Sunday, November 23, 2008

Here's everything you need to know about the Likud primaries, which are scheduled for December 8.

There are 98,000+ eligible voters. Each voter can choose ten candidates on the national list and one candidate from among those running in the region in which the voter is registered. (A candidate can either run for a national slot or a regional slot, not both.)

Positions 2 through 21 (following Netanyahu) on the Likud list for Knesset will be filled by the top 20 vote-getters in the primary. The exception is that the top women vote-getters are bumped up to slots 10 and 20, in the event that they did not earn better slots. The top olim and young people also get bumped up (but I don't recall to which slots). After that, the slots are distributed to the top vote-getters in each region and assorted exotica.

Before naming names, it is worthwhile to consider some tactical issues raised by the above-mentioned rules. First note that the fact that each voter chooses 10 national candidates, but 20 national candidates make the cut (before we get into the netherworld of slots 22 to 40). To appreciate the implications of this, imagine (for the sake of simplicity) that Likud voters consist of two camps: blue (60%) and orange (40%). Suppose that the blues and oranges each have a preferred list of 20 national candidates, with little overlap. If each voter could choose 20 candidates (rather than 10, as is actually the case), the blue camp could get all 20 of its candidates elected. However, when each voter can only choose 10 candidates, a lot depends on how each camp distributes its votes over its 20 preferred candidates. In the extreme case, where the blues distribute their votes uniformly, while the oranges all agree on their top 10, the oranges can take the top 10 slots. In less extreme cases (e.g. both camps distribute their votes normally), the oranges are at least assured of getting close to half their preferred candidates in, even if closer to the bottom of the top 20. Bibi (who thinks of himself as the head of the metaphorical blue camp) has belatedly wisened up to this and is trying to slide the size of the ballots up from 10 closer to 20.

A second tactical issue involves how a voter should distribute his votes. Any ballot with fewer than 10 names chosen is disqualified. Suppose you really care about five candidates and are indifferent about the rest. Your best tactic might be to vote for your five and then choose five hopeless candidates, since choosing five promising candidates might be to the detriment of those you care about. If you do so, you might as well choose women, olim and young people, since these slots are guaranteed, so you'd be getting the most bang for your buck.

Taking all this into account, who are the candidates to vote for? I won't mince words here.

Let's dispense with the Feiglin issue at the outset. Feiglin will do what is best for Manhigut Yehudit because he believes that what is good for MY is ultimately good for Israel. If you share that belief, vote for him. If you don't, don't vote for him.

As for the current crop of MKs, there are exactly four who have intelligence and integrity: Yuli Edelstein, Miki Eitan, Ruby Rivlin and Yuval Shteinitz. There might be others who are more strident in promoting views with which I agree, but we should all know by know that stridency is an unreliable barometer.

One note on this. Some of you are probably wondering why I prefer Miki Eitan (who voted for hitnatkut) to Gideon Saar (who voted against it). The answer is that both are candidates for the Justice Ministry and on all matters related to the justice system, ME is far more reliable than GS. (If you trust me on anything, trust me on this.)

With regard to the other current MKs, Gilad Erdan is okay, though a bit of an over-ambitious never-did-anything-but-politics type. The rest, forget about.

Of the newcomers, if Meridor gets in he will simply be the representative of Beinisch and Aharon Barak in the Knesset. He is a dangerous man. Bibi correctly understands that Meridor and the other lefty opportunist now jumping on the bandwagon (Dayan, Hefetz, Peled) will bring in a few extra seats from the center, but I believe he underestimates the damage they will do subsequently -- or, worse, he doesn't care. (Aside: Uzi Dayan is a good person with many good ideas. My beef with him is strictly on the issues.)

The exception is Bogie, who is terrific. (Benny Begin is a deranged super-mamlachti who will be manipulated by Meridor.)

Another newcomer is Yechiel Leiter, whom I'd like to like. He is dati, Anglo, educated and has real ideas. Unfortunately, in the manner of briefcase carriers basking in reflected glory, as Bibi's guy he has developed a certain arrogance that has rubbed many people the wrong way. If someone would like to come to his defense, I promise to copy the substance of any comments into the body of this post.

