Revamped Yamina party poised be next political kingmaker

T. Belman. This is a terrific analysis. Bibi won’t attack the Zionist Spirit (ZS). He will make sure they cross the threshold. The people who voted for the 15 potential seats Nadav mentioned will know this and will want the ZS to be as big as possible.

Building a broad coalition is important because being in the hands of Ra’am on one end and in the hands of Smotrich and the Haredim on the other, is not good.

By  Nadav Haetzni, ISRAEL HAYOM     07-29-2022

Derech Eretz chief Yoaz Hendel and Yamina leader Ayelet Shaked launched their new joint bid for the Knesset in Ramat Gan on Wednesday, July 27, 2022 | Photo: Gideon Markowicz

The relaunch of the newest iteration of the Yamina party will either end in glory or disaster. If it fails, we can expect to continue on the same insane loop we’re on. But if it succeeds and even just exceeds the electoral threshold, it will become a kingmaker. It will determine who the next prime minister will be, which coalition will arise, and where we all are headed in the coming years. All of the players in the political arena, from right to left, understand this and aren’t exactly happy about it. Therefore they will make every effort to diminish, degrade, and undermine the “Zionist Spirit” party’s chances of reaching the Knesset and deciding their fates.

From this vantage point, the mission for Ayelet Shaked, Yoaz Hendel, and their colleagues won’t be an easy one. They are starting at a deficit in the polls, with their adversaries disrespecting and sniping at them, and soon they will be the targets of every denigration and spin their rivals can possibly conjure. This will come from the right, as an extension of the character assassination spearheaded by Benjamin Netanyahu and Bezalel Smotrich against Naftali Bennett and his partners. This will come from the left, from those who are aware of the Zionist Spirit party’s power to squash their aspirations and plans.

This new party, however, enjoys a significant public tailwind. It has the electoral potential of around 15 mandates, consisting of Yamina and New Hope voters. For the most part, these are people driven by a pure ideology that fits the right-wing camp like a glove. The majority of these voters harbor an aversion to Netanyahu and the cult of personality surrounding him. They haven’t forgotten the betrayal of his principles when he was prime minister, and don’t forgive the Likud’s corruption and underhanded conduct under him. The kippa-wearers among them know why they are looking for a party that doesn’t belong to Smotrich and his partners. They recoil at Smotrich’s school of Judaism, which is deeply entrenched in the Haredi worldview, not to mention his devious politicking.

Following Gideon Sa’ar’s alliance with Benny Gantz, many of his voters erased Sa’ar from their list of potential candidates. The Joint Arab List, whose leader is friends with the Palestinian Authority, doesn’t correspond with their worldview, the one that Sa’ar also once espoused. Hence, this voting bloc doesn’t have many alternatives. We’ve already mentioned Gantz; Lapid is far from their worldview and hasn’t exhibited spectacular capabilities as a prime minister. Meretz and Labor are truly on the other end of the spectrum. And Avigdor Lieberman – he isn’t seen as a stable ideological figure.

This is why the majority of the voters from this bloc, without the new Zionist Spirit party, feel somewhat orphaned. So much so that they decided that without a Shaked-Hendel list, they simply won’t vote. This bloc consists of several mandates that have already been spun around by the machine of lies calling itself “right.” These are good people who don’t get into the details, and therefore bought the spin of betrayal and Arab alliance.

This is also why the Zionist Spirit party’s campaign needs to be focused and effective. Among other things, it has to present the facts, which are simply the opposite:

Naftali Bennett was an excellent prime minister, who upheld the interests and positions of the nationalist public in Israel in an exemplary manner;

Ayelet Shaked is a tremendous Interior Minister; and above all else, the leftists who accuse her of driving the weak links in the Ra’am, Meretz, and Labor crazy, are right. Indeed, Shaked effectively held the outgoing government’s overall line, which was certainly further to the right than the Netanyahu governments; and Yoaz Hendel was also successful as communications minister, who among other things acted prudently by enacting reforms in the “kosher” phones market, which incensed the Haredim; Abir Kara was able, in a very short time, to change at least some of the things holding back the country’s creative and entrepreneurial public.

And most importantly, there are also good and talented people in the Likud and Smotrich’s party, but the Bennett-Shaked-Hendel trio proved its independence and leadership. This served and expressed their worldview, not the interests of the exalted leader and Haredim.

The giant elephant in the room

Meanwhile, the giant elephant in the room still remains – the question of joining a coalition with the Likud and Netanyahu. We mustn’t forget that Yamina under Bennett also didn’t exclude this option and even tried making it happen, unsuccessfully. Zionist Spirit needs to move on the same exact trajectory because although Netanyahu should resign from political life, he isn’t the gravest danger to the State of Israel. A Palestinian state, for example, is more dangerous. To be sure, building a broad coalition is important because being in Ra’am’s hands on one end and in the hands of Smotrich and the Haredim on the other, is not good. It would be a serious mistake to rule out a partnership with Netanyahu outright. Netanyahu, if he becomes dependent on Shaked’s party, will have to be stately and seek to build, not destroy, bridges to a partnership. What’s more, his political horizon might be limited – until either a plea bargain or conviction, whatever comes first.

We must also bear in mind that the political conditions on the day after the upcoming election will be different from the previous election. This time, there is no option for a coalition dependent on Arab MKs to arise, and Zionist Spirit certainly won’t go in that direction. Either way, the key to our future rests in the hands of the party that revamped itself this week. If it makes it to the next Knesset, it will be able to unlock this political maze and free us all.

July 30, 2022 | 2 Comments »

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  1. She should tell her new buddy that. But since it’s only politics likely he doesn’t bother looking at it. He wants Netanyahu only in retirement.