President Trump seems set to see Bibi Netanyahu re-elected as Israel’s next prime minister in the upcoming elections to be held on 17 September – the second this year following an indecisive vote in April that left no one able to form government.
Early voting by eligible Israeli diplomats and emissaries around the world has seen a drop in their turnout from 76 per cent in April to 69 per cent in September.
If general voters follow the diplomats’ lead next week:
- The voter turnout of 67.97 per cent in April 2019 will be further reduced.
- Netanyahu’s Likud party will increase its proportion of the vote – 26.46 per cent in April 2019 – up from 23.4 per cent in 2015 – to an even higher figure.
Likud voters – buoyed by the post-April statements detailed in 1, 2 and 3 below – will most likely vote again – whilst Blue and White and Yisrael Beiteinu voters – unhappy with their leaders’ post-April statements detailed in 4 and 5 below – are more likely to stay home.
Any increase in general voter turnout this time beyond 67.97 per cent would defy the diplomatic downturn – but should still see parties on the Right securing more of those new votes than parties on the Left. Statements made since April by Trump’s Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, President Trump himself, Likud’s Netanyahu, Yisrael Beiteinu’s Lieberman and Blue and White’s Gantz support this conclusion.
1. Ambassador Friedman indicated that some degree of annexation of the West Bank would be legitimate.
“Under certain circumstances, I think Israel has the right to retain some, but unlikely all, of the West Bank”More new voters – conscious of their own families’ personal safety – would vote Right – than those opposing any annexation – who would vote Left.
- Trump endorsed Netanyahu as “a great guy”
- Netanyahu – speaking in Elkana – located in Samaria – pledged:
“With God’s help we will extend Jewish sovereignty to all the settlements as part of the (biblical) Land of Israel, as part of the State of Israel. “This is our land…”We will build another Elkana and another Elkana and another Elkana. We will not uproot anyone here”In a first-ever public address from Hebron by a sitting Israeli prime minister – Netanyahu vowed:
“To cite the late Menachem Begin and the late Yigal Allon: ‘Hebron will not be devoid of Jews.’ It will not be Judenrein [ed: i.e. Jew-free]. And I say on the 90th anniversary of the disturbances [ed: when 67 Jews were murdered] – we are not foreigners in Hebron, we will stay here forever.”These patriotic declarations should attract more Right-supportive than Left-opposing new voters.
- Lieberman promised to amend the law to make ultra-orthodox youths do compulsory military training.
New ultra-orthodox voters turning out to spare children in their ultra-orthodox community undertaking this military obligation would likely exceed new secular voters who think this is a reform long overdue.
- Trump’s judgment has been challenged by Gantz stating he would have admitted US Congresswomen Omar and Tlaib into Israel.
Trump and Netanyahu appear destined to continue their very special relationship after the votes have been counted.
Author’s note: The cartoon — commissioned exclusively for this article — is by Yaakov Kirschen aka “Dry Bones” — one of Israel’s foremost political and social commentators — whose cartoons have graced the columns of Israeli and international media publications for decades. His cartoons can be viewed at Drybonesblog