Netanyahu Does Even Worse Than Expected at the Polls, Wins Third Term

The Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu eked out a win at the polls today, but his right-wing Likud-Yisrael coalition was projected by the Jerusalem Post to have won only 29 seats. The two parties won 42 seats between them last time around, running separately in 2009. The leader of the Yisrael party, Avigdor Lieberman, resigned last month after being indicted on corruption charges. Sixty one seats are needed to control the Knesset, and Netanyahu is expected to be able to form a government. The Jersualem Post’s projections show the possibility of a center-left coalition, with three seats still being disputed between the centrist Kadima and the nationalist Strong Israel. Most surprising was the capture of up to 19 seats by the newly formed center/center-left Yesh Atid, to whom Netanyahu reached out before making his victory speech.

While the Jerusalem Post characterized the incoming results as “a clear shift away from the Right,” Shibley Tahami, the Anwar Sadat professor for peace and development at Maryland-College Park and a fellow at the Brookings Institution saw something different. Writing for Reuters:

A victory in Tuesday’s Israeli elections by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud Yisrael Beiteinu alliance and the ascent of even more extreme parties are indications of Israelis’ continued move to the right.

It is also an indication of the limits and the challenges faced by the Obama administration in its relationship with Israel. Despite Netanyahu’s obvious preference for President Barack Obama’s Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, in the U.S. presidential elections — and a sense that he was intervening through proxies — Obama’s ability to influence the outcome of the Israeli elections has been negligible.

According to Tahami any tensions between Obama and Netanyahu may be irrelevant to broader U.S.-Israeli relations:

In a poll I conducted in Israel with the Program for International Policy Attitudes after the U.S. presidential elections, fielded by Israel’s Dahaf Institute, most Israelis said they believed the tension between Netanyahu and Obama would not affect the U.S.-Israeli relationship.

Sixty percent of Israelis said “the personal relationship” between Obama and Netanyahu would “not make much difference” to American support for Israel, and those who predict that the relationship will increase support (23 percent) substantially outweighed those who said it would diminish support (11 percent). This was so despite the fact that 6 in 10 Israelis felt that Netanyahu supported Obama’s opponent in the November elections.

Al-Jazeera, meanwhile, saw a “subdued mood” in the wake of Netanyahu’s victory:

The mood was subdued at Netanyahu's Likud party election headquarters after the polls closed, with only a few hundred supporters in a venue that could house thousands.

Al Jazeera's Patty Culhane, reporting from Washington DC, commented on the tense relationship between US President Barack Obama and Netanyahu.

"Officially in the US they are not really weighing in yet," she said, regarding Netanyahu's victory. "Behind the scenes, we know [President Barack] Obama and Netanyahu do not get along."

President Barack Obama has faded the idea of the Palestinian peace process, as he doesn't believe Netanyahu wants peace," she said.

Deteriorating relations with the Palestinians was a top priority for only 16 percent of voters (mainly left-wing) and the Iranian threat for only 12 percent of voters (mainly right-wing), according to a poll taken by the Times of Israel earlier this month. 43 percent chose the economy. In his victory speech tonight, Netanyahu said his primary challenge was preventing a nuclear Iran, something most Israelis want their country to cooperate with the U.S. on. 

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Wait, why did they let Putin vote in the Israeli election?

  • Walter Labat||

    my co-worker's step-aunt makes $63 hourly on the computer. She has been out of a job for 9 months but last month her check was $16632 just working on the computer for a few hours. Here's the site to read more...

    http://www.ace60.com

  • Hyperion||

    I still cannot figure out the answer to the question of why do the Jews here in the US vote for Democrats? I don't get it. They vote for Obama and he is almost straight up about his disdain for Israel. Maybe they don't feel any connection to the home country. I don't get it. I recently asked a friend of mine who has some close friends in the Jewish community, and he couldn't tell me the answer to this. Maybe the GOP has a war on Kosher to go along with their war on vaginas?

    And exactly what is the right in Israel? Is it anything like the right over in most of Eurotrashia?

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Maybe they don't feel any connection to the home country.

    How is Israel "the home country" for most US jews?

  • Hyperion||

    You are taking my comment out of context. I don't mean 'their' home country, I mean the home country of their people. Not sure what your point is.

  • Bam!||

    I'm of Czech decent. Should I vote for my president based on what his policy towards the Czech Republic is?

    Liberal Jews are first and foremost liberals.

  • Hyperion||

    It's a little different. It's an entire religion, not just a country. The promised land and all of that shit, you know? Gods chosen ones?

