Update IV: Bibi Netanyahu has more Irish in him than Lizzie Warren has Cherokee. Yup, Netanyahu has the luck of the Irish, Begorrah:
The Israeli elections took a dramatic turn in the early morning hours on Wednesday as official tallies from nearly all precincts indicate that Likud has opened up a significant lead over Zionist Union, a far cry from the virtual dead heat that television exit polls had reported Tuesday evening.
With nearly 95 percent of precincts reporting before dawn on Wednesday, the Likud has emerged as the clear, undisputed victor in the elections.
Merlin’s Beard Harry!, that’s our Bibi:
4:44 A.M. With 99.5 percent of the ballots counted, Likud is increasing its lead with 29 Knesset seats, compared to the Zionist Union’s 24.
That’s our Bibi boy! More Irish in him than the Cheekbone Charlatan, the Cherokee “one drop” from the Codfish State has Native American blood in her. Yup, Bibi should get dual citizenship from the Emerald Isle now that the Blarney Stone kissed him. But if Bibi is the winner, who is the boob?:
Bibi wins big
As Netanyahu seems set to return to power, his relations with the Obama White House appear to reach a new low. [snip]
“Sure loser: Obama,” tweeted Weekly Standard editor William Kristol, a major Netanyahu booster.
In particular, defending a nuclear deal with Iran would have been easier for Obama absent the protests of Netanyahu, who has warned Congress that Obama is striving for “a very bad deal” with Iran. Herzog also questioned the pending deal with Iran, but in more muted tones.
Obama thought he could bypass the American congress and instead have his “executive to executive” agreement passed by the Security Council at the United Nations. Without Netanyahu to protest Obama would have had the UN lift sanctions against his pals in Iran and thereby be able to ignore the Constitution and the American congress would have been unable to stop Obama as they watched the world-wide sanctions against Iran lifted and Israel eventually obliterated.
Netanyahu’s reelection (a record fourth term) as Prime Minister of Israel has just thrown Obama’s plots into the crapper.
The polls close there at 4 p.m. ET. Here’s your thread for following results, which should be updated regularly at the Jerusalem Post, Haaretz, the New York Times, the BBC, and, well, pretty much every other major western news outlet with a decent international section.
Israeli voters have spoken. We’ll find out soon what they said. A Channel 2 exit poll has it Likud (Bibi) 28, Zionist Union (Herzog) 27. Channel 10 and Channel 1 have it at 27 for both. If Likud loses expect a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. Obama’s legacy will be Armageddon.
Update II: Netanyahu smiling. This seems to qualify as a “bombshell” in the Israel election. It’s Israeli politics so confusing as ever. But anytime an opposition party denies something is going to happen that then happens and the word “panic” is flung around, it’s probably not a good thing and this appears to be the case for the Netanyahu opposition coalition:
Livni forgoes rotating premiership with Herzog
Zionist Union’s No. 2 drops bombshell 12 hours before election; Netanyahu, Herzog accuse each other of ‘panicking’
The Zionist Union’s Tzipi Livni announced Monday evening that she would give up the rotation of the premiership with the slate’s leader, Isaac Herzog, an agreement the two made months ago when her Hatnua party merged with his Labor Party. [snip]
The bombshell came 12 hours before polling stations were set to open, in an apparent last-ditch effort to garner additional votes. [snip]
In a response to the announcement, Netanyahu told Channel 2 that the decision reflected the Zionist Union’s “panic” — an accusation echoed by Herzog, who in turn said Netanyahu was the one “panicking.”
Netanyahu told the TV station that the move proved two things: “One, that they’re lying. Either they lied earlier [when they announced the rotation], or they’re lying now. And the second thing is that they can’t deal with any pressure. They can’t deal with the pressure of the polls, how will they be able to deal with international pressure?” [snip]
On Sunday, Haaretz reported that during a Zionist Union campaign meeting, Livni said she was willing to forgo the rotation. But strategist Reuven Adler opined that such a move, announced so close to the election, would be detrimental.
Two hours before the announcement, Herzog emphatically denied that the two were set to cancel the rotation agreement. “There was no discussion about [whether to cancel the rotation] in the past week. It’s not on the agenda, period. The partnership between Livni and me brought us to [where we are] today. It is an important partnership,” Herzog told Army Radio.
