Israel news summary

Israel News for 4-12-19

Final Results
The final election results were released yesterday, after roughly 200,000 votes of soldiers, diplomats and a few other groups were counted. The newly counted votes gave Likud another seat and caused UTJ to lose one.

Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked had hoped that their party would be pushed over the threshold, but they apparently fell 1,461 votes short. Had they not broken off from their Jewish Home party to start their own party, they would have probably added another 3 or 4 seats to the right wing block and been in a strong position to attain important ministerial portfolios and materially impact government policies. Instead, they weakened the right wing and ended up with nothing.

Arab voter turnout, which is usually very low, was even lower, resulting in only 10 seats for the Arab block, which is far lower than their proportion of the population. It’s possible that some Arabs voted for Jewish parties, but much more likely that they have simply lost hope in the political process.

Here are the final results:

Likud (Netanyahu) – 36
Blue White (Gantz) – 35
Shas (Ultra Orthodox) – 8
UTJ (Ultra Orthodox) – 7
Hadash-Ta’al (Socialist-Arab) – 6
Labor (Left) – 6
Yisrael Beytenu (Right) – 5
United Right – 5
Kulanu (Right) – 4
Meretz (Left) – 4
Ra’am-Balad (Arab) – 4

President Rivlin will meet with both the Likud and Blue White leaders next week to determine which to choose to form a government. But with a right wing block of 65 seats versus 55 on the center-left, it’s clear that the Netanyahu will be forming the next government.

Ganz and Lapid have pledge to remain in the opposition. But would they join a unity government under the right circumstances? They’ve said they won’t, but anything can happen in Israeli politics. Even if they remain in the opposition, they would probably support the PM in the event that he proposed making concessions required by a soon to be released US peace proposal. How could they not?

Moon Miss
Israel’s Beresheet spacecraft was set to land on the moon and make Israel the fourth country to ever do so. But complications with one of the engines got in the way, and the spacecraft was lost while attempting to land.

Morris Khan, president of SpaceIL, said “I’m happy. The flag of Israel is on the moon. The slogan of ‘Small country, big dreams’ and Am Yisrael Chai (the nation of Israel lives) is on the moon. I think we’ve done something. We got around the moon, we landed on the moon. It just happened to be a hard landing.”

PM Netanyahu remarked, “If at first, you don’t succeed, try again. We’ll try again, and next time we’ll just try it more gently.”

The mission cost over $100 million and was funded primarily by private philanthropists. Could that money have gone to more worthy endeavors, like helping Israel’s poor? I guess reaching the moon must be pretty important too…

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