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Sorry, I can't hang around, but in case folks are interested, the results are coming in and it looks like the right-wing didn't do anywhere near as well as they'd hoped.

From CNN:

Jerusalem (CNN) -- Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's party got the most votes in Israel's national election Tuesday, but a respectable showing by centrists could slow or halt a rightward swing in the government.

Netanyahu's Likud Beitenu won 31 Knesset seats in the Israel election, according to three TV exit polls, gaining the most as expected. Jewish Home, an extreme right party with a charismatic leader named Naftali Bennett, got 12 seats.

But the Yesh Atid party, a centrist movement devoted to helping the middle class and halting military draft exemptions for ultra-Orthodox civilians, came in a surprising second place with 19 seats, according to two exit polls, and 18, according to a third.

FYI, Labor appears to have won 17 seats, Tzipi Livni's centrist party (Hatnua) got 7, and Meretz, a leftist party, got 7 as well. Shas (a very religious party) got about a dozen. That adds up to about 105 of the 120 seats, so I'm assuming most of the rest went to Arab or other parties. Folks can contribute more news as it comes in. Sorry I can't stay, but hope folks find this useful.

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Comment Preferences

  •  wonder what this will mean to the ruling (0+ / 0-)

    party's coalition or if Bibi will have to add more centrists to his coalition; however the larger question is if the elections will change any Israeli government policies and it appears it will not (and I hope I am wrong)

  •  Israel's march to the Right continues w no end (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    oxon, Anorish, Celtic Merlin

    in sight.

    "Our president delivered his State of the Union message to Congress. - The rest of the people know the condition of the country, for they live in it, but Congress has no idea what is going on in America, so the president has to tell 'em." ~ Will Rogers

    by Lefty Coaster on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 06:28:01 PM PST

  •  Will Bibi be able to form a government, then? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It sounds like that's far from a given, with the breakdown you've posted, here. We'll see, I guess, but it would be so delicious after all Likud's efforts to bang the war drums, to see the government shift to the left.

    •  My prediction (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JLan, science nerd

      is that the government will be Likud-Beteinu, Yesh Atid, and HaBayit HaYehudi. Netanyahu and Bennett will kiss and make up. The government will be status quo for most things, but there will be a substantial loss of influence for the Charedi rabbinate, which I as a religious Jew think is a good thing.

      •  And the reasons for my prediction (0+ / 0-)

        that Netanyahu would like this coalition are

        Yachimovich and Livni's egos won't permit them to serve under Netanyahu.

        Lapid is ok with serving under Netanyahu.

        HaBayit HaYehudi will cost Netanyahu less than Shas.

        •  He already approached Shas and UTJ AND they (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Shane Hensinger, charliehall2

          will be talking on Thursday. AT the same time, Lapid has already been out talking with Livni, and Yachimovich. I think he tries to go Yesh Atid, Biberman, Shas and UTJ. The thing is that if he goes H.H. he maybe loses Lapid due to H.H's insistence on a One State solution....

          Lapid is no dove but he is pro-Two States. ALSO, then, I am not sure how the Danon, Feiglin wing of the party will take to Lapid and his crew of Centrists.

          Interesting times ahead.

          "'Touch it dude' - President Barack Obama"

          by volleyboy1 on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 10:07:20 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The exclusion of Arab parties from (0+ / 0-)

            national government bothers me. If Lapid were to make a groundbreaking move and include the Arab parties in the government he would have a comfortable majority. As the Arab population grows it becomes less and less sustainable to exclude them from government.

            "The two pioneering forces of modern sensibility are Jewish moral seriousness and homosexual aestheticism and irony." Susan Sontag

            by Shane Hensinger on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 10:55:19 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  The problem is that (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              volleyboy1, TLS66

              the Arab parties are anti-Zionist, and don't really want to be part of the government. The Ashkenazic Charedim were the same way for many decades, but finally realized that they were getting so much from the state that they might as well participate.

            •  It won't happen and honestly doesn't bother me (0+ / 0-)

              Until they accept the character of Israel as it was meant to be they can sit on the sidelines. I can't see the rationale behind any government that would add those who want to see it not exist.

              "'Touch it dude' - President Barack Obama"

              by volleyboy1 on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 08:13:08 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yes, I see the rationale behind the way you feel (0+ / 0-)

                However - being in government moderates parties more than being excluded from government does - at least in a democracy. Look at the case of how Sinn Fein's inclusion in the Dail and northern Irish parliament moderated them.