“It’s not on the agenda, period.” Sounds like an Obama “period”. Watch out Israel!
We’re not experts on Israeli politics but this appears to be good for Netanyahu and bad for Herzog. “Two hours before the announcement…” Hmm.
Obama’s gonna need a bigger bus as number of opponents grows.
Benyamin Netanyahu is under threat by Barack Obama. The stories seep out daily. Obama used American government resources to destroy Netanyahu’s election chances. Obama operatives are in Israel to mobilize against Netanyahu and defeat him.
Tomorrow, election day in Israel, Netanyahu will need the luck of the Irish. It will be St. Patrick’s Day so Netanyahu might pull out a win. Israeli politics are complicated so it is difficult to know who will win. Netanyahu might “lose” but his coalition might “win” so he might “win”. Netanyahu might “win” but his coalition might “lose” so he might “lose” or “win” or something as the last polls on Friday the 13th came in:
Opinion polls released in Israel today show the left-wing “Zionist Union” party (a combination of the venerable Labor party and Tzipi Livni’s group) holding a 3-4 seat lead over the right-wing Likud party. However, the total size of the right and left wing blocs in the Knesset would be equal. Thus the nature of the government that will be formed will ultimately depend on the center-right, brand-new Kulanu party, and the two mainstay haredi parties.
Add to the multi-party complications the ban on published polls close before an election – so we are somewhat flying blind – those Friday 13 polls are the last that will be published. Netanyahu might win or lose or win/lose or lose/win:
The results echoed surveys released earlier Friday — the final day that opinion polls could legally be published before Tuesday’s election — which both predicted a win for the Zionist Union.
But Israel’s complex electoral system, where many parties are vying for power, means the task of forming a new government does not automatically fall to the winning candidate or list.
Israel’s new premier will be the one who can build a coalition commanding a majority of at least 61 seats in the 120-strong Knesset.
That task will be all the harder as there are at least 11 party lists to reckon with from across the political spectrum as well as ultra-Orthodox and Arab parties.
Under the proportional system, voters choose party lists rather than individual candidates, with seats distributed according to the percentage of the vote received.
Analysts believe the next three days will be crucial, as 20 percent of voters have said they are undecided.
Netanyahu wants the election to be about security issues and the opposition wants to highlight economic issues about which the Israeli public is unhappy:
Netanyahu has run a campaign focused squarely on security issues, arguing that only he is capable of protecting Israel from an Iranian nuclear threat and warning that security will be at risk in case of victory for his rivals, the centre-left Zionist Union.
But on the street, voters appeared more concerned by the increasingly unmanageable cost of living and the Jewish state’s housing crisis.
With the last opinion polls showing a consistent erosion in support for his rightwing Likud, Netanyahu on Sunday launched a last-ditch charm offensive to lure the support of centre-right Kulanu.
Barack Obama might score a Chicago style St. Valentine’s Day style massacre hit against Netanyahu on St. Patrick’s Day. But there is another….
Netanyahu is not the only one in the Middle East Obama hates. Egyptian President Al-Sisi is also on Chicago Obama’s hit list. We praised Al-Sisi in our first article of this year. We’ve also previously noted how Obama has attacked Al-Sisi and favored his foes, the Muslim Brotherhood.
Today Lally Weymouth, former owner/publisher of the Washington Post, former Special Diplomatic Correspondent of Newsweek magazine, and currently the Senior Associate Editor of the Washington Post published an astonishing interview every Israeli voter should read:
Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi, who talks to Netanyahu ‘a lot,’ says his country is in danger of collapse
CAIRO Since the army took power from Mohamed Morsi in 2013 with popular support, Egyptian President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi says he’s been fighting to keep the forces of anarchy at bay. On the eve of a large investment conference this weekend, he invited The Washington Post’s Lally Weymouth to the massive white presidential palace for a conversation about Egypt’s problematic relationship with Washington, how to defeat the Islamic State, and his fears and hopes for his country. Edited excerpts follow.
Sissi: Do you remember the last time we met [in August 2013], what I said?
Yes, you said you felt the U.S. had turned its back on Egypt. What is your opinion today?
