Likud leads, but rise of Yesh Atid, Jewish Home bode bumpy road ahead for Netanyahu

Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding (Daniel 2:20-21).
Likud leads, but rise of Yesh Atid,
Jewish Home bode bumpy road ahead for Netanyahu
Ben Sales – Kansas City Jewish Chronicle
AVIV (JTA) – His party shrunk, his opponents grew and his challengers multiplied.
But with the results in, it seems Benjamin Netanyahu survived the Knesset elections on Jan. 22 to serve another term as prime minister.
Netanyahu faces a bumpy road ahead. His Likud party, together with the nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu, fell to 31 seats in the voting from its current representation of 42.
The biggest surprise of the election was the ascendance of former TV personality Yair Lapid’s centrist Yesh Atid party. Founded just a year ago, Yesh Atid won 19 seats on a platform of national service and pro-middle class economic reform. Likud’s traditional rival, the center-left Labor, grew to 15 from eight seats promoting progressive economic policy.
And another political newcomer, Naftali Bennett, is likely to push Netanyahu to the right on security issues. His Jewish Home party, a successor to the National Religious Party, increased its representation from three to 11 seats.
Together with the Sephardic Orthodox Shas party and the haredi Orthodox United Torah Judaism, the right-wing Knesset bloc will hold 60 of the Knesset’s 120 seats — exactly half.
That’s anything but a mandate for Netanyahu, who campaigned on the slogan “A strong prime minister, a strong Israel.” Instead of being able to lead a new coalition with a large party behind him, Netanyahu will have to negotiate with rivals and forge compromises with opposing camps.
Judging from the successes of Yesh Atid, Labor and Jewish Home, Israelis cast a resounding vote for progressive economic reform and new leaders in their parliament.
The biggest thorn in the prime minister’s side looks to be Lapid. Unlike the fiscally conservative Netanyahu, Lapid won support by calling for housing reform, opposing tax increases for the middle class and including haredi yeshiva students in Israel’s mandatory military conscription.
But Netanyahu’s biggest concern may be a rival in his own right-wing camp, Bennett, who appears to have picked up most of the seats lost by Likud-Beiteinu.
While Netanyahu remains ambiguous on the question of a Palestinian state — he formally endorsed the idea in a 2009 speech at Bar-Ilan University but has hardly mentioned it since or done much to promote it — Bennett passionately opposes the idea. Instead, Bennett, a former high-tech entrepreneur, calls for annexing much of the West Bank.
Even within Netanyahu’s party, nationalists on the Likud list who never before made it into the Knesset will now occupy seats. Among them is Moshe Feiglin, leader of the Jewish Leadership faction of Likud, who favors West Bank annexation and encouraging Arabs who hold Israeli citizenship to leave Israel.
The rise of Yesh Atid and Jewish Home do offer Netanyahu some new opportunities, too. Rather than rely on the haredi Orthodox parties such as Shas and United Torah Judaism for the coalition, Netanyahu could make common cause with Yesh Atid and Jewish Home, both of which want to draft haredi Israelis into the army or some form of national service — even though they may significantly disagree on security matters. Lapid talked during the campaign of his willingness to join a Netanyahu coalition, influencing the government from within rather than from the opposition.
So even though the haredi parties grew by two seats — Shas stayed at 11 seats and United Torah Judaism went from five to seven, according to exit polls — Lapid’s willingness to provide Netanyahu with a larger chunk of seats to build his coalition means that the haredi parties may have lost their political leverage to keep yeshiva students out of Israel’s military draft.
For its part, Labor looks destined to lead the Knesset’s opposition; its chairwoman, Shelly Yachimovich, has vowed not to join a Netanyahu coalition. Tzipi Livni’s new Hatnua party, which won just six seats, is likely to stay in the opposition, too.
The election represented a major defeat for Livni, who in the last election led the Kadima party to 28 seats — more than any other party. This time, the eviscerated Kadima scraped by with the minimum two seats.
Hatnua’s poor showing also suggested how little of the election was about negotiations with the Palestinians. Livni made much of the issue during the campaign, but it clearly failed to resonate with voters. Hatnua’s six seats equaled the showing of Meretz, the solidly left-wing party. By contrast, Labor, traditionally a promoter of peace talks, barely raised the issue in the campaign. Instead it focused on socioeconomic issues and made significant Knesset gains.
With Election Day over, the coalition building begins: To win another term as prime minister, Netanyahu now must cobble together an alliance of at least 61 Knesset members to form Israel’s next government. Who he chooses — and who agrees to join him — will determine a great deal about the course charted in the years to come by the Israeli government.
ELECTION RESULTS:
Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu: 31
Yesh Atid: 19
Labor: 15
Shas: 11
Jewish Home: 11
United Torah Judaism: 7
Meretz: 6
Hatnua: 6
Raam-Taal: 5
Hadash: 4
Balad: 3
Kadima: 2

A World Without America

I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, languages and nations should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed (Daniel 7:13-14).
A World Without America
Jewish World Review
By Frank J. Gaffney Jr.
Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has repeatedly declared that “a world without America is not only desirable, it is achievable.” While that sentiment won’t be embraced in President Obama’s inaugural address next week, all other things being equal, it seems likely to be the practical effect of his second term.
Of course, Iran’s regime seeks a world literally without America. More to the point, Ahmadinejad and the mullahs in Tehran are working tirelessly to secure the means by which to accomplish that goal. Specifically, they have or are developing the ability to engage in devastating electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attacks, biological warfare and other asymmetric terrorist strikes.
For his part, Barack Obama seems to have in mind bringing about a world without America in a geo-strategic sense. As Mark Steyn notes in a characteristically brilliant essay in Jewish World review (JWR), that would be “Obamacare’s other shoe.” It would amount to a “fundamental transformation” of America’s place in the world, evidently intended to be the President’s second-act counterpart to the socialist transformation of this country that dominated his first term.
That agenda is strongly evident in Mr. Obama’s choices for key national security cabinet positions: John Kerry at the State Department, Chuck Hagel at Defense and John Brennan at the CIA. The three are, like the President, imbued with a post-American, post-sovereignty, post-constitutional, transnationalist outlook. In his administration, it would appear that their mission would be, as the American Enterprise Institute’s Danielle Pletka puts it, to manage the United States’ decline.

