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: elections, Polls | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

A new law forbids publishing polls in the four days before the elections, in order not to influence voters’ decisions. The Israeli media published yesterday its final polls.

The numbers are not that different from one poll to another, and they all show a clear advantage for the Right-Orthodox block led by Benjamin Netanyhu (*). This means Netanyhau will be Israel’s next prime minister, even in the unlikely event of Tzipi Livni’s Kadima being the biggest party. Our average gives the Right a bit more than 67 MKs, meaning he can form a government even without taking in the extreme-right “Ihud Leumi” party. As I wrote before, Netanyahu will surly try to get Labor or Kadima into his government as well. Given the advantage he has now, it shouldn’t be too hard.

Here are the numbers. The later polls are on the right. The grey column on the right end of the table is our polls average. On Monday I will post my own prediction. 

(Click on the table to see it in full size)

final-polls

Avigdor Liberman is the big winner of the elections. His party will probably pass Labor and become Israel’s third largest. The latest polls indicate that he is still getting stronger, so given the fact that we have three more days before the elections, even a 20 plus result for “Israel Beitenu” won’t be a big surprise.

Liberman’s success is helping Kadima, who is getting slightly stronger, probably because of voters wishing to balance his power in the next Knesset. There are 1-2 percent of Left-leaning undecided voters, most of them women, hanging between Kadima and Meretz. Barak’s labor is not an option for them.

Labor’s war bump has stopped, and the latest polls show the party even weakening a bit. This goes to show that the public is still not trusting Ehud Barak with anything but national security.

Shas and Yahadut Hatorah, the two orthodox parties, are very stable in the polls, but one has to remember that Shas usually over-performs in the elections.

The Arab Balad party is in real danger of not passing the 2 percent minimum threshold. It’s also more than probable that the two environmental parties (“The Green Movement” and “The Greens”) won’t enter the Knesset. Their campaign has been hurt by the war, but still, if they ran together, they would have gotten in. If Balad does stay out of the Knesset, that means that the Center-Left Coalition has lost up to five seats because of parties not passing the minimum threshold.

Read the rest of this entry »


Today’s polls, February 4-5

Posted: February 5th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: elections, Polls | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

we have 5 new polls in the last couple of days. We will probably have more tomorrow, and I’ll update the table as soon as possible.

The 30 MKs result for the Likud in “Israel Hayom”’s poll seems a bit too high, and so does the 20-21 for Liberman in the Globes poll. All the rest of the results make sense. Liberman’s “Israel Beitenu” party  is still gaining ground, while the Likud is stable around 27 for some time. The Right-Orthodox block keeps a 10-12 MKs advantage over the Left-Center block (*). That means Netanyahu is our next PM.

Balad party is in real danger of not getting into the Knesset, while Hadash is getting somewhat stronger. On the Right, “Habait Hayehudi” should be a bit worried as well.

Five more days to go. Here are the numbers (click on the table to see it in full size).

polls-5

Read the rest of this entry »