Monday, February 8, 2010

Why is Livni afraid of the Bill to allow Israeli's to vote Worldwide?

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans to submit a bill allowing all Israeli citizens to vote abroad. "It will contribute to the connection and to Israel's strength," Netanyahu said during a Likud faction meeting on Monday.

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's plans to submit a bill allowing all Israeli citizens to vote abroad, saying such a bill "would not be an expression of democracy."

Speaking to Ynet Monday night, the Kadima chairwoman hinted that the bill was aimed at garnering more support for the rightist bloc in the next elections, adding that she plans to lead a public campaign against the initiative.

"This law is immoral. Netanyahu has yielded to (Yisrael Beitenu chairman Avigdor) Lieberman's demands. This is the same Netanyahu who failed in the previous elections and needed a bloc in order to form a coalition. This initiative is a continuation of the government's efforts to secure a political majority," she said.

"Elections in Israel are about Israel's character and future. Such decisions should lie with those who live here," she claimed.

Livni's fear of such a bill is like a slap in her face and putting to sleep her bid to become Prime Minister , as a sign of the increase of support to the right in Israel was reported , a Dialogue poll conducted for Haaretz last week. According to the poll, Likud would rise from 27 seats to 35, while Labor and Kadima would drop from 13 to 9 and 28 to 25 respectively. The left-wing/Arab bloc as a whole would decline from its present 55 seats to 48, while the right-wing/religious parties would increase from 65 to 72.

Via The Jewish conservative:
More important in the poll, however, was the DISAPPROVAL of Netanyahu despite his party’s growing support. The primary reason given? His freezing of settlement construction in the West Bank.

Since his turn to the left, his numbers, which had stayed comfortably in the high-50s to low-60s, have for the first time sunk below 50% and are lower than his disapproval rating. .

This seemingly innocuous bill, which was first proposed by Lieberman’s Yisrael Beitenu party and fixed as a basis of their coalition agreement, augurs major change for Israeli politics.

Israel, unlike the US, has hitherto prohibited all voting outside of the state, except for consular workers and other government positions overseas. This was a natural outgrowth of the feeling in the early days of the state that Israelis who leave the country were abandoning it and the Jewish people. Today, however, Lieberman and Netanyahu see it as an untapped source of electoral strength.

It is estimated that close to 1 million Israeli citizens live overseas, the overwhelming majority of them Jewish. These expatriates, who usually left for economic reasons, tend towards the right politically, and represent a potential voting bloc for Likud and Yisrael Beitenu.

Their inclusion in Israeli elections would go along way in nullifying the electoral power of Israeli Arabs, who constitute about 22% of the country but only a tiny percent of Israeli expatriates. Currently their vote is split roughly 50-50 between Arab parties and the left.

If and when this bill will pass, it will likely be the final death-null for the already battered Israeli left. Meretz, the furthest to the left, will probably be the first to go, and may not survive the next election cycle.