Close, but no cigar: 7 things to know for April 12
Israel media review

Close, but no cigar: 7 things to know for April 12

Both Bennett and Beresheet get oh so near to their respective goals, only to be thwarted by harsh reality at the last moment

Naftali Bennett visits a school in Tel Aviv on May 10, 2016. (Yaacov Cohen/Flash90)
Naftali Bennett visits a school in Tel Aviv on May 10, 2016. (Yaacov Cohen/Flash90)

1. No way in: The final votes have finally been counted, placing Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked’s New Right just below the threshold.

  • The results place the party 1,462 votes short of making it into the Knesset.
  • According to Haaretz, the party is still holding out hope that the certified results, only expected in a week, will push it in, though few give it much of a chance.
  • Bennett asked elections czar Hanan Melcer not to publish the results Thursday night until all the recounts were completed, but that was rejected.

2. Wrong way for the New Right: The results confirm a shocking collapse for the once-rising stars of the right-wing.

  • ToI’s Jacob Magid writes that the party’s fate was sealed when it dropped its secular messaging and tried to cut too fine a distinction with the Jewish Home/URWP it had bolted.
  • “Prior to the establishment of the New Right, religious Zionists invested in voting for a sectoral party hadn’t been forced to decide whether they were more “mainstream” or “Hardal” [Haredi-nationalist]. Bennett and Shaked forced them to do so and, for that, the pair of ministers paid the ultimate political price,” he writes.
  • Walla’s Yaki Adamkar writes that it was a “fatal mistake” for Bennett and Shaked to compete for votes with URWP: “They had a chance to bring in votes of those less hard line, those that went elsewhere in past election. Instead they failed to make barely any distinction between them and URWP.”
  • Israel Hayom’s Nadav Shragai holds out hopes that the two will find a way to return to politics, this time within the Likud fold, to deal with areas the national-religious community has often ignored, specifically cooperation with non-Orthodox streams of Judaism and secularism.
  • “It won’t be easy, especially in the age of Netanyahu, but it’s not impossible.”

3. Get ready to rumble: The final results give a one-seat boost to Likud, and snag a seat away from UTJ.

  • That’s music to the ears of both Likud and Yisrael Beytenu, given that the first major fight of the coalition is likely to be passage of a law either regulating the military draft of the ultra-Orthodox, or a law telling the court to buzz off on the issue, preferred by the Haredi factions.
  • “The law is a condition of us entering the coalition,” Yisrael Beytenu MK Oded Forer tells Army Radio. “We are not negotiating with the Haredim but with Likud.”
  • Hurting those chances, though, are moves by the URWP to form a technical bloc/alphabet soup with UTJ to essentially hold Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hostage to their demands in coalition negotiations.
  • The move, confirmed to The Times of Israel by a URWP spokesman, is meant to serve as a counter-measure to the increased leverage Yisrael Beytenu chair Avigdor Liberman is expected to enjoy during the talks given his party’s size of five seats in an expected right-wing coalition of 65.
  • Just as big an issue will be how the coalition deals with giving Netanyahu immunity from his looming legal troubles.
  • “One million people voted for us, so one civil servant will not sway public opinion,” a source close to the prime minister tells The Times of Israel, giving an idea of how Netanyahu is planning on disarming the attorney general.

4. Give unity a chance: While many have called Israel polarized after the election, others are seeing hopes for unity in the results, given that 71 seats of 120 went to Blue and White and Likud, even if there are slim to no chances of a unity government.

  • “This isn’t some phony nonexistent unity, but 71 mandates for parties who, when you examine their positions on real issues (and not yes Bibi/no Bibi) there are very small differences,” Israel Radio presenter Keren Neubach writes on Twitter.
  • Haaretz’s Ravit Hecht has the same idea, though more as a function of realpolitik, noting that she feels subversive calling for a unity government: “But it can’t be that hatred for Netanyahu — which blinded many leftists and caused them to vote for Yoaz Hendel and Zvi Hauser for the slim chance to replace him — will send the sane right and leftists in denial in Blue and White to the opposition.”

Bell curve. That’s what Israel looks like on the political spectrum. You won’t see the data portrayed this way in the…

פורסם על ידי ‏‎Josh Ben-David‎‏ ב- יום שלישי, 9 באפריל 2019

5. Vote for voting change: The confusion that attended the final vote count throughout Thursday inspires no small amount of hand-wringing and second guessing.

  • Yedioth Ahronoth calls the website glitches and other problems plaguing the system throughout the day a “balagan” (Turkish/Russian slang for “mess”) and “a farce.”
  • “The need to regard Israel’s unofficial polling data with suspicion is a function of simple arithmetic: When you have dozens of parties competing for seats; when you have an electoral threshold that can lift any of those parties from zero to four seats on the strength of a single vote; when you are trying to survey a public that speaks many languages, with some sectors more prone to answer pollsters who call them, and some sectors more prone to answer pollsters who email them, and all manner of other permutations besides… polling will by definition be unreliable,” ToI editor David Horovitz laments. “But the actual count? That is something whose accuracy we have hitherto depended upon in Israel, and need to be able to depend upon.”
  • Haaretz editor Aluf Benn calls for much more radical changes — raise the electoral threshold, by a lot: either 8 percent, to let in sectoral communities, or 25%, to force them to join mainstream parties.
  • “The confusion of the latest election night is a wake-up call for a renewed debate on the system’s principles and on raising the electoral threshold. This would reduce the uncertainty and guarantee more stable government, while providing representation for minorities as part of broad political frameworks,” he writes.

6. We just lost the moon, kinda: The vote tally websites problems were nothing compared to Israel’s moonshot, which crashed disappointingly onto the moon Thursday night as the whole nation watched in excitement.

  • “So close we can touch it,” reads the front page headline in Israel Hayom.
  • “We made it to the moon,” reads one in Yedioth, reflecting officials trying to soften the blow of the crash by noting that Israel is still just the seventh country/entity to even reach the orb.
  • “Space is hard,” said Ehud Hayun, a space systems engineer at Israel Aerospace Industries, in The Times of Israel. “I’m not crushed, I’m disappointed, but I’m very proud of what we achieved. We had a lot of success along the way, until the hard landing. We knew it was a risky mission, and the risk we were taking to build it cheap and fast. But we tried.”
  • Yedioth reports that the problem appeared to be a problem with a sensor that led to a chain reaction of problems causing the main engine to shut off too soon. It says engineers believe the craft hit the moon at about 500 kph (310 mph).
  • The Interesting Engineering blog writes: “The mood in the control room grew increasingly tense and quiet as SpaceIL engineers could do little more than watch as Beresheet plummeted to the surface. After about another minute, Beresheet sent its last telemetry data back to Earth, 149 meters above ground and traveling at a speed of 134.3 m/s as it smashed into the surface of the moon.”
  • (The blog also confuses Sheldon Adelson with main funder Morris Kahn, but the science at least appears to be correct)

7. One of these days Israel, bang, zoom: We’ll at least always have the selfies, and this last picture apparently sent from the lander just before it smashed into the moon.

  • And given that the lander was unmanned and was just a loss of money and (some) pride, the jokes came fast and plentiful.
  • “As I see it, Israel made multiple landings on the moon,” one ToI editor quipped.
  • And given the proximity to various parties crashing in elections, most jokes tended toward the political.
  • “New Right is demanding a re-landing” one Twitter user jokes.
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