Once again, I begin by reporting a terror attack. On Shabbat, an ultra-Orthodox man, 20, was stabbed in the back by a Palestinian Arab youth in Jerusalem’s Givat HaMivtar neighborhood, between French Hill and Ramat Eshkol in eastern Jerusalem. The attacker was from the Palestinian Arab village of Anata, outside of Jerusalem.
The victim was found lying in a park with the knife in his back. Following surgery he was declared serious but stable.
After the attack, the Arab ran; police on the scene pursued him to the Shimon Hatzadik neighborhood. At one point, he turned to face the police. One officer saw something in his hand and, perceiving a danger, shot (wounded) him. This happened very close to where children were playing, which rendered the situation that much more critical.
This incident – and dozens more like it – simply reinforce the imperative:
Israel’s elections on the first of November must result in a right-wing government!!
This is, of course, first and primarily for Israel’s sake. The alternative is not acceptable – not with regard to the security of Israel and not with regard to Israel as a Jewish state.
But it is for the sake of the Western world, as well. We must not continue to be in a position of modeling the sort of weakness that we have been seeing with Yair Lapid, who is interim prime minister. The eyes of the world are on us.
We need every Israeli citizen who hopes for a right-wing government to go out and vote, whether for Likud or Religious Zionists, or for one of the two ultra-Orthodox parties, if that is the voter’s choice.
Each of us must accept this responsibility with utmost seriousness.
The possibility for a very positive outcome exists. It is within our reach. But it is uncertain, and depends upon many factors – primary among them, voter turn-out.
For weeks, there had been a madhouse with regard to the electoral situation. Stability was lacking. Parties merged, and broke apart. Individuals moved from one party to another. The situation has settled now as the parties are registered and their lists are set. But the atmosphere remains fraught with tensions and very ugly campaigning.
I continue to remind myself and my readers that the polls are notoriously unreliable. Yet there remains an impulse to track the results, which fluctuate. Likud consistently polls with the highest number of mandates (Knesset seats). For a short while, the right was polling at the 61 mandates necessary for forming a government. In most of the latest polls this bloc has slipped back to 60, on the edge; but according to channel 14, the right has 62 mandates. It is important to keep in mind that the number of mandates received collectively by the right wing is even more important than how many mandates Likud gets.
If there is to be a right-wing coalition, it will be led by Bibi Netanyahu. Likud polls consistently as the largest party – and higher with Bibi at the helm. While in certain political circles there remains “anyone but Bibi” sentiment (which I consider a sickness in its irrational ferocity), the fact of the matter is that many love him and remain loyal to him.
One rumor being bandied about is that Netanyahu will turn his back on his right-wing potential partners and seek a centrist unity government by joining with Benny Gantz, who is polling at about 12 mandates. (His Blue & White party is merged with Gideon Sa’ar’s New Hope to form the National Unity Party. Former chief of staff Gadi Eisenkot – a “two-state” man – has joined them.
Gantz has sworn that he will not go with Netanyahu: “I won’t sit with Netanyahu, under any scenario, and I won’t hold negotiations with him…”
And Bibi, for his part insists that Likud “will not go with them [Gantz or Lapid], in a rotational premiership or in any other way.”
Let us hope that this will hold. There is indication that Bibi has taken the pulse of the nation and recognizes that the future of Israel is in a rightward direction.
The growth of the Religious Zionist party is the biggest story of this election; it is now polling at 14, with more mandates than the party of Gantz and Sa’ar. I suspect they may move even beyond those 14.
The star of this story is Itamar Ben Gvir, who has joined his party, Otzma Yehudit, with Bezalel Smotrich’s Religious Zionists and is second on the list.
He is proving to be enormously popular among young right-wing Israelis, and I believe that this tells us 1) that the young people are tired of how matters in this country are being handled, and 2) that the future of Israel is indeed rightward.
For a while Bibi avoided public contact with Ben Gvir, presumably to avoid alienating centrist supporters. But on Sunday, when asked whether Ben-Gvir could be a minister in a government he headed, he replied, “He certainly can be. Anyone who is elected in Religious Zionism can be…”
The most disturbing and reprehensible aspect of this campaign has been the attempt on the left to vilify the Religious Zionists and Ben Gvir. Charges have been made against him that strike me as libelous. They claim that he is “racist.” In one piece in a major Israeli publication it was suggested that Ben Gvir’s programs would approach apartheid. This is horrific: unmitigated nonsense.
I want to caution my readers not to be taken in by this.
He is not a racist. He welcomes Arabs who are loyal Israelis, but is opposed to the anti-Zionist Arabs with Israeli citizenship or residency rights who seek to undermine Israeli stability and security. I applaud his position as I am deeply concerned about the fifth column and an eroding of the Jewish nature of Israel by those Arabs who declare that Israel must be a “nation state of all its citizens.”
