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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Naftali Bennett's Victory

What seemed to be a lackluster election turned into an event that people are going to remember here for a long time. Netanyahu's victory, in spite of an incredibly hostile Israeli press and foreign intervention, was indeed remarkable.

As has widely been noted, this victory was at the expense of other right wing parties, particularly the Jewish Home party, which plummeted from 12 seats in the 19th Knesset to just 8 in the 20th. What has not been noted, is something much more important than the number of seats that a certain party holds. Bibi Netanyahu has adopted an important part of the Jewish Home platform, a very non-pc item which was unique only to the Jewish Home: an absolute "no" to an independent Arab State between the Jordan River and the Mediteranean Sea, what us known today as " a Palestinian State."

Indeed, much has changed since Netanyahu's speech at Bar Ilan University where he accepted the "two state solution." Netanyahu the pragmatist realizes that with militant Islam on the march and general instability here in the Middle East, combined with our sad experiences with the PA over the last 20 years, setting up a PA state would be an absolute folly.

There is no doubt in my mind that Naftali Bennett, by bravely stating his opposition to a Palestinian State for the past couple of years, in Israel and in television interviews abroad, paved the way for Netanyahu's change of heart. So in spite of the loss of Knessett seats, Bennett has chalked up a victory.

4 comments:

yaak said...

In the same vein, you can say that this was Eli Yishai's victory, despite his not entering the Knesset.

He got Netanyahu to promise that he'd remove the criminal sanctions for Yeshiva boys who don't enlist - plus saying no to a Palestinian state.

Batya Medad said...

Bennett also reacted in dignity. I hope he stays in politics.

Cosmic X said...

Yaak,

Good point. However, you cannot have a law that doesn't have any sanctions at all for those who break it. I heard from Betzalel Smotrich, who will be entering the 20th Knessett as number 8 on the Jewish Home list and as a lawyer wrote much of the new law, that in the original law the Jewish Home proposed financial sanctions. The Hareidi parties strongly opposed this, saying that this will cause the closing of the Yeshivot. They preferred criminal sanctions, knowing that the government would be unlikely to send masses of Yeshiva students to jail. Smotrich has this Hareidi request in writing. He was shocked afterwards when the Hareidi parties yelled "gevald" when the law was presented. He went to Ayelet Shaked, and proposed going to the press, and showing them that this is what the Hareidim requested. She opposed that, saying that she does not want that Yesh Atid will know that the Hareidim actually got what they wanted, and by doing so endanger the passing of the law.

Cosmic X said...

Batya,

Don't worry. Bennett is in it for the long haul. I have a feeling that Bib has actually come to appreciate Bennett, in that he accompanied him to the States and gave him 100% backing with regards to his speech in the Congress and his position on the deal that the Obama administration is negotiating with Iran.

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