'The Right won't be decimated in a third election'

Prof. Asher Cohen opposes third elections, but doesn't share estimates that it would topple the Right.

Nitzan Keidar,

Likud conference
Likud conference
Eitan Elhadaz

Prof. Asher Cohen, head of the Bar Ilan University's School of Communication, warns against waiting for a last-minute solution to the political deadlock.

"There is no political factor with a contingency plan and in my opinion, the politicians themselves do not understand the dynamics," Cohen said in an interview with Arutz Sheva on Sunday. "Anyone who speaks about the end of the period of Benny Gantz and says everything will close in the last 21 days has to remember a significant point. In those 21 days, when no candidate has been assigned the position, it is much much more difficult."

"At that stage, 61 Knesset members are needed to sign for a candidate. Try to imagine 61 signatories - if by chance there will be - on a letter which intent is - I violated an election promise. Will Liberman's signature be written after Ofer Cassif's [sole Jewish member of Arab Joint List party] signature? Where will 61 signatories appear from for a candidate who didn't exist previously? That's why this is a matter that should be closed in the next two and a half weeks."

Cohen is very concerned about the possibility of third elections. "A third election is a terrible thing. There are all kinds of implications that aren't political. The whole world is looking at Israel. It can harm Israel's credit rating. Its whole image can change."

"Two elections - it happens. There is almost no parliamentary democracy where it hasn't happened. Three times - in less than a year - it seems problematic."

Cohen referred to the report that the New Right is negotiating with Likud on a merger and the possible influence on party voters.

"The New Right is made up of two types of voters. Some will have no problem because they always go with Naftali Bennett, Ayelet Shaked or Matan Kahana and they will continue to follow them. But there are some who joined the New Right because they dislike Likud, to say the least, and maybe more specifically, don't want Netanyahu to continue in his position. Therefore it's really unclear how the four mandates seen in the polls will respond to such a move by the New Right."

"You also have to think about what the meaning is of joining Likud - as if they're waiting in the Likud for Naftali Bennett. With all due respect for the loyalty to Netanyahu within the Likud, there are least 10 MKs who are biting their nails and asking themselves when Netanyahu is leaving. The last thing they need is another competitor in the image of Naftali Bennett. So it is unclear what it means - whether the New Right will join as a faction within the Likud - or otherwise."

Cohen also discussed what New Right chairman Naftali Bennett told Arutz Sheva: that if Israel has third elections the right will suffer a severe defeat.

"If we look at data from the election campaign, we didn't see a dramatic decrease in the right's power. What happened is that the party of Liberman [Yisrael Beyteinu], which has always been affiliated with the right, changed sides. After all, if you leave Liberman in the right bloc, the right has a majority of 63" seats.

"The number of people who define themselves as right is the largest group in Israel and make up more than fifty percent of the Jewish population. I don't see how the right-wing will suffer some kind of dramatic downfall of five or ten seats. Where would they move to? They had the chance to do that in the first or second elections."

'The real question of third elections is mainly - what will be different? Why won't the results be the same thing - that nobody has a majority and Liberman remains in the middle? It would be an unnecessary election, but I don't think the right will be decimated."




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