I believe we have a miscommunication. It seems we can’t convey our voice in as clear a fashion as it should be. However, the dangers surrounding this region are clear, and I believe the United States is following closely how terrorism is threatening [it].
What do you think the U.S. should do?
Support Egypt, support the popular will of the Egyptians.
Do you mean the U.S. should stand by you?
Sissi reflects the popular will of Egyptians.
In 2013, President Obama withheld F-16s and other arms until Egypt moves toward a “sustainable, inclusive and nonviolent transition to democracy.” Your reaction?
I just want to ask, who is resorting to violence here in Egypt? Those who did not want to participate constructively in the path to democracy in the wake of the 30th June [when the Sissi-led army ousted Morsi].
You mean the Muslim Brotherhood?
[Nods.] They chose confrontation with the state. Have you seen the state of Egypt taking actions against anyone in Sinai except those who carry arms, threaten and kill members of the military and police and even innocent civilians? We are facing violence inside Sinai and on our western border with Libya and even within parts of [this] country. There is no security in Libya to prevent the flow of weapons and foreign fighters who come into Egypt and threaten our national security. Who is bombing electric grids, putting explosives at the bus and train stations? Who is killing civilians in the streets?
What is the answer?
Do you mean extremists like the Muslim Brotherhood?
The Muslim Brotherhood is the parent organization of extreme ideology. They are the godfather of all terrorist organizations. They spread it all over the world.
Are they the godfather of ISIS?
All extremists derive from one pool. This extreme mind-set is nurtured by religious rhetoric that needs to be reformed.
You made a speech on that subject on Jan. 1.
It was the truth. Religious rhetoric is a problem. It has certain ideas that just promote confused thoughts about religion when adopted by people. People resort to violence when they adopt these wrong religious ideas.
We praised Al-Sisi’s January 1 speech and suggested Congress invite him to speak. The Congress invited Netanyahu instead. Al-Sisi’s voice still needs to be heard in the halls of Congress.
Barack Obama wants to punish American ally Egypt with economic and military sanctions yet wants to lift sanctions against American enemy Iran. Obama protects the murderous Muslim Brotherhood and attacks American ally Al-Sisi.
Al-Sisi is sending a strong message in barely veiled language which does nothing to hide contempt for Barack Obama and support for Netanyahu and Israel:
You feel there is a vacuum of U.S. leadership?
I didn’t say that.
But do you feel that way?
Egypt has a population of 90 million. If this country fails, the whole region will slide into a cycle of anarchy that will represent a grave danger to all countries in this region, including Israel, and would extend to Europe.
How do you see the threat from Iran? Do you agree they should not have a nuclear weapon?
We understand that President Obama is engaged in a lot of actions in order to tackle this issue. We should give him time. . . . Meanwhile, we have to understand the Israeli concern.
Make no mistake, especially if you are a voter in Israel, Al-Sisi wants a Netanyahu win because Netanyahu understands the security interests of all in the region. Israel’s Netanyahu and Egypt’s Al-Sisi are on the same team:
How are Egypt’s relations with Israel right now?
We have been honoring the peace treaty with Israel since the day it was signed. . . . One example that reflects the magnitude of trust and confidence between the two parties is that the [treaty] does not allow Egyptian troops in the middle and eastern sections of the Sinai — the area that overlooks the joint border. But the Israelis said it was fine to have Egyptian troops in those areas. This means the hostile mood and skepticism have diminished with peace with Israel. This can happen with the other Arab countries and Israel if a two-state solution is reached.
You speak to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a lot?
Israel’s voters should know that Barack Obama hates Netanyahu and Al-Sisi and is for all appearances by his actions in love with the Muslim Brotherhood and those who hate Israel. Obama’s treacheries against Israel and for Iran multiply daily. Netanyahu and Al-Sisi know of Obama’s treacheries against Israel and Egypt and on behalf of Iran. Obama’s treacheries are such that even Obama Dimocrats are prepared to fight Obama.
Al-Sisi of Egypt is on a campaign to reelect Netanyahu. The Washington Post interview is one in a series of public pronouncements and interviews to discuss security issues in the Middle East and to warn of the danger. Al-Sisi knows Netanyahu’s message to Israel’s voters is about security. Al-Sisi is trying to help elect Netanyahu. Will Israel’s voters listen?