Friday, March 13, 2015

Who Would You Vote For?

From top L - R: Netanyahu, Herzog, Livni Bennett, Liberman Lapid & Kahlon
I like the American electoral system. Where the President is directly voted upon by the public. There are usually 2 candidates.The the candidate with the most votes usually becomes the leader of the free world – also known as the President of the United States.

By contrast, I truly dislike the Israeli electoral system. There are many parties. The leader of the nation is chosen by the party with the most votes. Or more precisely the party that can put together a coalition consisting of smaller parties that will give them a majority in the Keneset - Israel’s parliament. The head of the largest party in that coalition becomes Prime Minister.That means that people who want to see a certain individual lead their country might vote for a party they normally would not vote for but for the fact that they like its leader.  But many still vote ideology even if they know their party leader will never become the Prime Minister.

Ironically sometimes the party with the most votes can’t put a coalition together. This is what happened to Tzippy Livni when she ran against Netanyahu. She could not put together a coalition despite the fact that her party won more Kenesset seats! Netanyhau, whose party came in second - could. And he did. Making him the Prime Minister.

The same situation seems to exist now. According to recent polls Netayahu’s Likud looks like it will get about 20 seats to the Herzog/Livni’s 24. It will be interesting to see whether the winner can put together a coalition this time. Political pundits are saying that the only way they can do it is if the Arab parties join them in a coalition. The Arab factions have already said they will not. We shall see. Bottom line is that who the next Prime Minister of Israel will be - is a huge question mark.

A recent poll in England shows that two thirds of British Jewry would vote for current Prime Minister, Benjamin Netnayahu.  As a fan of Netanyahu I am quite happy to see that. I do not see Isaac Herzog as a strong leader. His foreign policy seems to consist primarily of making congressional Democrats like Representative Jan Schakowsky happy.

Don’t get me wrong. I am a big fan of seeking broad US approval for Israeli policies - and have said so many times. But not when Israel’s security is at stake. Two allies can in fact see things differently on serious issues. But that does not mean that their relationship is necessarily hurt by those differences.  Both Netanyhau and Obama realize that and respect each other’s right to differ… even when those differences are irritating. What kind of relationship would it be, after all, if a disagreement in policy about how to arrive at the same desirable outcome would hurt the relationship?

Nonetheless that is what Democrats would have you believe – if you listen to their talking points. My own representative,House Democrat Jan Schakowsky, has the unmitigated gall to call for Netanyahu’s ouster by the Israeli electorate! Can you imagine if a member of the Keneset had made the same comment about Obama in the last American election? Is there a decent soul in the world that would not have condemned that?  Talk about ruining the relationship! Ms. Schakowsky is doing a pretty good job of it all by herself. And for a Jew claiming to be such a great supporter of Israel, that’s shameful! What she really supports are the let wing liberals in Israel, There are plenty of those.

In any case, I wondered how my readers feel about the coming elections in Israel. If they could vote for an individual, who would they vote for?

I have set up a poll in the right margin with a list of candidates running for election in Israel. Whether you are Israeli or not – please vote for the individual that you think would be the best candidate for the job of Prime Minister – not the party he leads. 

I know this poll is not scientific. I’m interested in knowing what my readers think .  The people running are listed below in parentheses following their party affiliation. That is followed by a brief description of their political philosophy and their most recent poll numbers.  My poll is on the upper right margin. Just click on the little circle next to your candidate. Polls closes Tuesday. Happy voting.  

Labor/Zionist Union (Herzog / Livni – center left): 24
Likud (Netanyahu – center right): 21
Bayit Yehudi (Bennett -  the new Religious Zionist party) 13
The Joint (Arab) List: (the few small Arab parties have united to form one large party) 12
Yesh Atid (Lapid - centrist party includes R’ Shai Piron and R’ Dov Lipman): 12 
Kulanu (Kachlon - break away from Likud that includes former UN ambassador, Michael Oren): 8
UTJ (Gafni / Litzman - the United Charedi parties) 7
Shas (Deri – Sephardi party founded by R’ Ovadia Yosef): 7
Yisrael Beyteynu (Liberman – politically right wing party): 6
Meretz (Gal-On – politically left wing party): 6
Yachad (Eli Yishai – break away from Shas that includes RW extremist Baruch Marzel): 4