Consider this example of Israeli Arab disloyalty, one of many:
“A serious security indictment was filed on Thursday…against three Israeli Arabs who reside in the north. The three are accused of aiding the enemy, providing information to the enemy with the intent of harming the security of the state, contact with a foreign agent, destroying evidence, and conspiring to aid the enemy in a time of war.” The full article makes it clear that the indicted Israeli Arabs had long-standing Hamas sympathies. One is a software engineer who worked for CellCom and had access to broad information.
I would suggest celebrating Ben Gvir for his clear vision, unhampered by a left-wing politically correct approach.
Perhaps most enraging about the leftist position is that while Ben Gvir is accused of being so radical that he is a danger to the nation, it was considered acceptable to enfold into the (recently failed) coalition – in order to secure sufficient mandates to make the coalition! – the Ra’am party, which is an anti-Zionist political arm of the southern branch of the Islamic Movement.
This was the beginning of an Israel gone very wrong politically. The corrective is past due.
Nor is Ben Gvir the only member of Religious Zionists being attacked. MK Simcha Rothman has come forward, in cooperation with Smotrich, with a plan to reform the judicial system. On the left, there are charges that Rothman will destroy Israel’s justice system, when in fact he hopes to save it. Please, take the time to see what he has to say about the situation in this brief video. This is a very important issue:
Years ago, I told my grandchildren that I wasn’t sure I would vote for Yair Lapid for dogcatcher. They were a bit confused about what a dogcatcher was, but they got my message. It hasn’t changed.
Lapid, a self-serving leftist, has subverted laws of this nation (with, I might add, the sanction of the High Court) as he pushed ahead the maritime deal with Lebanon at a disadvantage to Israel. It is not a coincidence that he insisted it had to be completed before the election. He knew it would not be possible after, and he was determined to tout this as a major victory for Israel that averted war with Lebanon – his major victory.
Of course, the opposite was true, as he caved to threats by Hezbollah, and caving signals weakness that makes attack from Hezbollah more likely in the future. This is leftist thinking – the precise opposite of what we need now.
I have covered my concerns about this deal in previous postings. I share here an assessment of the situation by Alex Traiman, Jerusalem Bureau Chief of Jewish News Syndicate.
Along with his full critique, Traiman says this:
“In short, Lapid does not have a mandate from the electorate to govern the country and is meant to be a caretaker prime minister to handle both normal and urgent affairs until a new government can be sworn in. Yet Lapid is trying to prove to Israelis that he is fit to lead the country, using his caretaker post as the seat of his election campaign.”
Let us add to this, then, information provided in an op-ed by Ruthie Blum regarding the way Lapid is courting the Arabs for votes. This is not a man concerned with the Jewish nature of Israel.
Lapid is currently about four mandates behind Likud. Prime Minister? No way. Dogcatcher, maybe.
The last issue I raise here brings us full circle from the beginning of this posting and my report on a terror attack. Yes, we have had IDF operations in places such as Jenin and Nablus. Yes, we have captured, and killed some terrorist, stopped many attacks from happening. But the current government has not done nearly enough. Meir Deutsch, Director of Regavim, put it very well in an op-ed today (emphasis added):
“As the High Holy Days segue into a mundane routine, the Israeli public has become accustomed to a strange new normal: the morning terrorist shooting attack is followed by the afternoon car-ramming attack, and sandwiched between them the news feed is filled with descriptions of violent Arab rioting in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem…
“…according to Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) data, September was marked by 254 terrorist attacks, two fatalities and 14 injured. These joined the tally of 3,702 documented terrorist attacks in Judea and Samaria in the first half of 2022, as reported by Rescuers Without Borders (Hatzalah Yosh), the first responder unit that documents every barbaric attempted murder.
“…In the face of this tsunami of violence, many wonder – justifiably – what Defense Minister Benny Gantz has been doing to keep busy over the past few weeks. Gantz, who has gone to great lengths to cultivate his image as ‘Mr. Defense’ as the elections draw closer, hasn’t said a word.”
The left has neither the courage nor the will to take the action – a major operation – that is necessary. The situation cries for a right-wing government.
Please! Share this information as broadly as possible.
Finally…as we promote the electoral strength of the right now, we must consider the parties may not cross the threshold. There is strong speculation that the Arab Balad party will not, and possibly one of the other Arab parties. (Arab parties that used to run as a bloc have separated out: there is Balad, Ra’am and Hadash-Tal.) There is a good chance Meretz, the Jewish party furthest to the left, will not make it, and possibly not Labor either. In addition, Ayelet Shaked, who now heads the Jewish Home Party, is also looking very shaky.
As votes are counted, the way in which a mandate is determined depends on how the vote total must be divided. If several of the small parties fail to make the threshold (3.25% of the vote), it almost guarantees a right-wing win.
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by independent journalist Arlene Kushner. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.