Help Me Understand the Situation in Israel!

It sounds like Israel is going to have another election in September because Netanyahu isn’t conservative enough.  Correct?  The main dispute is over whether the ultra-Orthodox should be subject to the military draft.

I read somewhere that when the state was formed, the ultra-Orthodx were not a very large group within Israel, (think of the Amish in this country) and it was believed that giving them certain exemptions wouldn’t be of much national moment.

Is there a danger that if the Right in Israel is split, anti-nationalist forces might win in the September Do-over?

(It hardly seems worth it, if the ultra-Orthodox men we see in New York are at all representative.  These gents are all about the life of the mind—and it shows.  They certainly aren’t Samson, nay, nor yet Gideon…)

It’s hard to get a grasp of the situation from here.  The NY Times referred  to Netanyahu’s “spectacular failure” to form a coalition government ( he failed by one (1) vote. )

O Ratty, if you’ve been following the situation more closely, please enlighten me!

3+
avataravataravatar

10 thoughts on “Help Me Understand the Situation in Israel!”

  1. Hypatia:
    O Ratty, if you’ve been following the situation more closely, please enlighten me!

    I have hardly been following the situation closely, but here is some outdated second-hand information.  When I visited Israel in 1996, this was an issue even then.  I mentioned it to my host, who moved to Israel in 1991 and has now been there 28 years.  He (an orthodox Jew who is called “religious” in Israeli terminology—observant of the laws but not ultra-Orthodox with the hat, etc.) said that in his opinion and that of most of his community, the religious exemption for ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) yeshiva students was in large part a scam being used by young men to dodge the draft, and was resented by many in the secular and religious communities.  What seems to have brought the issue to a head recently is a 2017 decision by the Israeli Supreme Court which struck down the exemption for yeshiva students.  This exemption, called the Torato Umanuto, had been enshrined in Israeli law since 1948, when it only applied to around 400 men.

    The Haredi community, due to its high birth rate, now accounts for around 10% of the Israeli population, and by 2005 41,450 men claimed the exemption, and this was expected to continue to grow.  Another tension in Israel is exemption from military service for women, who (unlike men) can claim exemption for “religious reasons” without being enrolled in a formal education programme.  In 2008, 44% of Israeli women did not enlist in the IDF, with 34.6% claiming “religious grounds”.  There are many who doubt the sincerity of these grounds.

    6+
    avataravataravataravataravataravatar
  2. The problem is that, on the one hand, a small secular Russian-emigre right wing party headed by Avigdor Liberman refuses to join the government if there is any compromise. Without them, Netanyahu doesn’t have a majority.

    On the other hand, the new vaporware centrist party headed by Benny Gantz has such personal hatred of Netanyahu that they refuse to form a grand coalition if Netanyahu is prime minister.

    5+
    avataravataravataravataravatar
  3. MJBubba:
    I don’t see how the upcoming election gets any different result than the previous election.

    Actually it’s very easy.

    On the one hand, Netanyahu’s core coalition only needs to pick up one seat and he can form a government with 61 seats. In the last vote, one right wing party and a libertarian party fell just short short of getting any seats. If those parties run again and gain votes they might get into the knesset and provide Netanyahu the margin. Or if they lose votes to Likud Netanyahu may gain the extra seat he needs. There is talk that they might merge to reach the threshold.

    On the other hand, if the vaporware party gains then Netanyahu is likely out one way or another. If they really are centrist, you could have them leading a grand coalition with Likud. If they won big, they could form a leftist government.

    If the vaporware party loses a few seats to admitted leftists, they might give up their anti-Netanyahu position and agree to a grand coalition. Or they agree to a grand coalition if led by a likud member other than Netanyahu

    Even if the exact same result was achieved you also might have Netanyahu fall on his sword and allow one of his deputies to attempt to form a grand coalition.

    3+
    avataravataravatar
  4. Hypatia:
    @ctlaw, would a Leftist government be for open borders?  For ceding the Temple Mount to the Muslims?  In short, for national suicide?

    Probably. I note that even the current government has basically ceded the Temple mount.

    The first thing they would do is go after the settlements. They view the sellers as American leftists view Trump supporters.

    1+
    avatar
  5. BTW, I think Netanyahu made a mistake by not publicly offering to step down if the vaporware party would join a grand coalition with another Likud member as PM.

    Had they refused, Netanyahu would be able to: 1) blame them for the need for new elections; and 2) point out that they are leftist and dishonest (they campaigned as anti-Netanyahu, asserting they would join with Likud if not for Netanyahu).

    2+
    avataravatar
  6. ctlaw:

    Hypatia:
    @ctlaw, would a Leftist government be for open borders?  For ceding the Temple Mount to the Muslims?  In short, for national suicide?

    Probably. I note that even the current government has basically ceded the Temple mount.

    i Know, WTF?

    The first thing they would do is go after the settlements. They view the sellers as American leftists view Trump supporters.

    Jehovah prosper Netanyah!

    2+
    avataravatar
  7. I’ve visited Israel three times so this is my take:

    I was overwhelmed by the pro-American sentiment and even rcvd a marriage proposal!  I will always love and support this country.

    Here’s what is happening and you have to know a little history about this country to understand my drift:

    American liberals are unhappy that a once semi-socialist or “collective” nation (see kibbutzim in 1948) has ‘unfortunately’ morphed into a highly capitalistic, democratic and hawkish nation.

    I just hate those type of people…

    2+
    avataravatar

Leave a Reply