TLR 197 – Where? Whence? Whither?
11th June 2020
After discussing the question of “Where are we now?” in the previous newsletter, this issue moves on to the second question, namely “Whence?” or, more colloquially, “How did we get here?”
The question has many facets, which this newspaper defines as B] Domestic Politics, where it translates into “how did we arrive at such a weird coalition structure?” and, second in importance, C] Macro-economics, in which context a very difficult question arises –“how is it the economy is handling the coronavirus crisis so well and so badly, simultaneously”?
From the macro-economic level, the focus naturally moves to the level of D] Corporate Affairs, and to the arena of E] Financial Markets. In each of these the same phenomenon of ‘simultaneously good and bad’ is apparent, in different sectors or markets. But whilst in some cases the differences are obvious (e.g. software vs tourism), in others they require explanation (e.g. banking vs insurance).
For practical reasons, this discussion will be spread over two issues, with the first one confined to the topic of domestic politics and the “Year of the Three Elections”. The analysis will relate to political parties and blocs and trace their fortunes over the series of elections, focusing on the outcomes rather than the strategies, and what the results tell us about Israeli society (a lot!).
Reviewing the winners and losers is normal procedure following an election, but this is anything but a normal situation, because it reviews a triple election. You might think that the opportunity for parties to change their strategies and for voters to change their preferences would lead to different outcomes over the course of three elections — but you would be wrong. Perhaps the most remarkable feature of this extraordinary political year and unique exercise in participatory democracy is that almost nothing changed: the winners kept winning, the losers kept losing, but no party or bloc was able to achieve an outright victory at any stage.
How did we get here?
B: Domestic Politics
The triple election: winners and losers
- Centrists won, extremists lost
- The tragic success of Blue & White
- The Arab Israeli bloc won big time
- Netanyahu won on points, but not by knock-out
- The “traditional left” was crushed
- The “traditional right” also lost
- Haredi parties did well by holding on