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Possible Israeli Elections: Voices In The Crowd

There's been much talk recently of the possibility for the current Israeli government to fall and be replaced by a new coalition or elections. We asked Israelis from different backgrounds and areas, which political parties they'd support and for their thoughts on the performance of the coalition government so far.

Question 1: If elections took place today, who would you vote for and why?

Avraham from Bet Shemesh: I would vote for Yahadut Hatorah as this party represents my wish to keep the Jewish identity of the state. Also, this is one of the only parties that really keep their campaign promises and I don't make me worry that I will be betrayed by the politicians I've voted for.

Yossi from Efrat: Ben Gvir, he's the only one who doesn't wade and back down from his positions on the issues.

Avi from Herzliya: I would vote for Yesh Atid. The reason is that Israel is an extremely diverse country with many different opinions which need bridging. Unfortunately, tribalism has become a big issue in Israeli politics - and people are more proud of their self-identified brand (being right wing, left wing, etc.) than finding common ground and proposing policy that betters the life of people from outside their tribe. In addition, as someone who cares about minority rights, I believe everybody should feel included in Israel. Lapid, even with his faults (like disregarding the religious parties which, I believe, was a huge mistake) is closest to this ideal.

Sara from Jerusalem: As a woman who considers her primary identity as a Torah-observant Jew, political parties are always poor representations for my beliefs. If I ever saw that there was a political entity which represented me better, I would consider voting for it, until then I'm voting for Gimmel (UTJ). Since that has not been the case, I look at my voting here as more of a Census calculation. It's important for the size of the population to be represented and accounted for, regardless if I am always happy with the party's agenda and decisions.

Abdul from Nazareth: I wouldn't vote.

Bat El from Herzliya: Either Ben Gvir or Likud, depending on how the elections in the Likud turn out.

Edan from Herzliya: I would vote for either Gantz or Lapid only because they are who my family supports. They do not like Bibi and I myself do not follow the politics of Israel so I just use my vote to benefit my family who actually care about the outcome.

Mohammed from Bartaa: Mansour Abbas because he is pragmatic.

Rachel from Jerusalem: Probably Likud because it's the closest to a center right wing party that exists now. I want a strong, non-apologetic, Jewish nation with respect for non-Jews party I know of. Not that I like them. I just don't dislike them as much as some of the others.

Question 2: Has the coalition government changed your opinion on any of the political parties or politicians in Israel?

Avraham from Bet Shemesh: Yes, definitely! The current government taught me that politicians are even less trustworthy than I've believed before. So many politicians and parties disappointed their voters by doing things they clearly stated they would never do. I've learned that unfortunately for most politicians their personal gain overrides their ideology and ethics.

Yossi from Efrat: Mainly - who's to trust. Who was just saying words that people want to hear, and who's actually speaking the truth.

Avi from Herzliya: This might sound weird, but I actually admire Abbas a lot (from Ra’am). Bringing a message of coexistence is tough - especially because there are a lot of voices both within the Jewish Community as well as in the Arab Community that are skeptical of his true intentions. However, regardless of one’s political view - Israel is multicultural. We need representation and diversity, not because it “looks good” on paper, but because it’s a necessity for all of us and for the future of Israel.

Sara from Jerusalem: Not really. I never took Bennett as a man of real values, but I don't think he is a particularly craven person either. Liberman is a real hater and I am pleased that he has been somewhat restrained by the other forces in his party, but for how long?I am the most surprised by Netanyahu, who I had thought was a particularly talented politician (whether one likes him or not), and then all the air seemed to go out of him. The potential of the role of the head of the opposition is huge. Netanyahu could have quite a bit more influence and impact than he has had. He seems petulant and petty, rather than the wrongly exiled true leader of the nation if that's how he wants to fashion himself. Maybe people who despise him will say that is the "real" man, but for all that he is a politician, I always felt he had some of the "big picture" aspect that makes an impactful leader and I don't feel we've seen that recently.

Abdul from Nazareth: No.

Bat El from Herzliya: The current coalition government has turned me into the direction of the more extreme right-wing parties as they are truly fighting for the citizens in Israel. There is no way anyone from the left has done a single thing good enough for even the minorities in Israel.

Edan from Herzliya: The coalition has not made that significant of an impact on my thoughts on politicians or parties.

Mohammed from Bartaa: No.

Rachel from Jerusalem: I have been fascinated to see the coalition fumble around and yet still remain intact. One of the most interesting politicians in the coalition is Mansour Abbas of Ra'am. I think it is great that an Arab party has a voice in the government and he seems pragmatic in the face of both Arab and Jewish provocators. A man to watch.

Question 3: If there are new elections, it would be the 4th in the last couple years. Who or what do you blame for the political deadlock we've been seeing?

Avraham from Bet Shemesh: I blame all the politicians that put their own interests above those of the citizens. In my opinion, this includes Netanyahu, Saar, Lieberman, and Bennett.

Yossi from Efrat: I think the "deadlock" we have in the government is the result of an untrue look at the government of a "Bibi camp" versus the "Anti-Bibi camp". Parties should be looked upon for their real views on important subjects, rather as who they want in control, Bibi or not.

Avi from Herzliya: I would blame the opposition - mostly Netanyahu who, while a great PM during the late 2000’s early 2010’s, should know when to retire. The Likud has a lot of great people in it - and Netanyahu managed to alienate all potential successors. This is unhealthy. A lot of people see Netanyahu as the only person that can “save” Israel. I do not like this way of thinking. There comes a time in anybody’s career when one needs to think about the next generation. Israel’s existence should not be tied to any human being.

Sara from Jerusalem: Ok, so this is a fundamental question, that is above my pay grade, but since you asked… I think we are reaching a stage in the evolution of Israel where the faultlines of this project of statehood are straining. As a religious Jew, I believe these are inevitable and unsolvable conflicts. I think this is a spiritual struggle between conflicting visions of who we want to be and I think this incoherence in the political realm is a sign of that: we aren't sure what we want. To me, the lack of vision goes through the whole nation, and up to the top.And if people ask, how would we recognize Moshiach [the Messiah], I think it's because it will be obvious if we'll all agree! But meanwhile, I think caution and consideration in politics would be wise. The last thing we need is to follow the polarization model of the US - so in that sense, this cobbled-together coalition has its merits.

Abdul from Nazareth: Lack of an incentive to run the government.

Bat El from Herzliya: I blame Lieberman from the entire start of the elections. He decided to break up the government and either: showed his true face a left-wing politician , or was convinced a good spot in government if he was to turn his back on the right wing government he was a part of for years.

Edan from Herzliya: I would blame the system that the Israeli parliament has in place for something like this to even be possible. A 4th election in such as short time period is unheard of in any developed country

Mohammed from Bartaa: The Arabs because they are not willing to pick a side and they are 20% of the population.

Rachel from Jerusalem: All you have to do to see deadlock is read daily news about America! It is even more complicated in Israel trying to keep a warring multifaceted set of politicians in the same room. Frankly I am amazed this coalition has lasted this long. I think it is a result of "Anyone but Bibi" politicking. Hate to break it to these politicians but many in the electorate would pick Bibi again if given the choice.

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