snippet of reactions to election outcome and the Israeli ambassadors visit to anti-Israel hotbed Tromsø
Dagbladet, Editorial on the Israeli elections, in full:
NETANYAHU IN A SQUEEZE
Benjamin Netanyahu and his alliance for the elections consisting of Likud-Beitenu netted slightly less than a quarter of the seats in the Knesset. The incumbent PM is for this reason the natural leader of a new government. As all votes were counted, the Conservatives, Ultra-Nationalist and Ultra-Orthodox had won 61 seats in the Knesset, while the Center and Left had won 59. However, 61 mandates is not a majority with the ability to rule in a country where the Ultra-Orthodox Shas party is an unpredictable coalition partner.
Netanyahu’s Likud party saw a major setback; this victory has left a bitter taste. On the plus-side, however, Netanyahu has observed the Ultra-nationalist Habyit Yehudi led by Naftali Bennett gaining far fewer votes than polls predicted. This means less of a contest on the right wing. However, Netanyahu was less than pleased with former TV star and talk show host Yair Lapid netting his relatively newly established Yesh Atid party a second place in elections. However, being a proponent of “Realpolitik”, Netanyahu is aware of the necessity of safeguarding the support of Lapid. For this reason, he called his political colleague immediately after the elections, offering his cooperation.
Bibi, as he is referred to, has 6 weeks in which he must establish a government. Lapid is likely to be a member; thereby the government will be less right wing and nationalist than predicted ahead of elections. Negotiations may however become difficult. Lapid ran on a platform of demanding the Ultra-orthodox serve their military service like all others. Shas dislike this. By now, there are talks about the Ultra-Orthodox serving in some civilian capacity in a sort of national service- this being a compromise.
More emphasis is likely to be laid on the economy, weakened at present, with Lapid in government. Any changes in policies versus the Palestinians are unlikely, though Lapid is far more positive towards resuming negotiations with the Palestinians than Netanyahu and Bennett. Whatever the views of Lapid are, the constructions of settlements in the annexed East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank are likely to continue. To the Palestinians, four more years of deteriorated living conditions are to be expected.
The NRK, unconcerned about its recent loss of credibility, continues to spin a very thin story where Israel invariably is the villain
THE TURN TOWARDS THE RIGHT THAT DID NOT HAPPEN- OR?
NRK Ytring 2013 01 23
Sigurd Falkenberg Mikkelsen
After an election campaign, which according to Israeli standards was one long yawn, political pulses started beating again on yesterday evening. Something was going on.
There were reports of crisis talks in Likud. After being absent during the elections campaign, Benjamin Netanyahu again appealed to his supporters to vote: Likud was about to lose power.
New period for Netanyahu.
Actually, things did not go to badly for the PM. Even if the Center-Left mobilized, even though his list lost greatly compared to what he had in the last national assembly, and with all arrows pointing against him, Netanyahu never the less managed to gather most MKs with the list he and Likud, cooperating with the Yisrael Beitenu party, led by former FM Avigdor Liberman, had established.
Thereby, he is the natural fulcrum as talks over a new government are ongoing.
And again and again, Netanyahu has shown he is a good negotiator. He has never won any clear election victory, yet he is on his way to become a PM for the third time. The left wing has strengthened itself in these elections, being stronger in the Knesset, however not enough to budge the position of power Netanyahu has.
This elections’ surprise was Yair Lapid, a well-known face from TV and a journalist, however a novice in politics. I have met with him and his electorate in this elections campaign. He was clear on his ability to be part of a Netanyahu government, though he was unwilling to be a fig leaf to the right wing.
His campaign issue has been the Ultra-Orthodox Jews being forced to be part of community, sharing their parts of the burdens, including the armed forces.
He has given access to his voters, committing a good electoral campaign with many meetings with the people. This is how he has picked up the remains of Kadima, the centrist party which under the leadership of Tzipi Livni became the largest party; but which was unable to create a coalition, after which it collapsed.
The occupation avoided.
I have the impression many of his voters are middle class, hoping both for an economy with fewer divides and greater opportunities, who wants to be normal, who wants not to be disturbed, who may dislike the occupation, yet are unwilling to make a major issue out of it.
For even though Lapid, contrary to the Labor party, at least has spoken about the Palestinians, this has not been an important issue to him. He launched his election’s program in the Ariel settlement, he wishes for Jerusalem to remain in Israeli hands.
During the debate I watched, he used the term “get rid of” about the Palestinians, ergo, as I understood it, create some sort of solution making it unnecessary to relate to the problem.
Right wing parties changed.
The two largest parties on the Center –Left have no clear and active policy towards what internationally is regarded the most inflammable theme; namely the relations towards the Palestinians, which formerly was an important electoral issue to this part of the Israeli community.
Also, the Likud party is different from the old days. Gone are moderate and experienced politicians like Dan Meridor and Benny Begin, instead, more radical forces are included, like Moshe Feiglin, who has suggested the annexation of large parts of the occupied West bank.
And even if his star faded somewhat through the night of the elections: Naftali Bennett is leading an extreme party, the Jewish Home, gaining 12 seats in the new Knesset, possibly a member of the new government being created.