    Liberal Jews are first and foremost liberals

    But what makes them liberal? What is in it for them? They seem pretty conservative to me. So, do they want their taxes raised, or government sponsored abortion? WTF?

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Even more so, most American Jews ancestors haven't lived in Israel in nearly 2000 years. It'd be like expecting (Bavarian-descended) me to vote for president based on whether he plans to keep to take a strong position on keeping the Irish from retaking Switzerland from the Armenians.

  • Hyperion||

    Again, it's not a typical, my ancestors were from France, type of thing. It's a religion and Israel is the holy land. You are completely ignoring that fact.

  • Hyperion||

    I might clarify, I am talking about orthodox Jews, not secular Jews, who no one would know from any other American. I am talking about entire neighborhoods of orthodox Jews voting a straight Democrat ticket.

  • Alex the wolf||

    Well, I dont know about Orthodox jews, I thought they voted mostly republican.
    It is worth noting that I know some "soviet" jews, that is jews who came to america from Russia in the last 30 years,and they are ferociously against Obama and anything that resembles socialism.

  • Hyperion||

    It is worth noting that I know some "soviet" jews, that is jews who came to america from Russia in the last 30 years,and they are ferociously against Obama and anything that resembles socialism.

    There's something about a real time history lesson I suppose.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Apparently for a lot of American Jews is IS a typical "my ancestors were from France" type of thing.

    Less than half of American Jews believe in the existence of God and less than a fifth attend services regularly:

    http://www.harrisinteractive.c.....003-10.pdf

  • Hyperion||

    Meh. Do I have to say again that I am talking about orthodox Jews here? I am pretty sure that they all believe in God, and I know for a fact that they all attend services every Saturday. Your point is moot.

  • TheZeitgeist||

    It's a religion and Israel is the holy land. You are completely ignoring that fact.

    Me thinks you are missing fact that to feel connected to Holy Land you need to first feel Holy. Religion doesn't matter if you're not religious.

    Baptists cheer Sand People getting gunned down by the Bar Mitzvah while people like Bill Maher and Rob Reiner get their Diversity Panties all fucking twisted up - because they are not religious. And instead of picking a side they sympathize with the loser, even though said loser still wants to kill them. That's where Mahers and Reiners of the world get stupid.

    But in a sense you're right. Israel's natural political buddies are the conservative Holy Rollers who think their religion is from Holy Land, too.

  • Hyperion||

    Me thinks you are missing fact that to feel connected to Holy Land you need to first feel Holy

    Again, not sure why I have to reiterate this, but I am talking about orthodox Jews. I am pretty sure that they feel 'Holy'.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    Only 11% of American Jews are orthodox though (to put that in perspective, an American Jew is twice as likely to identify as Buddhist). Asking "why do the Jews here in the US vote for Democrats?" isn't going to make sense if you're only going to accept reasons that apply to a tiny fraction of them.

  • Hyperion||

    Yeah, but it's that 11% that I am talking about. The rest are irrelevant as far as my point is concerned. I have made this perfectly clear over and over again. Somehow I just cannot make you understand that. I give up.

  • Calidissident||

    I can't find any specific numbers, but simple google research seems to indicate (as I thought) that Orthodox Jews at the very least are more likely to vote Republican than non-Orthodox Jews. As I said, I couldn't find anything definitive on whether a majority of Orthodox Jews vote Republican.

    People are individuals ultimately, so some will have different reasons than others. Part of it may simply be the cultural tradition of American Jews in general supporting the Democratic party. Economic ideology probably plays a significant role for many as well.

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    The Israeli Right is socially conservative and mostly concerned about increasing the amount of settlements in Judea and Samaria (aka the West Bank). Economically, they're all about giving FREE SHIT to ultra-Orthodox Jews, so they can spend all their time studying the Talmud and Torah, and not have to worry about silly things like earning a living.

  • Hyperion||

    Economically, they're all about giving FREE SHIT to ultra-Orthodox Jews

    The ones here don't seem like freepers at all. I know that many of them are successful business people and for the most part they live in the best neighborhoods. They like to walk around, a lot, in black clothes. A lot of the women are gorgeous and very classy looking. That's about all I know. I still don't know why they vote for Dems. One day I will solve this mystery.

  • Bam!||

    "The ones here don't seem like freepers at all."

    Ultra-Orthodox Jews are. Huge welfare usage within the ultra-orthodox community.

