INTO THE FRAY: A strange thing happened on the way to the polling booth

For your perusal, my latest INTO THE FRAY column

A strange thing happened on the way to the polling booth

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 Arguably, Netanyahu’s gravest strategic miscalculation was not to call elections in May 2016 rather than capitulate to Liberman’s demand to be given the Defense portfolio. 

It appears this week on the following sites (in alphabetical order):

ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Articl…/Article.aspx/24479 
ISRAPUNDIT:  https://www.israpundit.org/into-the-fray-a-strange-thing-happened-on-the-way-to-the-polling-booth/
JERUSALEM HERALD: https://www.jerusalem-herald.com/single-post/2019/09/25/A-Strange-Thing-Happened-On-The-Way-To-The-Polling-Booth
JEWISH PRESS https://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/into-the-fray-martin-sherman/into-the-fray-a-strange-thing-happened-on-the-way-to-the-polling-booth/2019/09/23/
JNS: https://www.jns.org/opinion/a-strange-thing-happened-on-the-way-to-the-polling-booth/
JEWS DOWN UNDER: https://jewsdownunder.com/2019/09/20/into-the-fray-a-strange-thing-happened-on-the-way-to-the-polling-booth/
MEDIUM: https://medium.com/@martinsherman/by-martin-sherman-5fd1842ea88f
RICHSWIER:https://drrichswier.com/2019/09/22/israel-a-strange-thing-happened-on-the-way-to-the-polling-booth/

Several short excerpts: 

Syria is not lost. Assad is Western educated and is not a religious man. He can still join a moderate grouping – Former IDF Chief of Staff , Gabi Ashkenazi, Haaretz, November 13, 2009, today fourth on the Blue & White Knesset list.

The greatest tragedy of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is that everyone knows how it will end. We will divide up the region. Israel will return most of the West Bank, and the Palestinian flag will fly on public buildings in east Jerusalem…The only unanswered question is how many more people will have to die along the way. And so we will fight against the extremists on both sides, including our extremists, the settlers – Yair Lapid, Der Spiegel, May 8, 2008, today number two on the Blue & White Knesset list. 

The disengagement was …a legal action… approved by the government of Israel and carried out by the IDF…with great pain but done very well. We have to take its lessons and implement them in other places.Former IDF Chief of Staff, Benny Gantz, Ynet, Febuary, 6, 2019, today number one on the Blue & White Knesset list.

Earlier this month, I wrote a column with the interrogative title: Sept. 17: Will the Right snatch defeat from the jaws of victory…again?

Judging from the emerging election results, it certainly seems as if it has…

Detriments of democracy? 

Almost incredibly, the prospect of yet another—a third—election in the space of a year cannot be discounted as totally inconceivable—portraying Israel in an extremely unfavorable light in terms of its governability and political maturity…In this regard, the Israeli electorate has proved itself to be distinctly dysfunctional in that it has not been able, after almost six months of collective contemplation, to elect anything approaching a stable governing coalition.

The demos: Not entirely to blame

However, it is probably unfair to lay all the blame on the partly—indeed poorly—informed man-in-the-street and his female counterpart…For they have been badly served by their elected representatives and by the central institutions that underpin Israeli society…

Over 50% of the Jewish vote

Four former IDF chiefs-of-staff opposing Netanyahu: (Clockwise: Gantz, Yaalon, Ashenazi, Barak.)

Clearly, Netanyahu had formidable odds ranged against him: An amalgam of three parties … four former IDF Chiefs-of-Staff ([including] Ehud Barak in the Left-wing Democratic Front”), much of a vitriolic anti-Bibi mainstream media and the shadow of prosecution hovering over his head.,,Yet despite this, Netanyahu and the parties endorsing his continued premiership still managed to win a majority of the Jewish vote (55 mandates out of 107—with the remaining thirteen won by the anti-Zionist Arab Joint List).

Netanyahu’s greatest strategic error?

Given the fact the Netanyahu was elected to be Prime Minister, not Pope, none of his untried prospective successors appear to have anything approaching his proven ability for the post of which they seek to deprive him…

Of course, one of Netanyahu’s gravest strategic miscalculations –arguably his gravest–was not to call elections in May 2016, rather than capitulate to Liberman’s demand to be given the Defense portfolio. …

Parade of perverse paradoxes?

Aivgdor Liberman: Rewarded for reneging on pledges

But setting aside Netanyahu’s error in judgement in his timing for calling elections, it is difficult to disregard that the September 17th elections were preceded by a parade of perverse and perturbing paradoxes…The first is that the Arab Joint List, an unabashedly anti-Zionist party, composed of wildly diverse elements (from left wing Communists to Islamic fundamentalists), whose only commonality is their rejection of Israel as a Jewish state—much like Blue & White is composed of wildly diverse elements whose only commonality is the rejection of Netanyahu, came out of the election with 13 mandates, making it the third largest party in the Knesset.

Puzzling and perturbing (cont.)

Another puzzling and perturbing occurrence was the manifest reluctance and tardiness of the Central Election Committee to investigate allegations of gross irregularities in numerous polling stations, which according to some reports, may have affected the outcome of the April elections and the possible elimination of one of the Arab factions elected (as the Joint List did not run in April)…Perhaps one of the most incomprehensible aspects of the last election is that the party most responsible for creating the mess in which we find ourselves was the very party that appears to be most rewarded by voters—Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beitenu.

Much at stake…

There is much at stake in the outcome of the Sept. 17 elections. Topping the list is the ability to continue to reap the fruits of the clement Trump administration and proceed with extending sovereignty over the Jordan Valley and parts (hopefully all) of Judea-Samaria. With a Gantz-led center Left government, the chances that the opportunities that might have presented themselves will be seized, are considerably lower.

As usual your talkbacks/comments/critiques welcome,

Best wishes,

MS

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