                "The two pioneering forces of modern sensibility are Jewish moral seriousness and homosexual aestheticism and irony." Susan Sontag

                by Shane Hensinger on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 11:38:25 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Well it's sort of a moot point now anyway. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Shane Hensinger

                  Lapid just spoke and he won't do anything with Balad or any of the other parties. In fact, he seems pretty set to join a Netanyahu Government.

                  He likes Bibi's pretty speech and Lieberman's dangling of the Finance Ministry as his post.

                  Now, I am taking bets on how long this lasts. I give a coalition with Likud, Yesh Atid, Shas, UTJ and maybe HaBayit HaYehudi about Six months. Of course that is five more months than it will take Lapid to renounce every part of his platform...

                  Just ridiculous. Given what happened to Kadima and Labor... DO people simply not get it?

                  "'Touch it dude' - President Barack Obama"

                  by volleyboy1 on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 12:15:20 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

            •  It bothers me as well (0+ / 0-)

              But it's hard to imagine Balad, Ra'am Tal, and Hadash sitting in government headed by Lapid.

              They would only sit in a government firmly committed to addressing inequities and a viable 2 state solution.  Lapid campaigned very heavily in the major settlements, won't discuss East Jerusalem, and is focused on maintaining Israel as a "Jewish State."  These make it a non-starter for the Arab parties.

      •  I just don't see Yesh Atod (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        and Habayit HaYehudi being in the same coalition.  Habayit wants to end the peace process completely.  They do not trust the Palestinians one iota (to be fair, I can't say I blame them).  Conversely, Lapid has said that YA will not join a Likud-lead coalition unless the government engages in serious peace talks with the Palestinians.

        "Valerie, why am I getting all these emails calling me a classless boor?"

        by TLS66 on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 08:06:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Haaertz reports that with 90% of the votes counted (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elwior, volleyboy1, Gemina13, StonyB

    Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu: 31 seats
    Yesh Atid:19
    Labor: 15
    Shas: 12
    Habayit Hayehudi: 11
    United Torah Judaism: 7
    Hatnuah: 6
    Meretz: 6
    United Arab List-Ta’al-Taal: 4
    Balad: 3
    Kadima: 2 seats

    Bibi will continue to be Prime Minister, but it doesn't appear that he will have as a strong coalition as he had hoped for when he called for early elections. But who knows, there are chumps in the center-left bloc, and Bibi might persuade some of them to join his rightist coalition.

    Labor, once again, performed below expectations. Seems like Yachimovich's strategy of silence on peace/security matters didn't work out that well, as Labor apparently lost a lot of votes to Lapid's Yesh Atid.

    Meretz (my fav) doubled its seats but they are still a tiny non-influential party.

  •  But if Yesh Atid and Labor collude they could (0+ / 0-)

    conceivably work to oust Bibi and form a true coalition government.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 08:38:17 PM PST

    •  They can't do it without at least one (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      religious party. Even counting the Arab parties and Hadash they only have 60 MKs without the religious parties.

      •  They can do it with Deri but not Yishai. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        livosh1, ortheother

        And Yesh Atid and Labor would collude but Likud Betainu gets first crack at forming the Government.

        What I hope is that Yesh Atid turns down Bibi and his false promises OR gets their agreement in writing. Because like Labor, and Kadima - those that fall for Bibi's bullshit end up getting back bench status in the end.

        "'Touch it dude' - President Barack Obama"

        by volleyboy1 on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 10:09:48 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  This is correct (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Deri is less stridently to the right than Yishai.  If Deri wants to take Shas into a Labor coalition, he needs Ovadiah Yosef's support.  My guess is that "Maran" as they call him would likely side with Yishai on this point, but he's unpredictable.  He's supported territorial compromise in the past.  But he's also made unambiguously racist statements comparing Palestinians to donkeys and snakes.  And his price might prove too high for Lapid, as it would almost certainly have to do with the conversion law and cutting subsidies to their schools and yeshivot.

  •  Final results -- shocking (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    StonyB, indie17

    It takes 61 votes to form a government. Combine Likud-Beteinu with all three religious parties and you only have 60.