  • Hyperion||

    Ultra-Orthodox Jews are. Huge welfare usage within the ultra-orthodox community

    I am really quite shocked if that is true. Because the ones around here all live in the best neighborhoods, dress well(if you like black), they don't seem to be poor at all...

    That would explain it, but I never would have suspected it...

  • Heroic Mulatto||

    Well, there is a difference between Chassids and Haredi. While the Chassidim are definitively devout Jews who spend a lot of time in religious study, in my experience, there isn't the cultural belief that there is something honorable in devoting your entire life to religious study to the detriment of your livelihood.

    Note that Chassidim and Haredi are not mutually exclusive categories.

    As per Israeli politics, handouts to the Haredi are a big deal.

    The Haredim are relatively poor, compared to other Israelis, but represent an important market sector. Consequently, the Israeli Haredim "probably spend more time in formal study than any other class of humans ever has in the history of the planet". More than 50 percent live below the poverty line and get state allowances, compared with 15 percent of the rest of the population...." Their families are also larger, usually having six or seven children.
  • Hyperion||

    My neighbors are definitely not poor.

    The thing that I am most intrigued about is the percentage of the women that are just gorgeous. Almost none of them are fat(maybe because they walk so much?), and I swear that 3 out of 5 range somewhere between fairly attractive and stunning. My wife has threated to slap that stare off my face more than once when we are driving down the street, and we frequent the beaches in Brazil, and I rarely get that, if that emphasizes what I am saying.

  • Obese American||

    It's pretty simple. Most Jews, wrongly IMO, think the GOP is aligned with anti-semites. That's what keeps them in the Democratic ghetto.

    Add that to a terrible misunderstanding of tikkun olam that makes people think that the government must "give" to the needy (without realizing that the money is taken by force from others in the first place) and you have your typical liberal Jewish voter.

  • Hyperion||

    Thanks for the reply. That seems like the most plausible answer I have heard yet. So you are saying that the race card worked on them?

  • Obese American||

    Sort of. It certainly was the case in the post-WWII generation. But many modern Jewish liberals don't identify as Jewish in their daily life anyway, and are generally anti-religious.

    So if they perceive the GOP as pro-religion in general, they'll reflexively vote Democratic.

  • Hyperion||

    The Jews I am referring to are orthodox Jews, and they had Obama signs in their yards. I just don't get it, unless it's what you said.

  • Obese American||

    I think most Orthodox Jews in this country vote GOP, though I'm sure there are some who don't.

  • Hyperion||

    Now I am totally confused, because from what I have heard, none of them around here vote GOP, and the Obama signs in their yards would pretty much indicate just that.

  • entropy||

    Are they Orthodox religious Jews? With the Amish hats and the curly sideburns and 2 month long holidays? Or are they just Jewish?

  • Cool Story, Bro||

    I don't think those "Orthodox" Jews are Orthodox Jews. My wife is an Orthodox Jew (a Sephardic Chabbadnik originally from Israel), and I've gone to the Chabbad temple with her a few times in CA and in NY. The people that I met at these places were huge fans of GW Bush and identified as staunch Republicans. I had just come home from deployment to Afghanistan and went to the temple for Rosh Whatever; the rabbi, no shit, had the congregation line up and shake my fucking hand. It was really odd...certainly a nice gesture, but odd.

    The people you're talking about are most likely Conservative Jews that are more cultural than religious.

  • RyanXXX||

    If this is true, boy are the GOP overcompensating. They are always the loudest to scream "anti-semite", even when the person has not mentioned anything about Jews or Israel.

  • Hyperion||

    The GOP have always leaned towards the defence of Israel. I see that as a purely SoCon manifestation.

    But the GOP cannot hold a light to the Dems on dividing people up into groups by race, ethnicity, sex, what the fuck ever, just divide, divide, divide.

  • RyanXXX||

    True. But there just seems to be a weird obsessive Israel fetish in the GOP, resulting from the combination of evangelicals(socons) and Neocons. John Hagee, Bill Kristol, etc. Anything other than absolute deference and unqualified support is considered blasphemy.

  • Cytotoxic||

    It's one of the few areas the GOP is solidly pro-freedom on.

  • RyanXXX||

    The freedom to take their constituents' money and send it to their preferred country?

  • Cytotoxic||

    Oops. Except that.

  • Stormy Dragon||

    I doubt the Palestinians who are not allowed to own land, start businesses, trade with others, vote, speak, assemble, or even just leave would agree that the GOP is "solidly pro-freedom" on the matter.