As for ex-MKs trying to return, Ayoub Kara is a courageous friend of the Jews, even if not a genius. Same for Michi Ratzon (who is, of course, Jewish).

If you're inclined to throw a vote to someone running for one of the oleh spots, the situation is as follows. One leading candidate is the kind of guy whom you'd cast as Gaydamak's henchman, another is a Kadima MK trying to hang on (sorry bub, no way), another is supported by Feiglin for personal reasons but is otherwise not qualified. This leaves Asia Entova and Ariel Bolshtein. Take your pick.

For the regionals, I'll only discuss my region (Yosh), where the candidates are Yossi Fuchs, an attorney from Neveh Daniel, who has done excellent work on behalf of the Gush Katif refugees and has brought many "Bagatzim" (always for good causes, though sometimes unwittingly and unwisely aiding the empowerment of the Court). The other is Boaz Haetzni, who is a wonderful writer with very strong right-wing views. My guess is that Yossi would be the more effective parliamentarian.


Anonymous Y. Ben-David said...

Uri Elitzur had a piece in last Friday's Makor Rishon saying that if Bibi thinks that putting on their list one and only one "right-wing" trampist, Benny Begin, will balance out all the Leftist trampistim (Hefetz, Meridor, Regev, Dayan, maybe Ya'alon, etc) and bring back all the disgruntled, disillusioned Right-wing voters who have given up, he is mistaken. He says Effie Eitam is the test case. If Bibi thinks that putting a second "right-winger" on the list will make the party seem "too far on the right" then we have every grounds to believe that Bibi intends to sell out the Right just like Sharon did. Don't forget that Bibi is promising to form a gov't with Labor and Kadima, so there is a very open question as to what the Right would gain from having the Likud in power again. The only think that the Likud can offer a gov't with the Left is the ability to destroy settlements by neutralizing the Right.

Ben-in the 2003 primaries, Feiglin and his people supported all of Sharon's Leftists in the party, including Olmert, Bar-On, Aflalo etc, and they blocked several good Right-wingers such as Yoram Ettinger and Dr Gabi Avital. The conclusion I came to is that Manhigut Yehudit is nothing more than a political cult interested in promoting Feiglin's candidacy and they couldn't care less about the Likud. I figured that having other right-wing datiim in the party would shift the spotlight off Feiglin. Am I right, are they doing the same, or have they done teshuva?

10:23 PM  
Blogger Ben said...

You are partly right. MF1 and MF2 are in fact interested in the candidacy of MF1 and nothing else. But I don't think they go out of their way to screw other datiim. They just treat everybody who hasn't drunk the Kool Aid as equally hostile.

10:37 PM  
Blogger Vanessa said...

Who is the Oleh Feiglin is supporting?
And Asaya Entov is 100% MY.

And what about Shmuel Sackett for the Yosh slot? He is a MY founder.


11:15 PM  
Blogger Ben said...

At the moment, Feiglin is supporting both Asya and Sackett for the olim slots and Haetzni for the Yosh slot. Asya is very good, though not especially charismatic.

11:23 PM  
Blogger Vanessa said...

Where do you get your info from?

11:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1a. Why do you like Yaalon?
He didn't resign because of the Expulsion and its consequences -- he was booted out. And until he was replaced he was actively preparing the army to remove Jews from their homes by force and give Aza to our enemies.
He doesn't object to the aura of authority and integrity that even the left wing press has given him, but I don't see what he did to deserve it.

1b. If the army was totally unprepared for Olmert's War, and machsanim were empty, we didn't have any up-to-date maps of Lebanon, etc., is Yaalon not responsible along with his successor?

2. Why is Steinitz good?
He blabbers on about the danger of Egypt and then by supporting the Expulsion he gave Egypt the right to come to our border with armed soldiers, etc., etc.

I'm not arguing with your post, just raising a topic for discussion.

