The 99 Day Blog – Day 1

Today is the first and last day of the Knesset’s winter session, also marking the last day of Israel’s 18th Knesset.

At 4pm, the session will begin with ceremonial addresses by President Shimon Peres, Prime Minister Netanyahu and Opposition leader Shaul Mofaz. After several other speeches and proceeds, the Knesset will vote to dissolve itself and set a date for elections.

This is a lengthy, three-part legislative process condensed into one afternoon/evening (and possibly go on into the night).

If this sort of thing excites you, watch it live on Israel’s channel 99, our government-funded version of C-Span.

If there are no surprises, the elections will be set, before the day is out, for Tuesday, January 22, 2013.

That’s in 99 days.

This will dictate not only the makeup of Israel’s 19th parliament but most probably our next government and prime minister. More broadly — as analysts like to say around every single election — these elections are dramatic (“most dramatic ever”) and can determine our nation’s fate. In fact, while I dislike Israelis’ tendency to overstate our tiny country’s importance, the person we elect Prime Minister will most certainly make decisions that affect the Middle East and the world. At least to some extent.

I have therefore decided to dedicate this blog to monitoring news and analysis about the Israeli elections. I will not post daily, nor will I post everything that’s out there.

Instead, expect lots of links – random selections of strong and relevant news and analysis pieces, sometimes accompanied with some of my own musing.

Posting a link or quote from an election-related article does not mean I endorse it. It certainly does not mean that The David Project endorses it. It only means it is a worthwhile opinion to consider. It means it sheds some light on the complex Israeli elections and political system. Ultimately, that’s my humble aspiration here over the next 99 days.

Stay tuned.

About the Author
Ari Applbaum is Director of Israel Operations for The David Project, a non-profit that positively shapes campus opinion on Israel, and has been with the organization since 2007. Ari manages all aspects of the organization’s work in Israel such as overseeing operations and budget, a staff of three, strategic partnerships with other organizations and all educational programming. He also lectures to thousands of Americans visiting the Jewish state each year. From 2008 to 2010, Ari served as a Middle East Analyst for The David Project. Based out of Boston, MA, Ari travelled extensively throughout the U.S. and Canada to educate and inspire effective supporters of Israel. He spoke to thousands of adults and students and lectured at hundreds of venus, including Ivy League universities such as Harvard and prestigious conferences such as AIPAC’s Saban Leadership conference. While in Boston, Ari also served as marketing and communications manager for the organization. In this role, Ari was responsible for the organization’s overall media, public relations and marketing activities. Prior to The David Project, Ari served as Senior Account Executive at the Israel branch of Ruder Finn, one of the world’s largest marketing and communications consultancies. There he specialized in strategic planning, media and analyst relations, marketing material development, market research, and branding. Ari provided these services to non-profit organizations, global telecommunications and technology companies (including several Fortune 100 companies), Israeli start-ups and financial institutions. As a student activist, Ari was sent numerous times by the MFA, The Jewish Agency for Israel, and other organizations to represent Israel in the U.S., Sweden, Denmark, Belgium, and The Netherlands. Ari holds a Master of the Arts degree in Security and Diplomacy from Tel Aviv University and a Bachelor of the Arts degree in Communication & Journalism and Islam & Middle-East Studies from Hebrew University. Ari is currently working on his first book, a compilation of inspirational Zionist quotes. He is married to Na'ama; Their twin sons Yuval and Roni were born in Boston but are eighth-generation Jerusalemites.