Sunday, January 11, 2015

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Akiva’s Israel Election Primer–Part 2, The Left Goes Middle #IsraElex

Jews moving to live in Israel usually find Israeli politics incomprehensible.  With these primers, I’ll attempt to simply what’s going on within Israeli elections – if that’s possible.

Primer Topic #2 – The Left…goes middle

The “traditional” large left and large right parties of Israel, namely Labor and Likud, have history behind them.  Though they have changed names, split, merged, and rotated, they are still around.  As such they have their die hard supporters who are going to vote for them no matter what.  Their parents voted for them, maybe their grandparents, and they are going to also!

imageThe Labor Party (HaAvodah in Hebrew) is the party of the founding ruling class of the State of Israel.  They’ve been strongly socialist, nowadays weakly socialist, and anti-religious, nowadays agnostic, and frequently been in power (their last Prime Minister just went to jail for corruption).  They have solid support from ~15% of the Israeli voting population, and floating / fluctuating support that can range from +0-15%. 

They suffer from a problem affecting “The Left” – their foundational ideas have petered out, been watered down, and faded into quiet retirement with their elder members.  Socialism is in retreat, and while the Left screams about income inequality – the only solution they present is increasing taxes (make everyone poor I guess).  Leftist Zionism, in the form of settling the land, has been deprecated as the Settlements (started by the Left!) have been determined (by the Left) to be more trouble than they are worth, leaving their Zionism with nothing more than to try to convince more secular Jews around the world to make aliyah…to Tel Aviv.  And “being ready to take risks on the Peace Process” has become somewhat unpopular as rockets from Gaza are fired at Tel Aviv.

Meretz, another long term Leftist party, is the party of extreme secularism and anti-religion (or lets be specific, anti-Judaism).  They’ve wandered a bit as well, losing their non-core support, and adding environmentalism and other socially trendy topics.  They have a solid 5% of the Israeli electorate in support.

Because of the dearth of ideals among the Left, and lots of party jumping / splitting / merging, another 15% of the Israeli electorate that lean in that direction are a floating “center-left” – looking for a new savior!  A good idea / ideal – ANY good idea or ideal (that’s not Rightist), they’re willing to give it a go.  Every election along comes an INSTA-party with the NEW HOT “CENTRIST” IDEA of the moment, and wham bam thank you electorate, a mid-sized center-left party is born into the parliament.

Last election it was Yesh Atid, this election it’s….Kulanu.

imageHow to Get Elected to the Knesset in Israel as a Leftist…

- The Labor Party has some arcane system of internal political committees which select the political hacks who will be presented on their list.  How one gets on the list or support is an issue of black magic and political muscle – subject to instant adjustment if conditions suggest changes will net the party extra seats.  Investing 10 years of political involvement and making the right contacts and moves…might do it. 

- The Meretz Party actually has a real open party primary.  Subject to some rules, any party member in good standing (for a period of time?) with support (signatures) and maybe a fee can run to get on the list.  People with the most votes in the primary are on the top of the list in order of votes. 

1 comment:

  1. Why is HaBayit HaYehudi the only party to hold primary election this Wednesday?


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