12:23 AM  
Blogger Ben said...

Anon (choose a handle),

You raise valid points. With regard to the hitnatkut, Bogie's firing was a direct result of his not being a Sharon toady. He couldn't plausibly have quit earlier on ideological grounds.

But, most crucially, Bogie understands the two most important things a politician needs to understand: 1. the Arabs hate us because of who we are not because of any particular policy and 2. the main danger to our survival is the secular left's loss of Jewish identity. Ve-idach zil gmor.

As for Shteinitz, there are just so few decent smart guys in Israeli politics that we need to hang on to the few we have, even if they have made some big mistakes.

12:39 AM  
Blogger YMedad said...

Actually Boaz's brother, Nadav, is the writer (as his his father). Boaz is a "community activist/organizer", i.e., Homesh and that he he is in Likud, besides being news to me, is a mindblower.

Effie Eitam is not very smart, or shall I say, sophisticated enough to be a good politician or, at the very least, a good parliamentarian (there is a difference). And jumping the Ichud Leumi without assuring a place in Likud is but one example.

And why Aryeh decided to bail out, I'll never know. I don't think there are 70,000 secular nationalists in Israel.

11:24 AM  
Anonymous Y. Ben-David said...

Mr Medad,

I was surprised also to hear about Boaz HaEtzni being in the Likud. However, he is also a writer, he writes in Makor Rishon and other places.

I am supporting Aryeh Eldad's HaTikva party. I will vote for them even if there is a danger of them not passing the electoral threshold. I have no faith in any of the other "Right-wing" parties. The Likud is using the same tactics as did the Republicans after World War II - "we accept the New Deal policies of the Democrats, we will just administer them more efficiently". The Likud is saying it accepts the policies of the Left (don't forget Bibi said he would form a coalition with Kadima and Labor) but the Likud is more "resonsible" (as if we have all forgetten their destruction of Gush Katif). I don't accept this. And regarding the ridiculously hame "HaBayit HaYehudi" (what kind of a name is that for a political movement), they are nothing more than the old MAFDAL under a new name....their propaganda says their intention is to make sure that Israel has a little "yiddishkeit" in it (their slogan says "Education is their top priority") so, just as they did with Sharon, they will quietly go along with giving up the Golan while occasionally throwing one of their grotesque, Benei Akiva-picnic-like "demonstrations" with plenty of Hasidic rock star and their music, unilateral withdrawals from YESHA settlements and endless rocket attacks, all in the name of "mamlachtiut". Better the Left should be in power if this is all the existing political Right is offering us.

12:00 PM  
Blogger YMedad said...

a. after 38 years in the country, one thing i've learned is not to waste my vote. it's the only free thing I have.

b. a "writer" is not a "columnist".

c. What's so different linguistically from HaBayit HaYehudi to Yisrael Beiteinu?

12:55 PM  
Blogger YMedad said...

oh, and nice work over at Southern Jerusalem.

12:55 PM  
Blogger Ben Bayit said...

Ok here's my 2 cents (and questions):

1) I think it would be the intellectually honest thing to admit you joined the Likud becase of MY (you have earlier posts on your blog that indicate this) and explain briefly why despite having left the MY faction you still support the Likud. I too joined Likud b/c of MY and have left both. I can see no reason to continue supporting the Likud.

2) Why did Uzi Dayan choose not run with the Likud this time and join Lieberman's party?

3) Regarding Yehiel Leiter, I would be hesitant to use the adjective "developed" to describe his arrogance, as in reality it dates back to his days as the anglo spokesman for Moetzet Yesha and even his disasterous tenure as the spokesman for the Hebron community. It is a fundamental personality flaw that certainly no amount of time basking in Bibi's (or even Limor Livnat's) shadow can cure and no number of law degrees or doctorates can cover over. BTW, he probably isn't such a good choice for the Likud to have on the list,as it's bad enough they have to deal with Bibi having spoken on the balcony of the Ron Hotel the night Avishai Raviv was holding the poster of Rabin in an SS uniform, and all the bad press that invites. Why throw in the guy who delivered the speech in English on the balcony that night for the benefit of CNN?
Is he still in Eli? He'll be the first one to pack up his house and leave voluntarily when Bibi hands over the Shomron. I would say it would be Eli Sadan of Eli that would be first but he'll be busy telling his boys that they have to obey any and all orders and will probably be one of the Rabbis wearing a glow-in-the-dark vest that says "rabbi" on it. So he'll have to pack up later.

