Rod Reuven Dovid Bryant and Jerry Gordon bring back Gil Hoffman, pollical analyst and columnist of the Jerusalem Post to assess the political dynamics of the first historic Israeli do-over election on September 17th. The April 9th election failed to result in Bibi forming a ruling coalition because he couldn’t get Avigdor Liberman of Yisrael Beiteinu to join or even Labor party leader Gabbay to join. Hoffman’s bottom line is that it will be hard for Netanyahu to reach the required 61 Knesset seats to form a ruling coalition. There is the reforming of the United Arab -Balad party list with currently 9 seats in the polls to foil a possible ruling coalition. No Arab joint party list would join a ruling coalition but might block a possible majority government for Netanyahu. It is complicated by a possible lower total vote turnout than the 68.5 percent who voted in the April 9th election as the Israeli polity is turned off by the political personalities. It could show fewer Israeli Jews voting, and more Arabs voting. There is the possible resurrection of the Labor Party given the recent election of Amir Peretz who led Labor in 2006 pulling votes from the less well off including from Likud. Then there are the 8 to 9 seats claimed by Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party. Netanyahu failed to form a coalition with Liberman in the April 9th election because of his objection to the inclusion of alleged extremist Heredi parties. Now, Liberman may be using his mandates to force a possible unity government ruling coalition with the Blue-White Alliance. There is the emergence of Former Labor PM and Netanyahu’s Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, who at age 77 has an “uncontrollable desire” to save the country from Bibi. Hoffman thinks that Barak’s objective is to strengthen the left bloc. Ayelet Shaked, the former Netanyahu Justice Minister, is most sought after by parties on the right and might be inclined to lead a broadened right-wing alliance. She might even save the political career of the former Netanyahu Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who founded the New Right party which never reached the threshold of 3.25% cast of total votes in the April 9th election to enter the Knesset. Shaked is also a possible contender if she returned to Likud, despite the objections of Netanyahu’s wife Sarah. Netanyahu’s strength lies in his commanding presence on Diplomacy, Security and the Economy. He has kept Israel out of a war, despite the 140,000 rockets and missiles held by Iran’s proxy Hezbollah. He has ‘sway’ over Trump as evidenced by the recent Bahrain launch of the $50 Billion “peace through prosperity” economic proposals. Hoffman contends that is modeled on something that Bibi proposed in 2009. The matter of whether the Trump political peace plans might be released during the campaign for the do over election came up. Hoffman’s view is that it might be launched only if it did not hurt Bibi’s election outcome. Bibi has picked up US Republican pollster and strategist John McLaughlin, while Gantz of Blue White has retained Democrat, Joel Benenson, strategist in the 2008 and 2012 Obama campaign. As far as the economy is concerned, it is not as strong as it was prior to the April 9th election. That is reflected in curtailment of funding of educational programs as pointed out by Hoffman. The matter of the impact of the looming October hearing on outstanding corruption charges against Bibi, while new allegations of corruption have surfaced. Hoffman contends that it depends on whether a knockout of the indictment charges occurs at the October hearing to avoid possible prosecution in December. As far as the upcoming September 17th do -over election, anything at this juncture could happen. However, Hoffman noted there is no chance there could be a repeat of the April 9th do-over. Whatever the result is on September 17th could not block someone else forming a ruling coalition.
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