Published by The Freeman Center

The Maccabean Online

Political Analysis and Commentary
on Israeli and Jewish Affairs

"For Zion's sake I shall not hold my peace, And for Jerusalem's sake I shall not rest."

The Outcome of Israel's February 2009 Election - A Rightward Movement
by Yoram Ettinger
The Outcome of Israel's February 2009 Election – A Rightward Movement
by Yoram Ettinger
1.  According to the Israeli law and political (unicameral) tradition, the next Prime Minister will be a party leader, who could produce a bloc of 60+ (out of 120) Knesset Members.  The late Rabin passed the Oslo Accord with a majority of 61 Knesset Members.
2. The Likud-led bloc ascended from a 50 seat minority to a 65 seat majority.  The Kadima-led bloc crashed from a majority of 70 seats to a minority of 55 seats (including 10 seats for three Arab parties!). 
3.  The Netanyahu-led Likud surged from 12 seats in the previous Knesset to 27-8 in the new Knesset, while Livni-led Kadima dropped from 29 to 28 seats.
4.  Kadima has held its own by attracting voters away from two other more dovish parties: Labor (which dropped from 19 to 13 seats) and Meretz (from 5 to 3).  The Dovish vote moved closer to the center.
5.  The count of soldiers' ballots – and inter party "excess agreements" – may accord the Likud bloc 1-2 additional Knesset seats.
6.  Once again, the Israeli electorate delivered a predominantly-hawkish vote.  In 1992, the late Rabin was elected on a hawkish platform (no Palestinian State, no negotiation with the PLO, no negotiation over Jerusalem and no retreat from the Golan).  In 1996 Netanyahu was elected over Peres, the Oslo Man.  In 1999, Barak was elected as a role-model of counter-terrorism warrior.  In 2001 and in 2003, Sharon was elected as a hawk, who opposed restraint in-face-of-terrorism and "Disengagement." 
7.  The reluctance – by the current Kadima led government - to order the IDF to defeat PLO, Hamas and Hizballah terrorism was a key factor, which drove the electorate further to the right.
8.  A February 2-3, 2009 poll of Israeli eligible voters, including Arabs (Prof. Yitzhak Katz, "Ma'agar Mochot" Institute):
*51%:32% oppose the establishment of a Palestinian State in Judea & Samaria;
*52%:22% believe that a Palestinian State in Judea & Samaria would lead to rockets on Jerusalem and central Israel;