  • Hyperion||

    But there just seems to be a weird obsessive Israel fetish in the GOP

    I think that if you grew up in a very conservative Christian environment like I did, that you would understand it.

    Jews are Gods chosen people. Anyone who is against them will be judged by God in the 2nd coming.

    That is it, in a nutshell. I have never had any problem understanding this because it was drilled into my brain constantly from birth until I got old enough to think outside of my box.

    So, I understand that, but still don't understand why my orthodox Jew neighbors vote for a hateful bastard like Obama.

  • Alex the wolf||

    Thats totally true. The Obama machine has great ability at dividing voters, they won the elections by doing that, hidding Obama´s complete incompetence on economic issues.
    Lets see:
    Rich vs. poor
    Black vs. White
    Hispanic vs. White
    Feminists vs. thinking human beings
    Homo vs. straight

    Yea, they know their job

  • RyanXXX||

    Maybe they don't actually agree with Israel's policies?

    BTW, if you think Obama is anti-Israel you really aren't paying attention. People like to blow his somewhat contentious relationship with Nethan-yahoo way out of proportion. The truth is that Israel has moved dramatically right-wards (in the sense of increased militarism and bellicosity)

  • Hyperion||

    The truth is that Israel has moved dramatically right-wards (in the sense of increased militarism and bellicosity

    You mean like the US, no matter which team is in charge?

    I don't see how increased militarism and bellicosity translates to right-wards?

  • RyanXXX||

    Fair enough. But since everyone calls it that, I just did as well in the interest of brevity. The Israeli "Right" are the expansionist, militant ones

  • Cytotoxic||

    Israel is barely bellicose.

  • widget||

    I still cannot figure out the answer to the question of why do the Jews here in the US vote for Democrats? I don't get it.

    Why asians vote for democrats is even more perplexing. About 73% voted for Obama. Asians are on the front line of affirmative action discrimination, most clearly wrt college admissions. Ron Unz goes into the gory details here:

    http://www.theamericanconserva.....ritocracy/

    A definition of the term NAM (non-asian minorities) to describe this phenomenon might help.

    The Audacious Epigone explains:

    http://anepigone.blogspot.com/.....fined.html

  • Calidissident||

    Virtually every racial, (non-European) ethnic, and religious (non-Christian) minority in the country votes predominately Democrat. The only exceptions I can think of are a couple nationalities within larger groups (e.g. Vietnamese are more likely than other Asian groups to vote Republican, Cubans are more likely to vote Republican than other Hispanic groups, etc)

  • Hyperion||

    Yeah, that is really, really strange. And I again, cannot figure it out, when all of the Asians that I know are conservatives. Many are business owners, and none of them voted for Obama. They all voted for Romney this last election.

    I have a co-worker who is Korean, that once told me, I was a democrat until I graduated from college, because all of my friends were Democrat and I didn't really know why. Then I got a job and got my first pay check. That same day I was a Republican.

    The only way I can fathom it, is that the Democrats really have everyone convinced that the GOP are anti-immigration bigots.

  • widget||

    This Slate piece from Richard Posner is worth a read, but I disagree:

    http://www.slate.com/articles/.....obama.html

    My wife is gen 1 chinese. We don't talk directly about Politics at her family gatherings. But little 'p' politics comes up sometimes. From this first-hand observation, I conclude that the vast majority of chinese americans are apolitical, they don't vote. God bless them for that. It's only a small percentage that do, and that percentage votes for team D. I don't think the low voter participation comes out in the wash. There more asians that jews, 6% vs 3%, in the US population. Jews may be more politically significant because they vote more.

  • Hyperion||

    I have heard that the Asians don't vote too much, but strangely enough all of them that I know, do, and all vote GOP. Indians are the immigrants that I know that are not much interested in voting.

    I work with a guy, who lives in Portland, of all places, that is Chinese and is also very conservative, and votes GOP. We always get a good laugh of out talking about Portlandia.

  • Calidissident||

    Asians are about 5% of the population, and according to exit polls, 3% of the electorate. A lot of that difference is due to the fact that many Asians are non-citizen immigrants. It's also possible that even among citizens, Asians are less likely to vote

  • Calidissident||

    Where do you live, out of curiosity?

  • widget||

    If that's to me, the LA area.

  • Hyperion||

    Maryland

  • widget||

    Which literally mean "Mary Land". Maryland is the most Roman Catholic state in the US. And Roman Catholics from Maryland vote for free-control control and government financed abortion on demand. Strange world.

