Israel is in a political stalemate
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Israel is in a political stalemate


Israel is in a prime position
Benjamin Netanyahu Photo: Baz Ratner / Getty Images

The next parliamentary election was held in Israel in early March – the third in less than a year. Attempts to elect a new prime minister and form a government were unsuccessful: neither the ruling Likud party nor its rivals could form a coalition.

Through the polls, this time, the situation may still repeat. But now, not only is the future of a country that has spent billions of dollars on endangered elections, but also the career of incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is being accused corruption.

So what is the cause of the political impasse in Israel and whether this country can escape or not?

All are confused

The first, unsuccessful parliamentary election, was held in the Jewish state in the spring of 2019, and the second was in September. In particular, the ruling Likud party led by Netanyahu and its main rival, the Kahol-Lavan bloc, led by Beni Ganz, received approximately the same number of delegates.

As a result, none of the prime minister candidates could form a coalition.

The root of the problem lies in the unresolved conflicts of Israeli society as well as the Knesset electoral system (Israeli-ND Parliament). The Israeli parliament has 120 seats, divided among the parties after having passed the electoral threshold of 3.25%.

After the seats have been allocated, the delegates will propose to the presidential candidate for prime minister position. Usually, it is not necessarily the leader of the party with the most votes.

The candidate must then form a ruling coalition with at least 61 delegates, failing to achieve this, failing to form a government. If this person fails, the right to form an alliance will be transferred to the next competitor from another party.

This happened in September. Neither Netanyahu nor Ganz can form an alliance, because parties representing the interests of different parts of society do not want to ally with each other.

Likud, traditionally, relies on religious movements and rightists on the ladder of political views. Kakhol-Lavan, though not much different ideologically than Likud, is more willing to make a deal with leftist parties. However, none of these combinations guarantees the provision of at least 61 required credentials.

In this situation, the trump cards are in the hands of former Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman. His “Israel – Our House” Party (NDI) has 7-8 delegates expected to be able to be in the right-wing coalition and ensure left-wing conditions.

Israel is in a prime position
Avigdor Liberman Photo: Ammar Awad / Reuters

However, he will not be affiliated with the right-wing faction, because he is opposing religious dictatorship, and the left is not suitable for him because of differences in ideology and close relations. close to the Arab delegates.

The way Lieberman proposed was a national unity government, consisting of the Likud, Kakhol-Lavan and NDI parties, in which representatives of the Likud and Kakhol-Lavan parties would serve as prime minister for a period of two years.

But here, the rivals could not agree with each other: Ganz stated that he would not be able to become part of the Netanyahu government, when the incumbent prime minister was facing lawsuits. .

Netanyahu’s future

For the current Prime Minister, the current election is really a problem not only related to political career, but also to personal freedom. He was charged with accepting bribes in the form of luxury items, including champagne barrels,

And in exchanging services with the owner of the largest Israeli media company Bezeq, in order to shed light on the evidence of the head of government activities in the media.

If convicted of bribery, Netanyahu risks 10 years in prison. And he could face another 3 years in prison for fraud and violation of public trust.

If Netanyahu is lucky to be re-elected, this will be the first case in Israel’s history that a current prime minister has been charged by the court. In a similar situation in 2008, Ehud Olmert resigned as prime minister and later spent 18 months in prison.

Winning the previous elections is very important for Netanyahu – it will allow him to try to implement the so-called “French law”, ensuring the Prime Minister’s inviolable right.

However, this point was missed – the hearing is scheduled to begin on March 17, while a new government has not yet been established. Mr. Netanyahu is likely to follow suit for months in the future.

However, the prime minister still declared that he was innocent, and did not appear to be afraid – at the end of January, he even withdrew Knesset’s waiver request, calling the discussion on the subject ” a circus and a dirty game that he didn’t want to participate in any more.

In case, if Netanyahu did not become head of government, under Israeli law, he would not be able to hold other minister positions. However, this did not nearly mark the end of his political career.

Ahead of the third election, in the Likud party, preliminary elections were held which once again affirmed Netanyahu as an obvious leader.

Israeli commentators argue that in the new government, Netanyahu may play a role with no formal power, but can control the affairs of ministers through Likud’s loyalists. he.

Such an arrangement could be very convenient, the influential Haaretz newspaper in Israel commented. “In many respects, while the trial goes on for months, such a position may become ideal for him, because he still holds power in the government, but will not be held responsible. for anything ”.

