The Day After

When after leading the opposition for nearly three decades, Menachem Begin stunned the establishment when he won the 1977 Israeli elections.

They called it then a mahapach — a totally unexpected outcome.

In some ways, the fact that Benjamin Netanyahu scored a resounding victory  against all the predictions, getting 30 seats in the Knesset was a repetition of such a mahapach.

During the weeks before the elections, the Israeli media pulled out all the stops, and never stopped viciously attacking Netanyahu and his government.

For his critics, the only goal was to topple him. They endorsed the leaders of the Zionist Camp — Mr. Herzog,  a mild mannered, upper-class man but  absolutely not leadership material, as well as his partner, Mrs. Livni, who changes her mind almost as often as one blinks.

Desperate to get rid of Bibi, they did all they could to create an illusion that a ‘correct’ Israeli finally has the solution.

At the last Zionist Camp rally in Tel Aviv, the widow of a commander killed last summer in Gaza spoke, staying that she will support “whoever will stop the bloodshed.”

But what was perhaps the turning point of this rally was when left-wing artist Yair Garbuz went on a verbal rampage attacking “Kissers of amulets, idol-worshippers and people who bow down and prostrate themselves on the graves of saints … ”

Wounded to the core by the brutal attack, traditional elements of Israeli voters long affiliated with the ideology of the Likud but that haven’t cast ballots in many years, began to view the Zionist Camp for what it was — a reincarnation of the same elitist, extremely secular and very left-wing labor party they repeatedly rejected for most of the last three decades.

They decided that Herzog and Livni is not the solution they sought.

After giving Yair Lapid 19 mandates last time around, Israeli voters came to the conclusion that  he is too young, immature,  extremist and full of hate toward the chareidim. The average Israeli doesn’t actually hate chareidim, though they do allow themselves to be swept along in a sea of incitement. The combination of the venom and his miserable failings as a finance minister caused him to lose eight seats.

Avigdor Lieberman still lives under the illusion that the Russian olim from thirty years ago need him as a leader as they don’t know enough Hebrew to fight on their own. He too took a tumble in the number of seats he got.

Election Night

Tuesday night everyone was still in dreamland. Both the winners and the losers were smiling and trying to see the positive aspects of the election results.

True that Bayit Hayehudi lost four seats but in their minds — they still kept eight.

True  that Avigdor Lieberman is not part of Likud but he still retained five seats, instead of 31.

Wednesday morning it was clear to the entire world that Netanyahu had fought for his life, he knew what he was doing as a campaigner and won big time.

Yitzchak Herzog managed to get 24 seats but it doesn’t get him any closer to a coalition.

Unfortunately, Shas, despite facing serious obstacles won seven seats, but lost four seats. The Yachad party didn’t make it at all, and at least 118,330 votes were wasted.

UTJ has six seats, but lost 1.

We have to be honest with ourselves and  to admit that only unity brings real achievements and it was the discord within our ranks that caused the chareidim to lose precious mandates.

The Media

Media in Israel woke up Wednesday to a devastating situation.

They predicted, analyzed, hired poll takers, and had it all ready to crown Herzog as the next Prime Minister of Israel but in the end they failed big time.

At least one media personality, Chaim Yavin, a veteran anchor in the Israeli media was honest about it, “let’s admit that we failed big time,” he said.

The media in the U.S. was divided very clearly between the liberals, symbolized by The New York Times, and the Conservatives, symbolized by the Wall Street Journal.

The New York Times nastily chose the worst picture they could find of Netanyahu in order to present him as a fascist leader. To the NYT Publisher Mr. Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr., The only thing missing in this picture was the mustache. What he didn’t do with a mustache, he made up with an “ugly” editorial.

The WSJ’s coverage was fair and gave the news as it was — admitting in the editorial that Netanyahu’s victory would be bitter news for President Obama. The picture was of a winner, who did not look fascist at all.

What we have learned is that as long as the politics goes according to the ideas/plans/decisions of the media, in Israel and abroad, everything is fine and it’s a democracy.

The minute it doesn’t go according to them, then according to the NYT “Israel Election Turns Ugly.”

Then suddenly, Democracy doesn’t exist.

Conclusion

Benjamin Netanyahu now has a chance to try to repair some of the serious damage his last government caused. Under his leadership, a status quo that was in place for 65 years was all but shattered, and devastating funding cuts that hurt the youngest and most vulnerable was put in place. Now, when he needs them, he is asking the representatives of those he hurt the most, to join his government, but he must acknowledge that he has much work to do undo the grave harm he has caused.

Regardless of whose fault the rift between Netanyahu and Obama is, it is imperative that Netanyahu put a real emphasis on repairing this crucial relationship.

Last and most importantly, the Ribbono shel Olam showed so clearly that we, wherever and whoever we are, are only puppets.

Political parties can spend millions on election campaigns, speak/talk/announce/warn/bless/curse but at the end of the day, the Ribbono shel Olam is the real leader and baal habayis, who decides who will be the ruler.

It doesn’t take away from our hishtadlus, but that’s a different story.