Israelis will conduct elections for the 21st Knesset
The election is scheduled for April 9, 2019.
There is a crisis in Israel concerning the upcoming elections.
Currently, (and for the past 10 years) Israel has had a government that is basically right wing, with Binyamin (Bibi) Netanyahu as Prime Minister and his Likud party in the majority of the coalition. Under his leadership, Israel has become a major world power; as a matter of fact, was just listed internationally in the 8th place of world power nations. (Read about all of his domestic and international achievements here.)
One of the most important laws the Israeli government has passed recently was the State Law declaring that Israel is the nation of the Jewish people, and that while non-Jewish citizens have the same civil rights, they don’t have the Right of Return (only Jews have the right to instant citizenship). The Law of Return is the only aspect of the State Law where Jews and Arabs are not equal.
Bibi’s greatest concern for Israel is security. He insists that any peace negotiation with the Palestinians must include their accepting Israel as a Jewish state and that dismantling settlements will not be a part of a future peace deal. Many Israeli voters like his security-first approach to politics. Also, his fluency in English and decades of experience give him an international stature that no other Israeli politician can rival. He has won three consecutive elections. Elections are held every four years. Under certain circumstances, a Knesset (Israeli Parliament or Congress) may be dispersed before the end of a term and that determines the date of the next elections.
Over the last three years, however, there have been continual reports about police investigations against PM Netanyahu. The accusations are of bribery, fraud, and breach of trust in three separate cases. Read more details in our website blog “Cases against Netanyahu”.
As of recent polls, Bibi exceeded everyone else in popularity, as he has for the last three elections. But with the looming legal battles, and other issues of dispute in the coalition, Bibi decided it was the right move to call for early elections. However, probably for political reasons, these accusations led to the threat of a recommendation for indictment, (pending a hearing) by the Attorney General. Bibi and the Likud party requested that indictment not become public until after the election, because he didn’t have time to refute the accusations. But the AG made it public a little over a week ago. Therefore, rather than having a fair trial in the court of law with a full defense, Bibi is being judged by the media and the public, and his popularity is declining. This is what brings us to the current crisis because if Bibi fails in the elections the opposition will succeed.
Who is the opposition and why is it so crucial in this election?
Two very popular men joined together in order to defeat Netanyahu. One of them is Yair Lapid who was a favorite in the previous election but was demoted because of constantly undermining Bibi while serving in his coalition as Minister of Finance. His party, Yesh Atid declined in the last elections and ended up in the opposition in the current government.
The other is Benny Gantz, 59-year-old former Israel Defense Forces’ Chief of Staff, who is a newcomer to politics. He entered the race forming his own Hosen Israel (Strength of Israel) party and immediately jumped in the polls, ahead of Lapid but still behind Netanyahu. Lapid and Ganz joined forces and formed a new party. Their joint new party is called Kahol Lavan (Blue and White), which are the symbolic colors of the state of Israel.
Their platform is unclear, but although claiming to be a centrist party they lean more to the left. One thing Gantz and Lapid declare clearly is that they plan to change the State Law. Their main goal is to replace Netanyahu and become PM of Israel on rotation basis. Gantz, who is in first place, serving as PM for the first 2 and a half years and Lapid serving for the rest of the term.
The electoral process in Israel is complicated and confusing for most of the public, but suffice it to say that the situation is crucial.
The reason the Blue and White party opposition is so crucial is that whichever party is elected has to form a coalition consisting of at least 61 MK (Knesset Members). Blue and White would have to include most of the left and far left wing small parties (the right wing parties support Netanyahu, all claiming that he remains innocent until and if proven otherwise). Blue and White would have to include the Arab parties, who have always been in the opposition, some of them have even been temporarily suspended from the government for siding with Israel’s enemies and calling Israeli soldiers terrorists. The one MK that is the most crucial to possibly being in the coalition is Tibi.
Who is Tibi and why is he crucial?
Arab MK Ahmed Tibi, a former adviser to Yasser Arafat, recently split from the Joint List Arab party in order to run separately as head of his Ta’al party.
Tibi is an anti-Zionist who supports Israel withdrawing to the pre-1967 borders and a two-state solution with an independent Palestinian state, including a Law of Return for Palestinian refugees and their descendants. He opposes the idea of Israel being a Jewish state and considers it racist. He opposes Israel having a Jewish national anthem and an Israeli flag. He takes the Palestinian side and has even praised the Palestinian Authority’s terrorists, referring to them as “martyrs” at a ceremony held on the “Palestinian Martyrs’ Day”.
Both Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz and co-chairman Yair Lapid have stated that they would amend the “National State Law,” something Tibi would love to see. “We want to topple the Right, we say it openly,” Tibi said. He stated his desire to one day become Israel’s prime minister, “and if not I then another Ahmed, Mohammed or Mahmoud,” Tibi said recently.
Herein lies the danger to Israel. The possibility that a man like Tibi and other anti-Israeli MKs would be in the coalition is what makes this election so crucial for those who love the Land and the People of Israel and believe in God’s promises..
The new Likud slogan is: “it’s Bibi or Tibi.”
I (Bella) am a member of Netanyahu’s Likud party and attended last Monday’s evening rally in support of Netanyahu. I witnessed thousands of loyal cheering Likud members shouting “Bibi, Bibi, we love you.” He explained the slogan: “it’s mathematical, simple addition that you learn in first grade: Lapid and Gantz can not reach the minimum 61 KM required for a coalition in the government without bringing in the Arab parties…so it’s Bibi or Tibi.”
The scriptures encourage us to pray for our leaders: “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority” 1 Tim. 2:1-2.
Dear Lord, teach us how to pray in this complex situation for the upcoming election. Raise Israeli leaders who are able to care for Your people, as You have promised to do when You regathered Your own people back to the land of Your promise (Jeremiah 23:3-4).
Then I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply. 4 I will set shepherds over them who will care for them, and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall any be missing, declares the Lord.”
You know the hearts of men; reveal the truth of all the cases against Netanyahu, if He is Your chosen one to lead Israel for such a time as this. We know you have promised the mountains of Israel, including Judea and Samaria to Your people Israel in Ezekiel 36. Israel needs a leader who can stand against the world and the left wing in Israel who want to divide Your Land. Help Israelis to choose the right leader. We pray for PM Netanyahu to open his heart to Your leading. We pray for Your justice and righteousness to prevail. We pray You will not allow the enemy from without and from within to win. You give Israel the victory. We acknowledge Your sovereignty in this election, in Israel, and in the world. In the Name of our Yeshua, and for Your Glory, Amen.