ATP Report: Is Netanyahu’s Reign Over?
Hello and welcome to ATP Report. I'm Barry Nussbaum. Today we're going to talk about the Israeli elections, what happened and what the world can expect next. But before we get started, I want to remind our viewers to text the word "truth" to 88202. You will be automatically signed up for future mailings, our shows, our articles, and you'll never miss an exciting episode. And it's always free.
So, what happened this week in Israel? Well, a few days ago, as the world knows, Israel went to the polls, and the election results are basically out. Ninety-nine-point nine percent are decided. And here's what Israel has come up with. But before I start, let me give you a little background. Israel does not elect its parliament or Knesset. Israel does not elect its leader, its prime minister, nor its cabinet. In Israel, it's a parliamentary system. So, Israel, what do they do? Well, they vote for the parties, and the parties turn around and in turn, select their leaders who become the leaders of the country. Well, that's what happened this week. And here's what the basic outcome is. Whoever gets 50 percent plus one vote to control seats in the Knesset, there are one hundred and twenty seats, and you need 50 percent plus one, which is a total of 61. They become the leader of the government. They named the prime minister. And for the next four years, unless the government coalition falls, they are the leader of the country. So, here are the results from a few days ago. The right-center party, which is Likud, received 31 Knesset seats. The left-center party, in English, called Blue and White, received 33 seats. Now, remember to gain control of the government you need 61 seats in the hundred and twenty seat Knesset or Israeli parliament. Obviously. And it is even remotely close to that number. So now the coalition-building starts. The Israeli prime minister for the last zillion years, Likud Party leader Benjamin Netanyahu, has already reached out to his centrist blue and white opponent, which is former IDF commanding general Benny Gantz, and said, I want to form a broad unity government. And Gantz says already answered him no deal. So, here are the totals. Blue and white got 33. They're in the lead. Likud, the present leader of Israel, got 31. They're in second. There are various conservative parties, Yamina, and they got seven. And the conservative Yisrael Beiteinu got eight. The various Arab parties together got 13. Labor and the liberal parties got eleven, and the ultra-conservative religious parties got 17. So, here are the possible coalition combinations. If they're true, there will not be a winner. Bibi Netanyahu with Likud plus all of his coalition partners they think they can get to fifty-five seats or six short. Remember, they must be at sixty-one. Blue and white will get to fifty-two if they get the liberals. And there there's one other group, which is a center to right-wing party led by former Defense Minister Lieberman. He leads a party called Yisrael Beiteinu and he if he comes in, will get them to 60 seats, still one short. The Arab parties, if they joined in with either side, would put the winner over the top. But no Arab party since the founding of Israel in 1948 has ever joined a coalition. Why? Because they don't think Israel should exist. So, they don't do not join the government even though they sit in government positions, including the Supreme Court, running hospitals, police and some even fight in the army. However, they are not Zionists. So presently, Bibi is the longest-serving prime minister in Israel's history. He wants to keep the job. How is it possible? And what's the possible plan? Well, here's what he said the other day. Quote, Benny, this is to Benny Gantz. We must set up a broad unity government as soon as today, unquote. And he went on, quote, the nation expects us, both of us, to demonstrate responsibility and that we pursue cooperation. Gantz responded. Without mentioning Netanyahu, he said, "I will lead a liberal coalition without Netanyahu's orthodox allies and his second in command, Moshe Ya'alon, who used to be Israeli defense minister, said the party would not enter a coalition led by Netanyahu." That has been and whites campaign promise throughout the campaign over the past months. They will not enter a unity government if Likud keeps Netanyahu as their leader. If he steps down, they'll invite Likud into a partnership government. So, there are no signs Likud will kick out Netanyahu and all the Likud members in the last couple of days signed pledges to support him. So, all the right-wing and religious parties have pledged loyalty to Netanyahu. And they signed a document recommending Netanyahu as the next prime minister and to tell the president that they plan to enter a coalition government as one unit. So, I just mentioned the president of Israel. Why is that important? Reuben Rivlin is the president of Israel. His main job in life, besides being a figurehead at you know ribbon cuttings and greeting other presidents is to help run the elections after the first round is over. His main job in life is to pick the candidate that he believes is the best likely to form a coalition of 60 plus one or more to control the Knesset and then have their leader become the prime minister. He starts the consultations this coming Sunday. Once he picks somebody, that person, the leader of the party, becomes the prime minister-designate and he has, get this, six weeks to go out and make a coalition and present the coalition to the president. If at the end of six weeks, he cannot come back to the president and say, I've got sixty-one or sixty-two or sixty-four, whatever, or before that, he says, I give up. Then Rivlin can go to the second guy and say, okay, he couldn't do it. Now you do it, and you get twenty-eight days to form a coalition. And if that doesn't work, we're going to have a repeat of April. And in April, Bibi was picked to form a coalition, couldn't get to it, went back to Rivlin and said, I give up order new elections. This would be a new election called by Rivlin. Rivlin says he will do everything in Israeli power to prevent another election. So, here's the bottom line. Bibi didn't lose. Gantz didn't win. And Gantz can't win unless something really weird happens. So, let's go through it. Likud now has a rumored fifty-five Knesset members joining his coalition supposedly. He has created a political scenario, he being Netanyahu, where he's the only possible prime because he's the only one they can get over 60 one without the Arabs. The blue and white party can join him, and he goes over, or one of the liberal parties join him, and he goes over. If not, there is no way blue and white can make it. Even with Lieberman joining them without the Arabs participating which, according to all sources, will not happen. So, in other words, it's either going to be Netanyahu as prime minister again or more elections again. And for Israelis, that would be a disaster. One more thought for you. I want to point this out. The Arab parties cannot come into a coalition. Why? Well, they're not Zionists. They don't believe that Israel should exist as a Jewish state. I'm talking about the members of Knesset within the Arab various parties routinely meet with terrorists, routinely praised terrorists on their Facebook pages, and routinely speak out against the government of Israel for being pro Jewish. There's no chance that either blue and white or Likud offers a position in the government to them just in case you were wondering why they run for office but yet won't participate in the government. Are you confused yet? So are the Israelis. And this is why it's a nervous breakdown period that is going to stretch from now probably into November. Oh, my gosh. Can you imagine going to bed when we had the American elections wondering who the president is? And unlike waking up in the morning and finding out it's well Trump and not Clinton, you woke up in the morning and then the news told you, okay, we'll let you know in a couple of months. Wow. Would Americans put up with that? Probably not. It's an unfortunate situation when you go with parliamentary instead of direct elections like the United States has. We are fortunate. The Israelis are, well, confused, frustrated and are now going to have to wait for a couple of months or so at the outside to find out who their new leader is going to be. I hope this helps.
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