4)Even though one can question whether Boogie took the right approach at all times during his career, at least he is intellectually honest enough to admit he was wrong about Oslo. Something that we still have yet to hear from many a rosh yeshiva who supported it - especially the ones who supported it with the mantra that we have to allow the security establishment to make security choices for which Rabbis have no special expertise. Despite having been presented with the facts, none of these Rabbis will admit to having erred. That alone is good enough reason to have Yaalon in the knesset and government as much of the religious zionist public (modern orthodox and charda'l) can use a healthy dose of realpolitik. As you say "veedach zil g'mor"

2:53 PM  
Blogger Ben said...


Let me clarify with regard to MY and Likud. I joined Likud because I thought that MY had the right idea, namely, that religious Jews should not relegate themselves to sectarian parties. That idea is still right. With regard to MY, my "joining" or "leaving" are without meaning. They do some things very right and some things very wrong and I try to be fair. When I can contribute something constructive, I do. When they ask me to do something idiotic, I don't. That's how it has always been; nothing has changed.

As for Uzi Landau (not Dayan), Bibi promised ministries to all sorts of losers, but refused to promise Landau a ministry. It's as simple as that. His marriage with Lieberman is doomed from the start. The question is only how long it will take until it blows up.

3:10 PM  
Blogger Ben Bayit said...

Thanks for the clarification.

I agree with your re: Liberman/Landua, but don't you think Bibi's treatment of Landau bodes ill for what we can expect from the Likud? I don't think this can be viewed as a case of someone jumping on the bandwagon or a formely farbisseneh ex-likud prince who is now crawling back in.

3:49 PM  
Blogger YMedad said...

As for Uzi: it was a matter of he doesn't trust Bibi and in any case, for him to be a minister would have been almost an unsurrmountable effort

3:56 PM  
Blogger Ben said...

Yes, Bibi's treatment of Landau, especially contrasted with his courting of Meridor, bodes ill. Very ill.

9:28 PM  
Anonymous moshe said...

Just a question about Feiglin:

I have been a card carrying member of the Likud for about 6 or 7 years now, and this is the first time that my vote actually means anything. While I don't subscribe to all of the MY ideas, I do think that MF would make an excellent MK, and from what I understand, he has a very realistic chance of making the top 10. Is there a reason _not_ to vote for him?

12:49 AM  
Anonymous Y Ben-David said...

If I might throw in my two cents worth to Moshe's question about Feiglin....Feiglin is a very intelligent fellow. I read the things he writes in Makor Rishon and other places and he has a lot of good ideas. However, he is totally out of synch with the Likud. The Likud is no longer a "right-wing" party. Feiglin says that the the Likud "is the party of Am Israel". While it is true regarding the membership and the voters of the Likud represent a wider spectrum of people (religious, secular, pro-Settlement, not-necessarily-pro-settlement, rich, poor, working class, entrepeneurs, etc), these people do NOT determine the policy of the party. The membership of the party was overwhelmingly opposed to Sharon's destruction of Gush Katif, but they were impotent to stop it. You must remember that 2/3 of the MK's supported Sharon and spit in the faces of the party's members and voters. Why? Because the people who really control Israel is a clique of wealthy financial baron, the media oligarchy and the "rule of law mafia" in the police, State Prosecutor's Office and Supreme Court. They control the MK's, not the party membership. The Knesset is not where the policies of the country are determined, they are determined by the Establishment I mentioned above. The MK's merely carry out their policy. Now, the Establishment may have differences of opinion within itself and they may fear civil disorder (which could explain why they have not moved against the supposedly "illegal outposts"), but again, it is not the Knesset that makes policy. For example, the economic policy of the country and the budget is determined by the Bank of Israel and the financial barons. They determine the large percentage of the budget, then go to the Knesset and say "okay 95% of the budget has been determined, we give you 5% to give to your own particular constiuencies (I am guessing about these numbers-but it is probably in that neighborhooe).
The bottom line is that even if Feiglin gets a top position in the Knesset list, he will be neutralized politically. The Establishment doesn't like him and won't give him any say in determining the policy of the Likud, which as has been pointed out, points to the Left and further concessions to the Arabs and possibly more unilateral withdrawals.
I am sure Feiglin is aware of this. I think he wants to be in the Knesset because he thinks it will give him more public prominence and publicity, not to influence policy. I think if he gets there he will be disappointed just like Kahane was. Kahane said upon his election "I will drive this country crazy" assuming that his every utterance and action would be covered extensively by the media. Instead they put a blackout over him, he got bored and gave up after one term.

