The elections are now mercifully behind us and all that remains is for the coalition-building horse-trading to begin as the dust over this most disappointing of Israeli elections settles.
For at least half of the country the results are disappointing because their party did not win. But it is more than that, because, while democracy may have been served in the short-run it is definitely under fire in the long-run; given the projected make-up of the incoming Knesset.
It is also disappointing because roughly half of our citizens appear to have no problem supporting a Prime Minister who has been indited and may even end up going to jail. It is disappointing because the prospect of Prime Minister Netanyahu arranging for the passage, retroactively, of the so-called French law, which in effect would put him above the law, has been increased.
It is also surprising that the citizens in the South, most of whom have had their lives turned upside down due to the Government’s ineptitude with regard to the security challenges coming from Gaza – still voted for Netanyahu. The saying “blood runs thicker than water” surely rings true here. Apparently people have voting for the Likud in their blood and even when it is manifestly against their own interests they cannot bring themselves to change their pattern of behavior. Then again, Netanyahu has been in power for so long many voters don’t even remember when things were different.
And then there was the weather – gorgeous for the first time in weeks. So what do thousands of Israelis do on election day? They go to the beach to get a start on their summer tans – and don’t vote. Bet the Haredi didn’t go to the beach. Bet there won’t be any improvements to public transportation on the Shabbat any time soon. Expect more religious coercion and extortion to be exerted on our still mostly secular society.
Last of all, but not really last of all, was the dismal voter participation of our Arab population. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot – or other body parts. The Israeli Arabs are mad at the Government for passing the ill-thought-through “Nationality Law”. They have a point. They have also been poorly represented by the Israeli Arab political parties. So many Arab citizens decided to stay home to protest and the total vote from the Arab sector was very low. Brilliant move – they just helped to elect more extremist elements to the Knesset who will represent much that is wrong within Israeli society – especially our policy toward our Arab citizens.
Hopefully the cloud that is Netanyahu will not be over Israel for too much longer. But, after yesterday’s election results, don’t hold your breath.