Netanyahu’s mistake and opportunity
Very few people have been able to change Israel’s political face in such an impressive way. Nachman gave Samaria legitimacy in the eyes of Israeli society.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu Photo: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post
Imagine a giant sombrero. Now imagine me eating it.
Two weeks ago,
relying on the polls, I wrote that the Right would win this election by a
knock-out. It turns out that this was a narrow victory on points, in the 15th
But a victory on points is still a victory.
dreary election campaign suddenly turned into a fascinating political storm. But
at the same time, one can assume that despite the surprise defection of parts of
the right-wing bloc, the prime minister will still be Binyamin Netanyahu. It’s
difficult to imagine that contrary to the dream of Shimon Peres, the left-wing
bloc can make Yair Lapid prime minister.
When you look carefully at the
data, it emerges that in spite of what commentators have been telling us, the
people of Israel don’t want a change. The people continue to prefer the path of
All that happened was that the 28 seats that Kadima had in the
18th Knesset were dispersed, mostly to Lapid’s Yesh Atid, rather than to The
Tzipi Livni Party or Labor.
At least half of those who voted for Lapid
define themselves as on the Right of the political spectrum.
success within the Left did not require a brilliant campaign or a unique
ideological platform on the part of he and his party.
number of seats he won doesn’t mean that anyone (including Lapid himself) really
thinks that he is suitable to be prime minister.
And so, how can we
explain Yesh Atid’s phenomenal success? Ultimately, it was the result of a
particularly poorly managed campaign by Likud Beytenu.
When you analyze
the voting patterns among Israelis, what stands out most is that young people
abandoned the Likud.
Those who voted for the party were adults and the
elderly. The Likud failed to provide an attractive alternative option in the
battle for the younger generation.
The stagnation in the Likud’s
candidates list put people off; new and relevant faces did not appear. The youth
were drawn in recent months to Naftali Bennett’s Bayit Yehudi party.
Likud, which noticed that Bayit Yehudi was gaining strength, began attacking
Bennett in such an exaggerated way that it bordered on hysteria.
Likud managed to label Bayit Yehudi as an extreme party, and it was then that
young voters began to ditch Bayit Yehudi, and instead of returning to the Likud,
they went straight to Yesh Atid.
That’s how about four mandates moved
from the Right to the Left. And this is something that will dramatically
diminish the Likud’s capability to govern the country.
At the same time,
the new map of mandates creates new and interesting possibilities for Israeli
society. If Netanyahu dares to break his bond with the haredim, there could be a
Likud-Yesh Atid-Bayit Yehudi coalition. Such a coalition could successfully
confront the Iranian problem as well as a host of other challenges with regard
to issues at the very heart of the ideologies of all three parties – stopping
infiltrators crossing the Egyptian border, sharing the burden of military
service, lowering housing prices, liberalizing the economy, safeguarding IDF
soldiers and the State of Israel from dangerous threats, and significantly
changing the legal and political system.
Ron Nachman’s life The death of
Ariel’s founder and mayor, Ron Nachman, was almost lost in the media commotion
over the election in the past week. Nachman, in his infinite dedication and
determination, working day and night, managed to establish a city that became
the capital of Samaria, which at first glance might have been extremely
controversial. But Nachman, through the sheer power of his personality, founded
a prosperous, modern city with a university, cultural center and industrial area
and thousands of residents, a city that establishes Israel’s presence de facto
over the Green Line.
Very few people have been able to change Israel’s
political face in such an impressive way. Nachman gave Samaria legitimacy in the
eyes of Israeli society.
When Yair Lapid paid a visit to Ariel several
months ago to present his political platform, he voiced Ron Nachman’s true
victory. May his memory be a blessing.
The writer is chairman and founder
of Im Tirtzu.