    •  Goodness! They might have take on an Arab party. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Celtic Merlin, WattleBreakfast

      Or is there a law against that?

      The best way to prevent abortions is to arm fetuses.

      by Flyswatterbanjo on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 10:01:08 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think its technically "allowed" (0+ / 0-)

        But the arab parties would want to be part of any government. And no one would likely look to them to form a government.  

        •  There is absolutely no law against taking (0+ / 0-)

          an Arab Party and it is "allowed" whenever. BUT

          1. They don't really want to be part of the Government.

          2. They advocate the dissolution of Israel as the National Homeland and State of the Jewish People - which is why Israel was formed. Why, would any government enter into coalition with parties dedicated to dismantling that government?

          "'Touch it dude' - President Barack Obama"

          by volleyboy1 on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 08:58:38 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Well not quite final..... The Army votes (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Shane Hensinger, livosh1, bluezen

      still have to be counted.

      Great news... the Rightists only have 60. NOW let's see where the brakes can be put on them.

      "'Touch it dude' - President Barack Obama"

      by volleyboy1 on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 10:11:59 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Unfortunately (0+ / 0-)

        Since Likud has the largest bloc of seats they will get the first shot at forming the government.

        A possibility is a unity government with Likuid, Yesh Atid (translation: There is a future) and either a religious or another party.

        •  Right... Likud has that option (0+ / 0-)

          And most likely Yesh Atid will join with them and try to force social change (economic) from the inside. BUT... in a coalition with Likud-Betainu, Shas, and UTJ... Yesh Atid would have to go back on almost any campaign promise they ever made.

          First of all, they are Pro Two States and from as near as anyone can tell that solution would either be along the lines of the Olmert Plan OR the Mofaz Plan. SO, they would run into opposition from not only the mainstream Likud, but from the Danon, Feiglin, Sa'ar wing of the party not to mention some of the hardcore nationalist Betainu folks (though they are more on board with Mofaz).

          THEN, if they shelve that... One of their major platforms was being against the Haredi exemption. WELL, how do they stay in coalition with UTJ and Shas with an adamantly pro-Secular agenda. And don't forget Likud (not the Betainu folks) also has sort a "watered down" platform for that as well...

          I can't really guess at what will happen but I think that if Lapid gets the Ministry of Education (something he really wants) and some vague promises from Bibi, he will shelve his program, enter into coalition and promptly (like Labor, Betainu - to a degree, and Kadima) disappear into the pool of Bibi Bullshit that wrecks everyone who enters into an agreement with him.

          "'Touch it dude' - President Barack Obama"

          by volleyboy1 on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 09:06:56 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  If you are interested... I had a blog up (3+ / 0-)

    throughout the day with the ongoing narrative. You can check it out for companion information.

    "'Touch it dude' - President Barack Obama"

    by volleyboy1 on Tue Jan 22, 2013 at 10:03:06 PM PST

  •  Wow. Whatever coalition is formed... (0+ / 0-)

    ...may be relatively brief. Some marginal partner is going to "pick up their toys and go home" in record time.

    When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

    by Egalitare on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 12:56:48 AM PST

  •  Given that (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    none of the 3 so-called center-left parties will agree to any negotiation of Jerusalem or regarding refugees, the occupation will continue even if there's a "centrist" coalition with Likud-Beitenu, Yesh Atid, Labor, and Hatnuah.  Why would or should the Palestinians relinquish those aspirations?

    The 2 state solution is on the table.  It has been on the table for awhile.  Israel isn't willing to even discuss what Palestinians consider the basics.  I wouldn't be surprised if Lapid's maximum vision of a Palestinian state resembles the delusional joke that Bibi proposed at Bar Ilan 3 and a half years ago.  

    If the "center" were to shift to Meretz's position, we could begin the messy process of implementing a 2 state solution.  There would be many bumps.  It wouldn't be the immediate panacea people assume.  But it could eventually create a new, more just and sustainable normal.  But that's a pipe dream.  Meretz has 6 seats.  That's 6.

    The only way forward at this point is for the Israeli-Arab sector (Palestinian citizens of Israel) to begin voting at much higher percentages.  The Arab League started encouraging them to do so last week.  Unprecedented.  And for some of the occupied Palestinians to begin demanding enfranchisement in the Israeli system or even full citizenship.  