9:07 AM  
Blogger HolyCityPrayer said...

My oh my, quite a number of wise people here.

My suggestions here:

I think people should keep in mind:

1. chill out, it's important to vote, even more important to influence others' vote, but it's extremely unusual for one vote or a small group of them prove to have been deciding.

2. It's a good feeling to make candidates sweat, but I think you should go with the people who you think will be most attentive to your calls. I think Leiter will prove to be less of a Bibi yesman than you may think - consider Yehiel Hazan, who was obviously a Sharonite, but used his Knesset seat to be a mored (no other comparison is hinted at in this mention).

Re Boaz Haetzni, he has been with Manhigut since the start, and has the relatively unique characteristic there of making a non-MY political niche for himself. I think it's a bit of a shame that 2 good candidates have to run against each other, but cest la vie.

Finally, YBD's description of who really runs this country has a lot of truth to it, but that's exactly why I am in the Don Quixote army of trying to democratize Israel. Please join me, we might not succeed, but if we don't try, we definitely won't.

1:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

(No handle yet, apologies)

Shteinitz: So he's made a big mistake but he's smart. I fail to see what being smart helps him. Or more crucially us. A smart guy who makes colossal mistakes is possibly better not making decisions that involve the whole country.

I also don't accept that any senior politician simply made a mistake re Aza. If you don't understand that giving your enemies territory right next door will encourage them, enable them to stockpile weapons freely and not only continue to attack Sderot but to increase the intensity of the attacks and attack Ashkelon as well, then... IOW they all knew what they were voting for. What Shteinitz's motivation was I don't know but if we're talking about "Yesha-friendly" people here then I don't see how you can vote for him.

Bugie: So in his book he came to realise that Oslo was bad, but as head of the army he was basically a contractor for carrying out its dictates. Removing checkpoints, not fighting to win, carrying out left wing policies of allowing your enemies to do what they want, empty threats on what we'll do if the Arabs murder one more Israeli etc.

I don't recall feeling when Bugie was ramatkal that somehow we were fighting Arab terror in a strong way. He left the army in June 2005 after the army was well on its way to brainwashing soldiers with those psychologists, planning on how to destroy Jewish lives, etc. If he really thought the Expulsion was so bad how did he continue carrying out the plans to do it until his removal?

You also didn't mention if the army losing Olmert's War could have had anything to do with Yaalon. Did the machsanim only empty out in Chalutz's time?

To conclude:
1. Without a doubt soldiers put their lives at risk daily in order to assure our security. Attacking policy doesn't involve criticising soldiers and it b'chol zot recognises the debt we owe the army.

2. We all have our weaknesses and I am far from perfect but I really believe that these gentlemen have some strong weaknesses.

7:13 PM  
Anonymous zalman said...

