Tuesday, November 27, 2012

How Extremely Right-Wing is the Likud List?

Questioning the shocking comments over the outcome of the Likud primaries, Daniel Ohayon, a graduate student in political communication at the Hebrew University, writes in Tal Schneider's Plog (Political Blog): [Translated from Hebrew]

"If you take a deep look deep at the Likud list and analyze the results, it's evident that except some minor changes in some of the places, there's no extreme change in the Likud's political and diplomatic position, as claimed in the press.

If we look at the first ten, we can see that six members (Saar, Arden, Shalom, Israel Katz, Rivlin, Ya'alon) are defined as right-wing moderates...

In a report published three months ago by an independent settlers group - who're monitoring the activities of the right-wing Knesset members in particular - the above Likud MK's received low marks on their activity for the settlements, while Danon, Elkin, Hotovely and Levin, scored very high ratings (over 90), along with a recommendation to strengthen them in the primaries. Thus, the weight of the ultra right-wingers in the top ten is noticeable, but not overwhelming.

Edelstein, Feiglin and Regev are also balanced by Livnat, Gamaliel, Steinitz and Hanegbi who are clearly tilted towards the center...

The people who were frightened yesterday about the Likud list can be divided into two comprehensive factions:

One, the center - left,  who won't vote Likud regardless, who are simply frustrated by the democratic choice of the voters, and the fact that this unattractive Likud List will rule the country over the next four years.

On the other hand, right wing voters, and especially those who were expecting a big showing in the new Jewish home party, are simply agitated that some other party placed five and a half religious / formerly religious (Hotovely, Elkin, Edelstein, Feiglin and Arden) candidates at the top of the list. Which will only benefit the Likud as a ruling party, in attracting votes from the religious communities within the Likud, while bolstering their right agenda.

At the end, I do not see Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lead a right-wing/religious coalition. If he wants to comply the Israeli public's quest in changing the political spectrum and bring change to the socioeconomic system, he will have to build a broader coalition assembled of Labor, religious parties and maybe Yair Lapid.

When the minister portfolios are granted to the coalition partners, and assuming some of the sidelined Likud members would be emitted with some gov't position, the influence of the Ultra right-wing members will ultimately decrease and will not affect the policies in the next government.