11 February 2009

Israeli Elections... Now What?

Here we go again, Israeli elections have taken place and there's no clear cut winner.

According to the Jerusalem Post these are the results:
With 99.7 percent of the votes counted, Kadima was narrowly leading Likud with a predicted 28 mandates, while the latter had garnered a predicted 27 seats. Israel Beiteinu was expected to earn 15 mandates, Labor 13, Shas 11, United Arab List four, United Torah Judaism five, National Union four, Hadash four, Meretz three, Bayit Hayehudi three, and Balad three.

Israel have a parliamentary governmental system. This is a very different system from our own - since there was no clear winner, they now have to form a coalition government. This means that there's going to be a lot of wheeling and dealing over the next month to see who will be able to put together their coalition and who will become the next prime minister.

Kadima came out ahead by one seat, but there are more right wing parties than left wing parties. We can call Likud a center-right party, while Israel Beiteinu (Israel Our Home) is a right wing party as well as National Union, Bayit Hayehudi (The Jewish House) and United Torah Judaism. Kadima is a center-left party, Labor a left wing party, United Arab List and Balad are also left.

What do these results mean?

It comes down to the the average Israeli's perspective on their own security. At the end of August 2005 Israel unilaterally withdrew from the Gaza Strip in the hope that the Palestinian Authority would take control of the area and make something of it. Israel would no longer be responsible for the Strip and would no longer be the player who was an "obstacle to peace". Never mind rockets had been raining on the heads of the Sderot residents, never mind Hamas had more power than the PA, never mind that it is bad precedent to give away anything for nothing.

We see the results. Hamas was overwhelmingly elected and the Palestinian Authority was run out of town. Not that there's a huge difference between Hamas and the PA - there isn't. One speaks nicely and wears a suit - the other speaks clearly about the blood of Jews running through the streets. As of January 2009 more than 6,000 rockets have fallen on southern Israel.

Israel's citizens waited to see how long it would take for their government to respond. Government's primary responsibility is to protect her citizens. Rather than responding - the Israeli government sat on its hands and did nothing. It was only after years, years! of attack that the army was dispatched to the Gaza Strip.

Looking at the results of the election we can see what has happened to the Israeli populace. They don't trust their government to protect them. The Left has been in charge for the last four years. Kadima under Ariel Sharon was the party that pulled Jewish people out of the their homes and left them homeless (no joke). They've seen rockets come closer and closer to major population centers. Iranian rockets can fly 25 miles - hitting Ashkelon... and it has. Ashkelon has many industrial plants - imagine the destruction if one of them were hit. Never mind the hospital there that is under siege.

Israelis saw Hezbollah send rockets in the north while fighting in Gaza attempting to open a second front in the war. Israelis recognize that the government is incapable and unable to protect them. Therefore, they voted right-wing during this election.

I don't know if I have faith in the Israeli government - whether Left or Right. We'll wait and see what happens.

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