  • widget||

    free-control = free birth control

  • Hyperion||

    I don't know any Catholics here. All of my friends here are either hedonist libertarians, like myself, conservative some flavor of Christian or Agnostic, or some form of Hindu, since I have several Indian friends. Most of my neighborhood is Jewish, and I never talk to them outside of brief meaningless conversations about the weather, or whatever.

    Most of South America is Catholic, I know that for sure. My wife grew up catholic, but does not follow that at all now. She's Brazilian.

  • Hyperion||

    Forgot to mention my secular friends, since many of them are, because we were talking about religion. Most Asians that I know, am friends with, are not religious at all.

  • widget||

    I don't know any Catholics here.

    I call bullshit on that.

  • Hyperion||

    Sorry, my friend, but your bullshit call is wrong. And I am really not sure about why you think I have to know Catholics because I live in MD. I do not know even one.

  • widget||

    You may not have any friends or close acquaintances there in Maryland who are Roman Catholic, and I don't mind one bit how you go about choosing such, but it is statistical long-shot that you don't 'know' any.

  • Hyperion||

    Long shot achieved. I choose my friends like everyone else, or most of us do. I get acquainted with someone, or my wife does, through circumstance, and wind up liking their company.

    I am well aware that there are Catholics here, but I don't know any of them, and I doubt the long shot theory.

    We also don't have any Catholic friends in Brazil. Interestingly enough, although they are supposed to be a huge majority there. We have friends there who are evangelical(I think that is what we call protestant here), Spirtitual, and Buddhist. But not any Catholics.

    Must be because we are racist against Catholics. As a white male, I just assume that I am racist against something, I just need to wait for someone more enlightened to tell me what it is.

  • Hyperion||

    widget, if it helps any, I knew several Catholics when I lived in Indiana, and I was friends, and still am, with a couple of them. I have to tell you that they are the fakest religious folks that I have ever known. Sorry if that offends everyone.

    Here in MD, not, I don't even have a single co-worker who I have heard claim to be Catholic.

  • Calidissident||

    Ok. I've never been Maryland, so I can't really comment on whether the Asians there have different voting habits from the rest of the country. Growing up in California (which obviously has a lot more Asians than MD) and going to school in LA, I haven't noticed a huge disparity in the political beliefs of Asians compared to whites, but that's because most of the people whose political beliefs I'm aware of are young people who grew up in California and tend to be liberal Democrats or apathetic. If I had to guess though, I think possible explanations include the cultural perception that Republicans are anti-minority, Republican views on immigration, location (Asians tend to live in liberal states like CA, NY, HI, etc), etc

  • entropy||

    They don't.

    A lot of them do, but a lot of them are far left. It's not got shit to do with Israel, it's pro-abortion or anti-binders or something. Whatever drives the left.

    It's sort of like asking what the hell 40% of the hispanics see in the GOP. Well, you know, some of them don't give a shit about immigration and some of the mare actually anti-immigration. They don't all vote on the issue the way you'd guess the group ought as a whole.

  • Hyperion||

    Can these people get any more stupid?

    We have to ban something!

  • RyanXXX||

    In their defense, cats are the devil.

  • Hyperion||

    Well, they will sneak into the beds of your children at night and steal their breath. But besides that, they are incredibly entertaining and beautiful critters.

  • Hyperion||

    Also, you didn't get that right.

    Little girls are da debil.

  • waaminn||

    I think that dude is such a major tool!

    www.PrivoWeb.tk

  • Cytotoxic||

    Netanyahu. That guy sucks. He doesn't play nice with the West Bank government when it makes sense but...he allowed Hamas yet another chance to terrorize Israelis in the future. The Israeli government blew a perfectly good chance to kill all of their enemies in the Gaza strip AGAIN. He should hang just for that.

    Deteriorating relations with the Palestinians was a top priority for only 16 percent of voters (mainly right-wing) and the Iranian threat for only 12 percent of voters (mainly left-wing)

    That's...odd. I would expect the reverse.

  • Ed||

    It is the reverse. I reversed it mistakenly

  • juris imprudent||

    Just testing

  • waaminn||

    lol I am sure like the US, the vote was rigged!

    www.Anon-123.tk

  • Dan Bongard||

    "Despite Netanyahu’s obvious preference for [Romney] and a sense that he was intervening through proxies — Obama’s ability to influence the outcome of the Israeli elections has been negligible."

    In other words, "despite Israel being unable to influence the outcome of the US election, the US has been unable to influence the outcome of the Israeli election".

    The purpose of the word "despite" remains a mystery.

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement