תומכי הליכוד בגני בתערוכה בערב בחירות 2020
Likud supporter with a Netanyahu mask on
Photo: Asaf Kemer
Likud supporter with a Netanyahu mask on

...And on the fourth (Election) Day, God said, 'don't go to the polls'

Opinion: After 3 nasty elections, Israeli politics finds itself back in square one with an endless list of parties and all imposing tit-for-tat embargoes on each other; but if our lawmakers' stubbornness does send us to the polls for the fourth time, we must protest with our votes or lack thereof

Ariela Ringel Hoffman |
Published: 03.04.20, 23:40
As it currently stands, the two biggest winners of the latest Israeli elections are the ruling Likud party on the right with 36 seats and the Arab Joint List on the left with 15 seats.
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  • The two parties' election campaigns had one thing in common: they were both largely based on sentiments of rage.
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    תומכי הליכוד בגני בתערוכה בערב בחירות 2020
    תומכי הליכוד בגני בתערוכה בערב בחירות 2020
    Likud supporter with a Netanyahu mask on
    (Photo: Asaf Kemer)
    Likud's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue & White Chairman Benny Gantz infuriated the Arab sector with their divisive rhetoric, leading to the Joint List's tremendous achievement. The centrist party also infuriated Likud voters - even those who haven't voted in years - and emboldened them to flock to the polls in droves.
    The Joint List has given up on the general Israeli public or, at least, gave very little attention to it. It mainly focused on its core voter base – the Arab public that has been excluded from Israeli political life for decades.
    Netanyahu realized Likud won't gain much ground by trying to entice current Blue & White voters to his side and instead decided to mobilize his supporters, who, for various reasons, didn't turn up to the polls in the September 2019 election.
    Therefore, after the prime minister was done besmirching Blue & White's leadership, he used the last few days leading up to the moment of truth to go from door to door, talk to his constituents in person and ensure his message resonates with them.
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    בני גנץ
    בני גנץ
    Blue & White Chairman Benny Gantz
    (Photo: Reuters)
    Unfortunately, there was no one to do the same for the voters of Labor-Gesher-Meretz, which ended up crashing spectacularly this election.
    I say this with much caution since the party I've supported for years is also a part of this trident, but these voters didn't have anyone who could fire them up. If anything, the political alliance's three leaders, only got on its electorate's nerves.
    Meanwhile, what did Blue & White do to finish this campaign with fewer seats than the previous one? What kind of avant-garde and groundbreaking campaign did they run? The answer is "Anyone but Bibi."
    Did they actually think this old schtick, that didn’t work the last two elections, would get the job done this time around?
    They zigzagged on every single pertinent issue; such as U.S. President Donald Trump's Mideast peace plan, the annexation of the Jordan Valley, cooperation with the Joint List, and even the situation in the Gaza Strip.
    Now, two days after the polls closed, we still don't have either a coalition or a government. The right-wing bloc only managed to muster 58 or 59 seats and is still shy of a 120-majority needed to form a government. The center-left bloc will struggle to form such a government after Blue & White snubbed the Joint List.
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    איימן עודה
    איימן עודה
    The Joint List
    (Photo: AFP)
    And so, after three nasty and excruciating election campaigns, Israeli politics finds itself back in square one with an endless list of parties, all imposing tit-for-tat embargoes on each other and if our lawmakers decide to stick to their guns, Israeli voters will find themselves going to the polls for another round that will, ultimately, lead us to the same result.
    One could appreciate how our politicians stuck to the pre-election promises they propagated left and right - as if no one anticipated this entire imbroglio, as if no one knew there was no way to square this circle without the parties making some sort of compromise.
    Some must have expected the High Court for Justice to suck the fuel out of this fire and prevent, against rules of the current law, Netanyahu from forming a government and finally redeem the people of Zion.
    However, until this happens, if at all, maybe the right thing to do is to lead a popular protest.
    Not some letter signed by military pilots/sailors/officers calling on the president to not allow Netanyahu to form a government, but an all-embracing protest.
    The people – old, young, teacher and construction workers – must declare they will not go out and vote in case Israel finds itself going to the polls for the fourth time.
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    מטיילים ברחבי הארץ ביום הבוחר
    מטיילים ברחבי הארץ ביום הבוחר
    Israelis hiking on Election Day, September 2019
    (Photo: Israel Nature and Parks Authority)
    Enjoy your day off - it'll probably be sometime in the summer anyway - go to the beach, throw a picnic in nature or go on a shopping spree at some mall offering overblown discounts – but most importantly, stay away from the polls.
    There isn't any other way right now, as all sides stand their ground and refuse to budge.
    Regardless of where you stand politically, we must make it clear for our lawmakers that we will only go to the polls and vote for a party that guarantees to join a coalition led by whoever agrees to join in, from the right and from the left, and yes, even the Joint List.
    Let them draw the outlines for the next government and put us all out of our misery.
    Does this sound ridiculous to you? It couldn't get any more ridiculous than jumping head-first into another political whirlpool that will last for weeks and will, ultimately, lead us back to where we started.
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