Israel is in a prime position
People on posters of the opposition. Benny Ganz on the left, Netanyahu on the right Photo: Oded Balilty / AP

Israeli-style political PR

The main slogan of this long election season is “Only Bibi!” and “As long as not Bibi!” (Bibi is a nickname that people call Netanyahu – TG). In fact, Israel has almost never talked about such political platforms.

It is important for supporters of Likud to keep Netanyahu in power, despite the doubts about corruption and the fact that he is the longest standing prime minister in the country’s history.

The party doesn’t even have a political agenda – voters vote not for ideals, but only for a strong leader.

The neutral block “Kahol-Lavan” presents its program formally. It is filled with populism and bombastic promises such as increasing budgets for health and education or launching more aggressive offensive against the Hamas movement.

However, the party leaders did not hide the fact that it was essential for them to remove Netanyahu from the position of prime minister. Voters of Kahol-Lavan want to vote to change power.

Netanyahu’s trump cards are the experience of many years of rule and presence in the world’s political elite.

Before the second election, the Likud headquarters was decorated with large posters showing Netanyahu in contact with leaders of such caliber: US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaru.

The slogan on the posters reads: “Likud is in a different rank”. The campaign has caused controversy, especially for the Russian-speaking Israeli community, many of whom immigrated to Israel because of dissatisfaction with politics in their home countries.

However, Netanyahu’s warm relationship with world leaders is more than just a poster. Just before the first election, in April 2019, Netanyahu personally asked Putin, and the Russian military helped bring the remains of Israeli sergeant Zachariah Baumel to the country. The soldier’s body has remained in Lebanon since the 1980s.

For Israelis, returning one of their soldiers, whether alive or dead, is a matter of national honor. Residents shed tears watching the sergeant of the sergeant Zachariah Baumel return to Israel in a live broadcast. This may have brought some new votes to the Likud party.

Prior to the second election, Netanyahu’s claims were strong: he promised that if he won the election, he would occupy residential areas on the West Bank of the Jordan River. Near the end of the third election, Netanyahu drew several more trump cards.

First, at the request of the Israeli prime minister, Vladimir Putin released Naamu Issahar, who was charged with drug trafficking and sentenced to 7.5 years in prison, out of a Russian prison.

This gesture was expressed as a favor of a great leader to another leader, rather than an agreement between nations, however, the fact that Israel was officially transferred. giving Russia ownership of the Alexander Historical Site in Jerusalem, a site that the Russian Orthodox Church has struggled to reclaim for years.

The second card – another great friend of Netanyahu, Donald Trump, published the details of the “century agreement” – a plan to peacefully resolve the conflict between Palestine and Israel.

The deal has been rejected by both Palestinians and many Arab countries, but is regarded as a support for Israel. Specifically, the deal involves Israel acquiring a large portion of the West Bank of the Jordan River – something Netanyahu’s right-wing voters really want.

Israel is in a prime position
Vladimir Putin, Sarah and Benjamin Netanyahu Photo: Heidi Levine / AP

Israel was too tired

The political impasse that Israel is falling into cannot be left without a trace. According to the Israeli Association of Industrialists, successive elections have cost about 12 billion shekels ($ 3.5 billion).

Meanwhile, in fact, the absence of government cannot support the state’s operating processes. As a result, the country has yet to approve a budget for 2020, which means that social payments and other payments are not ongoing or made.

The state cannot fully respond to an external threat: before the election, southern Israel was subjected to missile attacks from the Gaza Strip.

As for the Hamas group, which holds power in the region and its opponents in the “Islamic Jihad” group of Palestine, the political dilemma in Israel is an opportunity for them to receive more receive numerous concessions and dividends in the form of multi-million dollar trenches and shelters that Qatar has transferred to the Gaza Strip via Israel to ease the humanitarian crisis.

In the end, both the voters and the political apparatus were tired of endless elections that led to nothing. This fatigue is the only hope hoping to find a solution.

According to the polls, Likud and Kakhol-Lavan will again receive the same number of credentials 33-34 and 32-33. This means that in the end, one of the main players will have to compromise, otherwise, the country will have fourth, fifth, sixth elections – etc. and it is unknown when it will ever end. .

  • Nguyen Quang

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