TLR 155 – Lots of MOTS (More Of The Same)
Lots of MOTS (More Of The Same)
This issue was planned to be a direct continuation of TLR153, which discussed the political scene in the context of the election campaign. However, and as usual in Israel, ‘unexpected developments’ got in the way, this time in the shape of the ‘Pillar of Defence’ operation in Gaza. The result was that TLR 154 was diverted to geo-political topics, while the second part of the political discussion was deferred, in practice until after the Christmas-New Year period. Meanwhile, the election campaign has moved on and is effectively in its closing stages.
Yet what is most striking is that nothing substantive has changed. ‘Pillar of Defence’ itself had virtually no impact – at least no discernible impact – on the domestic political line-up. The most interesting developments in the political arena have come from the parties and persona involved in the campaign and, other than the remarkable rise of Naftali Bennett and his revamped Jewish Home party – which is discussed at length — these have barely justifed the adjective ‘interesting’, let alone ‘dramatic’. Thus the primary focus of the mainstream analysis must be on why so little is happening and how it is that seemingly important developments have no impact on voters.
This issue therefore starts from the end, by presenting the universally-assumed outcome of the elections and then analyses how this result will be achieved, on a party-by-party basis. I will then return to the starting-point, namely the expected result and translate that into a probable scenario in three key areas: the structure of the next coalition; the shape of the next budget –which, it may be recalled, was the ostensible reason for calling the election at this time; and the likely lifespan of the next government.
That completes the mainstream political analysis and clears the way for an alternative view of what is happening in Israeli politics and consideration of the huge shifts in psychology, sociology and economics that are bubbling beneath the surface of Israeli society. The impending elections will determine, to a large extent, whether the forces that this alternative view identifies as being at work are indeed changing the political landscape – and at what speed. If the electoral results are not in line with the consensus expectation, the world of political analysis will be turned upside-down, as the alternative approach will abruptly cease being a fringe view and instead will be ‘mainstreamed’ – leading to as many ‘casualties’ among the analysts and pundits as among the politicians.
B: Domestic Politics
Part 1: Mainstream analysis: More of the same
a) The big picture: The right-religious bloc romps home
b) Likud Beiteinu: A flawed winner
c) Bennett hits a Jewish Home run
d) Labour: Trying hard, must do better
e) The political center: a circular firing squad?
f) Ultra-Orthodox ennui
g) Left out
h) Israeli-Arab isolation
Part 2: The day/ month / year after
a) The next coalition
b) The next budget
c) The next election
Part 3: Alternative analysis: Something completely different