The myth that Israelis did not vote for a right-wing government

The latest example in Israel of Fake News and the Big Lie is the myth being spread that Israelis voted on September 17 for a “national unity government."

Rabbi Prof. Dov Fischer, | updated: 18:59

OpEds Rabbi Prof. Dov Fisch
Rabbi Prof. Dov Fisch
צילום: PR

In America we call it ”Fake News.”  In Israel, in "Hebrew", it is called “Fehk Nooz.”  The transliteration translates into English as: “Once again, the leftists of the media trying to deceive and convince people that their leftist lies bear any resemblance to the truth.”

The latest example in Israel of Fake News and the Big Lie is the myth being spread that Israelis voted on September 17 for a “national unity government.”  That is a lie.  In a world where figures don’t lie, but liars can figure, no data could be more shattering than the true numbers of votes cast. 

People did not vote for a national unity government. 

Rather, some 25 percent voted for the Blue & White party, which promised to keep Binyamin Netanyahu out of government and to rotate left-leaning anti-religious Yair Lapid into the seat of Prime Minister in two years. 

Some 5 percent voted for a near-defunct socialist Labor Party that once was the powerhouse of Israeli politics.  Some 4 percent voted for an even more-leftist Meretz party that included at its heads a refugee from Labor and and, even more telling, the most unsuccessful, incompetent, and disastrous Prime Minister in Israel’s history, Ehud Barak. 

That is what 35 percent of Israelis wanted — not a unity government.  One third of the Jews wanted a leftist direction.

On the other side, more than twice as many Jews voted for a right-wing government.  Some 25 percent voted for a Likud that campaigned unequivocally on a platform of right-wing politics, right-wing and even libertarian economics, extension of sovereignty over the Jordan Valley, Hebron, and the entirety of Jewish life throughout Judea and Samaria.  It was the most right-wing that Likud ever has gone. 

Another 6-plus percent, understandably not certain that they could trust Likud to implement its promised platform, voted even more right-wing for Yamina, led by Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked. 

Another 6 percent voted for an Ashkenazic Haredi party that, for the first time in its history, pledged politically that it would oppose even one inch of land concessions to Arabs. 

Alongside it, more than 7 percent of others voted for the Sephardic Haredi equivalent, Shas.  That is 44 percent. 

Another 2-plus percent haplessly voted foolishly for the Otzma party that is even more to the right.

With all the fractions, that makes 47-plus percent.

Add the 7 percent Avigdor Liberman vote: so politically right wing that Liberman will not sit with Arabs.

That makes 54 percent.

The data make clear unequivocally that the population voted 54 percent to 34 percent for a right-wing government — not a “unity government” under Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid that excludes Binyamin Netanyahu from leadership. The vote was not even close.

Everyone from President Reuven Rivlin to the newspaper pundits and television analysts is pushing the lie that Israelis want a “unity government.” That is stuff and nonsense. Israelis voted unequivocally for a right-wing government. Go ahead and include the Arab parties that drew 10 percent on platforms that include destroying Zionism, and the data still show the unequivocal truth: Israelis in general, and Israeli Jews in particular, do not want a “national unity government” but a right-wing government under Netanyahu.

Five months ago, the Israeli preferences were equally clear, and the right-wing came within a whisker of forming a stable right-wing coalition. They had 60 seats, one shy of a coalition majority — even without Liberman — and the New Right party came out with 3.22 percent of the ballots cast, just 0.03 percent under the votre threshold needed to enter the Knesset.  But for a few votes, they would have gotten in, and the right-wing would have made an easy majority coalition, even without Liberman, even with all the additional votes wasted by Moshe Feiglin’s Zehut party.

Little changed in five months, Feiglin merged into Likud, as did Moshe Kahlon.  The parties realigned a bit, with the Shaked-Bennett New Right aligned with the Rafi Peretz Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) and Bezalel Smotrich Ichud Leumi (National Union) factions, and with the Itamar Ben-Gvir Otzma party running alone this time.  But the numbers remained relatively constant.  By nearly two-to-one — and that is a landslide in any truly democratic country — the voters opted on September 17 for a right-wing government under Binyamin Netanyahu.

There now is enormous pressure being exerted by the media and President Reuven Rivlin to force a “national unity government.” That is not what Israeli citizens want, and it is not what voters voted for.  It is imperative that Likud members in particular stand firm and not abandon the mandate they have been given. 

If it means forcing a third national election, that waste of money and time is a pittance compared to the cost Israel will pay if it gives up the will of its people and fosters the entrance of a Gantz-Lapid government whose weakness and obvious fault lines will usher in the kinds of disasters that half a century of such governments have generated: Weakness, a refusal to extend sovereignty after the 1967 Six-Day War, a blindness that led Barak unilaterally to hand South Lebanon over to Hezbollah and thereafter saw a mindless Ariel Sharon, on the eve of sustaining paralyzing strokes, unilaterally hand over Gaza to Hamas.

If it takes third election, so be it.  Let the right wing figure out how to harness those Otzma votes, as the parties this time salvaged the Feiglin votes.  Let the Jews of Israel who stayed home this time draw the lessons that came from an increased Arab turn-out, encouraged by Mahmoud Abbasץ  

But do not capitulate to the lie that the Jews of Israel voted for a “national unity government” under Benny Gantz. The numbers are irrefutable: the Israeli electorate in general, and particularly the 75 percent of the country who are Jews, voted unequivocally for a right-wing government to be headed by Binyamin Netanyahu.




top