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Israeli Elections

February 28, 2019

A lot of amazing things are happening right now in Israel:

In the past week we sent “Bereshit” (exodus) our first spaceship to the moon (- https://www.space.com/spacex-israeli-moon-lander-satellites-launch-success.html)

Guy Nativ won an Oscar for a short film (https://www.timesofisrael.com/israeli-oscar-winner-promises-to-bring-award-to-israel/

Bamba signed a contract with Walmart and opened a second bamba factory so they can make enough for all Walmart stores in the U.S. (https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5459766,00.html)

But most headlines were focused on the Israeli Knesset elections that are happening in 40 days from now.

The Knesset is the parliament of Israel and has 120 members/seats.   In six weeks, Israelis will have to decide how do divide these 120 seats between the 30 + parties running, each one representing a different set of believes and cultures.

In a parliamentary system, gaining the highest number of votes does not guarantee that the prime minister will be from your party.  In order to be in power the winning party must first form a coalition with more than 50% of the other newly elected Knesset members – which means that people have to find people to join their “side.”  This need to build a coalition caused two major political earth quakes:

1)      the merger of two center-left winged major parties (“yash atid” and “hosen leIsrael”)- a much anticipated move by these parties supporters, the new party “kahol lavan” (blue and white) are right now ahead in the polls even though they are not currently in control of the Kenneset.

2)       The current Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is also trying to build a coalition.  He asked three right winged parties to merge together and support him and in return he has promised important jobs in the next Knesset (minister of education and minister of construction and housing.) The main problem is that one of these parties is the “Kahanists.”  They are a very small but extreme right winged party that believes in a  Jewish theocracy and the forced removal of Palestinians.

Supporters of center and left wing parties interpret Netanyahu’s move as him being afraid of losing his job or that he will do anything to remain the prime minister of Israel even if it means working with people viewed as extreme and racist.

Netanyahu supporters also do not feel comfortable with these people being a part of the Knesset but they see it as a “necessary evil” to keep their party in power.  They also believe that the Kahanists will not play a major role in the Knesset.

With all that being said, right now kahol-lavan are getting more votes than Netanyahu but the big question is will they be able to form a coalition. 

Confused? So is everybody else.