    •  Is there perhaps a subliminal desire to... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ...have a one state solution, with the hope from some that the Palestinians can always be politically marginalized, the hope from others that some pragmatic consensus can be reached to allow Palestinians to feel that being a REAL part of the Israel government might be better than fighting the uphill battle for an Independent Palestine?

      When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

      by Egalitare on Wed Jan 23, 2013 at 04:11:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not subliminal (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        WattleBreakfast, Egalitare

        The right hopes that Palestinians will divide between constituencies that accept minority status (and to some degree subaltern status/2nd class citizenship) and those who will leave and within generation relinquish their affiliation and identity.  

        Centrists think that we need to move toward a situation in which Palestinians give up claims to East Jerusalem and aspirations for full independence and sovereignty as a 'fair' trade-off for Israel conceding its control over occupied land.

        I think that both positions are delusional and unethical.  This is why I voted Meretz, and considered voting for Hadash.

        At this point, Palestinians will not achieve their aspirations (and as a corollary  Israelis will not enjoy prosperity and a healthy civil society) through either violence or negotiation.  The only way out of an interminably unproductive cycle between cold and hot conflict in the near term is through Palestinian pursuit and exercise of enfranchisement.  Most, however, for understandable reasons, consider this path capitulation and don't see it as a way toward empowerment and coalition building with Jews who also oppose the occupation.  So that's where we are for now.

        Were the Arab bloc to command upwards of 20 seats and Meretz break 15, then it might be possible to pull the centrists toward a realistic approach to ending the occupation.  Until then?  Unlikely.

        But if the Arab League continues to push for more Arab votes in Israeli elections, there might be hope.

    •  Sometime rhetoric changes sometimes. (0+ / 0-)

      Barack said not to divide Jerusalem and he put in on the table on Camp David.  

      •  I find it unproductive (0+ / 0-)

        to place one's hopes and aspirations in such shifts.

        Camp David got Barak nowhere, for a whole host of reasons.

        The fact remains that there's a distinct leadership vacuum.  It would take an incredible charismatic figure or a group of figures to push a new consensus on Jerusalem.  I don't think that Yachimovich, for instance, is particularly invested in the "unity" of J'lem from a personal standpoint.  But she lacks both the courage and charisma to put it on the table.

        Until division of J'lem is publicly on the table in a way that pushes public opinion, we are stalemated.

        And Palestinians in East Jerusalem refuse to participate in any process as they see such participation as legitimizing Israeli sovereignty over the city.  If that were to change...

        •  There is plenty of leadership (0+ / 0-)

          it just isn't in the direction you want. The Left did better this election by dumping the peacenik ideology that had left it more and more marginalized. That is indeed a form of leadership. There is now universal consensus among almost the entirety of the Jewish population in Israel that negotiations are fruitless. And that attitude gets more and more entrenched with every rocket flying out of Gaza.

          •  We have different ideas of leadership (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            In my view, leadership shapes public opinion, it doesn't follow it.

            In this situation, there is a clear path forward, but it's currently unpopular due to a combination of fear and delusion.  It isn't a simple path.  But it's rationale and necessity are clear.  What we need is leadership that can build support for addressing the single central issue vexing Israel's (and Palestine's) present and future.

            There certainly isn't "universal consensus among almost the entirety of the Jewish population in Israel that negotiations are fruitless."  That's simply a factually incorrect statement.  There is a majority sentiment.  That sentiment could be changed by the right leadership.

            The left in this election was represented by Meretz, which doubled its representation from 3 to 6 seats.  And it certainly didn't do so by ignoring the occupation.  Labor ran on a left of center socio-economic platform, with some lip service to centrist approaches to the occupation, which are basically dead ends.  It garnered 15 as opposed to 13 seats.  But that has a lot to do with the absence of Barak and the presence of social protest movement leaders like Stav Shaffir and with getting some of the anti-Bibi vote...and the collapse of Kadima.  So I don't think one can glean from this that 'dumping' the peace process strengthened the left at all.  

            What Ari Shavit argued, quite persuasively I think, is that Meretz and Labor have made a big mistake in framing things according to the peace process.  They need to focus voters on the problem of the occupation, not on its hypothetical solution.  Then they would be able to lead the public toward  the best way to solve the problem.

            •  Israelis know that the settlement enterprise is (0+ / 0-)

              toast. Most would throw the settlers under the bus in a heartbeat if the Palestinians would deliver on a peace agreement. Every non-religious party in Israel supports a Palestinian State with the exception of Hadash.

              But there isn't any point to any of this discussion as long as Hamas is in power in Gaza. With whom would one even negotiate a peace agreement?

              •  There isn't any point to this discussion (0+ / 0-)

                as long as you continue to be so woefully misinformed.  It's quite astonishing.

                This past year saw a record level of construction in West Bank settlements and East Jerusalem.  Yesh Atid, Lapid's party that is in some senses ANTI-religious campaigned heavily in the settlements and he announced his diplomatic platform from Ariel.  There is plenty secular support for the settlements.  And Likud-Beitenu doesn't support a Palestinian State.  They support a limited autonomy under Israeli supervision and control that bears the name of a "State."  I recommend you read a translated transcript of Bibi's Bar Ilan speech.  Make a list of the qualifications he puts on his "state" and if you think it walks like a duck, then we simply have a fundamental disagreement about the basic definition of an independent nation state.

                We negotiate with Abbas and Fayyed and let them deal with Hamas.  We've worked over-time to undermine his credibility (and he's done himself no favors at particular junctures).  But if negotiations are serious and appear headed toward a real 2 state solution, his credibility and popularity will soar.  If he can offer his people a real end to the occupation, he will be an effective partner.

                •  What???? (0+ / 0-)

                  "We negotiate with Abbas and Fayyed and let them deal with Hamas. "

                  And precisely how are they supposed to deal with Hamas, which controls Gaza completely?

                  •  First off (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    admit that you were just blowing arrogant smoke with your unfounded claims in your last two posts before you feign outrage.  It's fine to not be aware of basic political facts.  It's absolutely not fine to throw around overly generalizing statements that aren't even accurate as generalizations as you pose as an authority on the subject.

                    To answer your question, there are contacts between FATAH and HAMAS all the time.  Abbas met with Mashaal just two or three weeks ago.  Israel should negotiate productively and in good faith with Abbas and leave it to him to bring HAMAS on board.  The more credibility Abbas has on the street, the more negotiating power he has with HAMAS.  The more productive negotiations are with Israel, the more credibility Abbas has on the street.  If Palestinians in Gaza think that Abbas is going to get Israel to lift the blockade as part of an agreement, HAMAS will feel tons of pressure.  None of this is a sure bet, but a little strategic consideration suggests possibility.

                    Now please desist from making socio-political claims about Israeli public opinion and sentiment.

                    •  You are naive (0+ / 0-)

                      Like other totalitarian rulers, Hamas is immune to pressure from Gazans. Pressure from outside -- sanctions, blockade, and especially closing the smuggling tunnels -- might have a chance, but I strongly suspect that Hamas will be in power in Gaza until someone invades and throws them out.

                      •  You are willfully ignorant (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:

                        and conveniently under-informed due to apparent ideological over-determination.

                        And you don't even have the basic decency of admitting that you've been exposed as such.

                        Hamas is not immune to public opinion, they are a populist theocratic movement.  And of course external pressure will play a role, just as it did in the cease fire in Nov.

                        But I'll not continue this with you.  You are a buffoon.  When someone holds forth about issues regarding which they shamelessly misrepresent basic facts, and then call others naive, they lose  basic credibility.

                        I recommend you read a freaking newspaper or 2.  

                        •  I know I've won the argument (0+ / 0-)

                          when people start calling me names.

                          Extra points, BTW, for defending the theocratic totalitarians.

                          •  Actually, by your own criteria (0+ / 0-)

                            you lost.  You started with the name calling.  But regardless, even if I had started, you'd still have lost.  You simply don't know what you are talking about.  Hadash opposes a two state solution?  Really?  They coined the slogan "Two states for two peoples" in the '80s.  Their current platform calls for withdrawal to '67 borders.

                            But it's really not about winning.  It's about understanding.  And you've clearly failed in that.

                            Not sure where you think you can locate a defense of Hamas in anything that I've written.  But given your sloppy handling of everything else, I guess you feel comfortable just making stuff up.

                            Now, please, tell us all what "most Israelis think."

                            Ignorant posturing on this issue really disgusts me.  And I'm not sure that refuting merits civility.

                            I still recommend you read something informative before spouting off the next time.  It can't be fun getting caught with your pants down.

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