In an interview with the JPost, Benny Begin compares his views to Meridor (including the Supreme Court):

We share an assessment of the security situation and of the solutions needed. We also agree on the need to strengthen the Supreme Court - on the need to make it very clear that the supremacy of the law is basic to a democracy. You can't always count on the reasonableness of government decisions. The Supreme Court, as an authority that tells the government to be careful with its decisions, and make sure they are within the bounds of law, is essential to our society.

Dan and I also both favor the quest for social justice within a vivid, free economy.

So, don't you feel that the Supreme Court has overstepped its bounds? When Daniel Friedmann was appointed Justice Minister, retired Supreme Court justice Mishael Cheshin wrote a letter to him in which he said: "This is my home, and I will cut off the hand of whomever raises it against my home." Is this not indicative of a climate of judge aggrandizement?

The problem is that those who win their day in court are very confidant, and those who lose say the court shouldn't have intervened. There may have been some cases where I thought the court shouldn't have stepped in, but there are very few, and that's not the real issue. There are very few issues around which the court is forced by circumstances to enter into sensitive issues which may be interpreted this way or the other. Eighty-five percent of the cases brought before the Supreme Court have to do with individuals who feel, rightly or wrongly, that they have been treated unjustly by the executive branch. Only 15% of the cases have arisen from the so-called opening of the doors to groups. And even many of those cases have proven to be real issues that needed intervention.

In some cases, the Supreme Court entered into a vacuum created by the unwillingness of the politicians to make a decision, which caused them to postpone and procrastinate.

Also, it is highly ironic that it is minority groups who are often the harshest critics of the Supreme Court, when it is they themselves who appeal to the court when they feel an injustice has been done.

I cannot rule out change or reform in some procedures. But in recent years, under Mr. Friedmann, the Supreme Court has been under vicious attack that has degraded its posture with the public. This is not only ill-mannered, it is dangerous.

Returning to Meridor: How do you differ from him?

Dan's views are different from mind in reference to the permanent situation in which Israel will find itself within the context of a real, secured peace. As I pointed out, I'm not bothered by this difference, because it's not on the table.

full interview at: /servlet/Satellite?cid=1227702350811&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

7:59 PM  
Anonymous zalman said...

re Steinitz and Gush Katif
In Makor Rishon, Steinitz expresses his regret over the execution and aftermath only.

8:07 PM  
Blogger Ben said...

What you say is all true. It may sound lame, but the best I can say is "ubechol zot...".

Ouch. In that interview Begin sounds like a bigger putz than I suspected. Unfortunately, it is pointless to try to stop him, though wise people should at least not waste votes on him.

3:38 AM  
Blogger Shaul Behr said...

Interesting analysis; I've learned a lot from it.
For my take on the Likud votes, please see my blog and comments following (including a cross reference back this this blog).

1:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon sans handle again

Thank you for accepting my points. It's one thing to say I recognise their weaknesses but for other reasons I'm going to vote for them and quite another thing to say that Shteinitz and Yaalon will be faithful to the right wing principles of the Likud, therefore I will vote for them.
Based on the only interview I have read with Born Again Begin he doesn't seem to be with us either

12:36 AM  
Blogger Ben Bayit said...

Bibi's latest moves should make it pretty obvious that he fully intends to form a government with the left (or at least the left that masquerades as the pragmatic center and curries favor with the oligarchs). and that it really makes no difference how "right-wing" the list is. It will be the Sharon Likud-Shinui government all over again and they will be the one to undertake "unilateral" moves. Meridor will receive a ministry irrespective of where he ends up on the list. Tzippi Chutabouli will start going to see Rav Ovadia Yosef instead or Rav Yaakov Shapira and Rav Shmuel Eliahu, and claiming that pikuach nefesh supercedes the issue of the land of Israel. She'll do all sorts of Gila Gamlielesque flip-flops when it comes to votes. Benny Begin will make a half-hearted attempt to be a mored. Boogie will either get eaten alive or be the minister to resign - that book is still open. and the Judicial oligarchy will be strengthened - as it has always done under pseudo-right Likud governments.

Let's just hope and pray that there will be effective extra-parliamentary movements that will stand up to Bibi.

11:26 AM  

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