The view from my veranda

150318 Election Update

18th March, 2015
It isn’t Shabbat yet but I had a feeling that you would want to hear our views on the result of the Israeli elections. I have a feeling that even the PM was amazed at the result, which gave him (by Israeli terms) a landslide victory. Why? Well there are many reasons and I will try to give you my personal analysis.
1.The speech in the Congress and the enormous theatricals and threats which preceded it taught Israelis that Netanyahu is not cowed by anyone. President Obama made a serious error of judgement, had he kept silent the speech would have passed with little notice.
2.The Israeli media constantly maligned the Netanyahus and it brought them to the front and centre, the people began to feel that the left-leaning press did not represent them, and it was perceived by the people that they should defend their leader.
3. The left, and centre left, have some very good people but they are not seasoned internationally known leaders. Like him or not Mr Netanyahu is the only “manhig” – leader.
4. Since every Jew sees him/herself as a Prime Minister, Israelis tend to form a vast number of parties, all jockeying for a limited audience of voters, so nobody really wins and we have no choice but to form a coalition government – usually by blackmailing the PM into giving high position because he wants you. The Arab and far left factions decided to join forces this time and ignore their differences thus succeeded in achieving  13-14 seats.
5. Many Labour voters, when faced with the new Zionist Union Party, were put off by the introduction of Tsippi Livni. Right or wrong she is not considered stable, having changed party too many times. The campaign was dirty, intentions, plans and manifestos were ignored and it became very personal.
Finally, and probably most importantly, the Israeli electoral system of proportional representation simply doesn’t work. It is both democratic and anti-democratic. It is time for electoral reform moving to a constituency system whereby each representative is just that, representative of his particular constituency. Standing in the polling booth faced with 26 tickets, 26 parties (of which only 11 passed the watershed)  to choose from no wonder we are confused!!!
Such is the democratic process. It is said that the test of true democracy is in losing. It should give the left time to gather its strength and recognise where things went wrong. Whomsoever the Prime Minister, or whatever party/parties lead the country I will accept that leadership, never blindly but I will not lower myself to cheap digs at anyone. The smaller parties lost out to the two major parties which may be a move toward a more logical result. The surprise success was by Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu party – right wing politically but socially orientated.
Over the next days and weeks, Prime Minister Netanyahu will talk, discuss, interview and bargain with other party leaders or representatives to form his coalition – as will Boughie Herzog. Whoever forms the most stable coalition will be asked to form a government by President Rivlin. If you recall, Tsippi Livni had the greatest number of seats but could not form a a coalitition in 2009, ultimately conceding to Likud.
Perhaps the most appropriate song to end this section is Harry Secombes “If I ruled the World” Oh for a politician like Pickwick.
Now for something entirely different – an entirely different sort of party for sure.
Three months in the preparation and secrecy of Mossad proportions ended in a surprise birthday party for Zvi!! My amazing, youthful and ever active husband is 70!! I am sure that there are some who will ask why they weren’t invited but we were tightly limited to numbers and  had to stick to it. Zvi thought he was going to a singing evening and it wasn’t until he suddenly saw all the Israeli grandchildren with T shirts saying Fabulous Saba is 70, that he understood something was afoot! then he saw the “election posters” with Zvi as the leader of all the parties in various disguises each fitting the party!! I can only tell you that as we walked into the room we were surrounded by love, pure love. We were surrounded by friends and family alike who just wanted to hug and kiss us – and express their love of Zvi. The choir sang (with Zvi) and the gorgeous Shiro sang a beautiful song written by our dear friend Eli Yaron, dedicated to and all about Zvi’s life, decade by decade, which they recorded to CD and gave to everyone. Hopefully I will have a link to it before my next letter.  Amiad and Leor, Zvi’s sons, created a magnificent slide show of photographs of Zvi through the years – including what they called the “Forest Gump” period with all the worlds leaders! Relations and friends from all over the world made congratulatory videos and then Leor spoke of his father. It was a truly wonderful speech, coming to the conclusion that although he loves to argue with almost everything Zvi says, since becoming a father himself he  appreciates the wisdom of his fathers words. It made me think of the Arik Einstein song – Oof Gozal, about leaving the nest as all our children have done with great success.
To sum up the elections for those who are surprised at Mr Netanyahus win, don’t be. When the world is against you, you don’t pick the sweetest guy on the block to defend you – you choose someone who will stand up to bullies and fight on your behalf. In the same way as one should not believe the media hype on other things, don’t believe everything they say about Netanyahu. He is not ultra-right, he defends his country. If the centrist parties are able to join his coalition then I have a feeling he will try to reach an agreement with them. Remember that the diplomatic rules that apply in the USA, UK, Australia, Canada or Europe do not apply in this region.
Adlai Stevenson once said “Every man has a right to be heard; but no man has the right to strangle democracy with a single set of vocal chords.” The media has been guilty of a single set of vocal chords for too long.
Perhaps the whole political scene, yours mine and theirs, is summed up in this song – HaGashash HaHiver – Ovdim Aleinu – from the Israeli Elections 1981.
I wish Prime Minister Netanyahu a successful term, the wisdom to choose partners who will not take us to extreme positions; the ability to listen; the competence to make the right decisions; the generosity of spirit to recognise his allies and the determination to make life better for our young people so that they will have the incentive to stay here and raise their families here………… and that the world will be kinder in its judgments.
With much love from Jerusalem.
For those who still have a sense of humour, William Beebee sent me some political jokes!
If God wanted us to vote, he would have given us candidates.~Jay Leno~
 The problem with political jokes is that they get elected.~Henry Cate, VII~
 We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.                                  ~Aesop~
 If we got one-tenth of what was promised to us in these State of the Union speeches, there wouldn’t be any inducement to go to heaven.   ~Will Rogers~
Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge even where there is no river.~Nikita Khrushchev~
 When I was a child I was told that anybody could become President; I’m beginning to believe it.~Clarence Darrow~
 Why pay money to have your family tree traced; go into politics and your opponents will do it for you.~Author unknown~
 Politicians are people who, when they see light at the end of the tunnel, go out and buy some more tunnel.~John Quinton~
 Politics is the gentle art of getting votes from the poor and campaign funds from the rich, by promising to protect each from the other.   ~Oscar Ameringer~
 I offer my opponents a bargain: if they will stop telling lies about us, I will stop telling the truth about them.~Adlai Stevenson, campaign speech, 1952~
 A politician is a fellow who will lay down your life for his country.

If the media does not inform us we must inform the media

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