Obama’s Narcissistic Chutzpah

“For behold in those days and at that time, when I bring back the captives of Judah and Jerusalem, I will also gather all nations, and bring them down to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; and I will enter into judgment with them there on account of My people, My heritage Israel, whom they have scattered among the nations. They have also divided up My land”
(Joel 3:1-2).
Obama’s Narcissistic Chutzpah
By RON JAGER—
The Talmud states; “We don’t see things the way they are. We see things the way we are.” Obama is a popular President, no doubt about that, being re-elected fair and square despite getting an F in almost every sphere of decision making associated with his administration. Obama is also a classical narcissistic personality type, vividly expressed by his latest foray meddling in Israel’s coming election. Hiding behind his newest court Jew, Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, Obama has been unable to contain his rage and need to get even with Netanyahu. Obama’s assumption that he knows better than Netanyahu, better than Israel’s Knesset, and better than Israel’s voters is very much symptomatic of narcissistic types who generally exaggerate their own importance, achievements and talents. Obama’s tendency to setting goals that are unrealistic and wanting “the best” of everything is also typical of narcissistic types and reflects much of what’s gone wrong with Obama’s Middle East policies.
Three days before Israel’s elections final polls published today will provide little comfort to President Obama. All the surveys of opinion before this Tuesday’s vote point in one direction: Netanyahu will win and win big time. That’s a bitter pill for Obama to swallow, believing as Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg reported last week, that the President knows what is in Israel’s “best interests” better than Netanyahu. It’s not so surprising that Obama has shown rigid reluctance to get tuff with Iran, or get tuff with Syria, or get tuff with Islamists throughout the Middle East, yet has no gumptions about getting tuff with Netanyahu. What is it that Netanyahu has done to tick off Obama exposing his generally hidden narcissistic anger and rage.
It just may be that a second term Obama is still eager for a confrontation and to get even with Netanyahu after Obama’s humiliation in May 2011. At the time the Israeli Prime Minister was invited to speak before both Houses of Congress, demonstrating brilliantly to Obama the consequences of picking a fight with a popular ally. At that time, Obama ambushed a visiting Netanyahu with a speech demanding that Israeli accept the 1967 lines as a starting point in future peace negotiations. Netanyahu convincingly rejected Obama’s demands, publicly rejecting the Presidential dictate, only to be followed by a standing ovation that Netanyahu received when he addressed Congress. Netanyahu showed that both Democrats and Republicans were united in backing Israel’s position and rejected Obama’s demand concerning the 1967 lines being a starting point in future peace negotiations. This was the last major fight picked with Israel by Obama over the peace process. In the ensuing months he launched a Jewish charm offensive with an eye on the 2012 presidential election. Obama, the narcissist that he is, hasn’t forgotten, and hasn’t forgiven. Interfering in Israel’s elections and attempting to spoil Netanyahu’s re-election chances is simply payback with more to follow.
The following is probably the expected scenario in the period following Israel’s election and the expected re-election of Netanyahu; Obama will be telling associates he does not believe a word that comes out of Netanyahu’s mouth. Obama will state that does not trust Netanyahu and does not consider him an ally – someone he can move things forward with. Obama will claim that Netanyahu will not look out for Israel’s interests and will cause the international community to view Israel as a pariah state. Those who are familiar with Obama’s analysis of the Middle East know that he has long since claimed that without a two-state solution Israel will not be able to preserve a Jewish majority. He has said this in the past, also publicly. Now he is calling the one who is to blame by name: Netanyahu. The president of the United States will want to save Israel from its leadership. After being burned over the past four years in his dealings with Netanyahu, the president will be pointing a finger at the person who started the fire. Obama will be taking on help to keep up the pressure on Netanyahu.
Much has been written in recent weeks about Obama’s nominee’s for the three most important cabinet positions; Hagel for Defense, Kerry for State, and Brenner to head the CIA. All three nominees’ are long term critics of Israel, and overly understanding of the Islamic world, never ever expecting any level of accountability from Islamic leaders, sound familiar? Obama will not be wasting his precious time or his personal prestige during his second term on the Arab-Israeli conflict. Obama will not come out publicly against Netanyahu. Obama will send these three men, Hagel, Brennan and Kerry, to make sure that Netanyahu does not sleep quietly at night. They will sustain Obama’s narcissistic rage towards Netanyahu every day and at every opportunity.
The United States and Israel do not have a symmetrical relationship, however, Obama and his three nominees would be mistaken to assume that Israel has no options other than to capitulate to Obama and his dictates. The political, cultural and yes religious alliance between the United States and Israel is getting stronger especially during the past four years of the Obama administration to his chagrin and frustration. This bilateral relationship is now so fully embedded and integrated into the infrastructure of the U.S. defense establishment and in her foreign policy as to be virtually indestructible. Obama who is at best ambivalent about Israel and determined to create daylight between the two countries will learn, despite his pathological narcissistic belief that he knows what’s best for Israel, that not even Obama or his three expected nominees will be able to downgrade the alliance between the United States and the State of Israel.