Therefore, it is a changing right wing which, though it is not as dominant as expected, never the less will be in possession of much of the power even though Israel is expected to receive a rather wide coalition government.
Wish for change.
But I don’t think what we have watched in this elections campaign should be underestimated: there is a left wing and a center attempting to say “stop”, asking for change, but who has not got the leader figures.
If nothing else, this election is a warrant over interesting discussions internally in Israel in coming times; the question is whether this is enough for their allies in Europe and USA and the Palestinians.
An impressive cut and paste job in Dagbladet, apparently, the only source they could muster was Haaretz, which can hardly be said to truly represent anybody at all in Israel
Dagbladet 2013 01 23
Line FranssonActor, journalist and TV star won the Israeli elections.
Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz has crowned popular television star Yair Lapid the “new king of Israel”, after yesterday’s elections.
99 percent of votes have been counted; votes by soldiers and prisoners are still not accounted for. They will only be ready by Thursday. What is clear, however, is PM Benjamin Netanyahu having four difficult years ahead of him, after a disappointing election for his party Likud, and coalition partner Yisrael Beitenu.
Benjamin Netanyahu has never won an election by a great margin. As in 1996, when Netanyahu won by a half percent, or 2009, as Likud won a seat less than the Kadima party. This tradition continued on yesterday. The coalition between Likud and Yisrael Beitenu did not perform as well as expected, the right wing bloc in the Knesset appears to have lost eleven seats, ending up with 31 seats. By next week, Benjamin Netanyahu will start the efforts of creating a new government coalition, Lapid and his centrist party Yesh Atid (There is a future) will become a joker in Israeli politics.
“The victory of Yair Lapid is a victory to modern politics: the politics of the internet and reality being made visible. He (Lapid) is without any doubt a nice well-meaning type. His experience however starts and ends with presenting TV shows and writing manuscripts and newspaper comments. In one month’s time, he will find himself in a room reading intelligence and defense documents he had not even the idea of the existence of”, Yossi Verter of Ha’aretz writes.
No “hollow cult of personality”.
After only twelve months in politics, Lapid’s party Yesh Atid gained no less than 19 seats in the Knesset. This means Lapid hijacked the votes of nearly all those who had not decided themselves ahead of elections Ha’aretz writes.
“His success proves the people wanting hope and respecting candidates offering a clear platform and a plan of action, not just a hollow cult of personality”, Aluf Benn of Ha’aretz comments.
Not much to say, really.
The elections campaign of Benjamin Netanyahu failed because he really did not have much to say. The man, known for his art with words, for being the eternal comeback kid, has lost the grip on the Israeli electorate.
“He gave no hope to the Israelis, he implemented a pathetic elections campaign, instead of presenting a political platform to the electorate, and he concentrated on being a ‘strong prime minister’, instead of attempting to win the hearts of the people once more, or raise the serious issues which were shown in the daylight in 2011, Netanyahu chose the easy way put”, Aluf Benn of Ha’aretz writes.
Ever more poor people.
Benn the commenter refers to the Israeli populace being concerned over economic developments within the country; however Netanyahu has instead concentrated on the threat by Iran; also constructing thousands of new homes on occupied land outside the capital of Jerusalem. This proves to have been a misplaced strategy, as ever more Israeli citizens feel the economic crisis. The number of Israelis under the poverty limits have risen under the rule of Netanyahu, now being no less than 24 percent of the population..
“Again and again- including on elections day- he was pictured at the West Wall in the company of Israeli soldiers. All this may have looked good on Netanyahu’s Facebook page, but it did not sit well with the hearts of the electorate”, Benn continued.
Must turn centrist.
Netanyahu recognize he needs support by the center of politics.
“We have to create as broad a government as is possible”, the PM stated on yesterday night.
The Israeli Labor also did a good election. They received 15 seats in the Knesset, seven more than today.
Israeli ambassador visits Tromsø
HOPES FOR PEACE IN GAZA
ITromsø 2013 01 18 p 9, Knut Eirik Lindblad
The Ambassador of Israel to Norway hopes for peace with Palestine to arrive soon. The Ambassador of Israel to Norway, Naim Araidi, is visiting this year’s TIFF festival.
The Festival has a separate program on Israel, highlighting different aspects of Israel and the conflict with Palestine.
“This is my first visit to Tromsø, and it is beautiful here. I immediately accepted after I received the invitation”, a content ambassador states.
His days are busy, his agenda is hectic during his two days visit.
“I recently was at an Israeli art exhibit; I shall now attend a dinner. Since I landed at 10 am, I have been to meetings, my stay is intensive”, says Araidi.
Boasting of Tromsø.
So far, he has watched two films during his stay, boasting of Tromsø as a city and a planner.
“The program is very good, TIFF is not just about culture, but may be a multicultural tie between people and nations”, he says.
What are your thoughts on the Mayor of Gaza being here on an official visit?
“It is very good to see Gaza visit Tromsø as well; it is OK to us. We are at conflict with Palestine, but hope for peace to arrive soon. Israel also has friendship cities in Norway; it is good to see visits bringing people together”.