Friday, February 6, 2009

Likud or Ichud Leumi?

Elections here in Israel are coming up on Tuesday. I thought that I was sure who I was going to vote for but the latest polls are making me think again...

There is no doubt that Ichud Leumi is the party that is closest to my political views. But, I was planning to vote Likud for very specific strategic reasons. In general, I am a supporter of Moshe Feiglin. Feiglin published a recommendation list before the primaries. It contained candidates who have a record of apposing the disengagement from Gaza or who are known to be very right wing. A lot of his people got on the list. The interesting thing is that most of them are either in the top 20 of the list or they are between numbers 30-40. The important point to note is that none of them are between numbers 25-30 on the list. (See the Likud list here)

As of a few days ago, all of the poles were showing the Likud hovering around 30 seats in the elections. This would have meant that every extra vote for the Likud would be a vote for the 'Feiglin people' in numbers 30-40. The polls were also showing Ichud Leumi with only 3 seats, which put my vote in danger of being wasted. This is due to the rule that a party who falls short of the 3 seat minimum doesn't get into Knesset and their votes are discarded.

Based on that, I was planning to vote Likud. My reasoning was that I would rather put my people inside the ruling party, where they would have more leverage. This would also be giving more clout to Moshe Feiglin in future elections. Whereas by voting Ichud Leumi, I could be throwing my vote in the trash! And even if they did make it in my the skin of their teeth, they would be sitting in the opposition, not doing much good.

But today's numbers show a very different picture. It seems that in the latest poll, Likud gets 26 seats. That would mean that if right wing voters vote for the Likud, we would just be putting in numbers 27, 28, 29 who are not people from Moshe Feiglin's list and not people that I want in the Knesset.

Ichud Leumi gets 6 seats in today's poll. That means that if I vote Ichud Leumi I don't have to worry about throwing my vote in the garbage. It also means that they have a significant bloc of seats that Bibi may need to form a coalition with his now smaller party of 26. It also means that I wouldn't have to plug my nose during the voting process.

As of this moment, I am leaning toward Ichud Leumi. What do you think?


  1. Seems that the same sort of thing is happening with the "right" in Israel as happened with the "right" in America. While most conservatives in America were opposed to John McCain because of his open borders and amnesty for illegal aliens position, as well as less than conservative bonafides on other issues, because they split their votes between other candidates, that's what allowed McCain to win the nomination with minority support. And McCain ran a lackluster campaign against Obama. Isn't it ironic that after clamoring for new elections to replace the Kadima led government the past couple years, Kadima may well end up winning the Israeli elections because the "right" in Israel split their votes? Instead of unifying to oppose the appeasement party of Kadima. If the trend in the most recent polls continues, and that is reflected in the vote on the 10th, Tzipy Livni will be Israel's prime minister. She and Ehud Barak will continue to make policy decisions.

  2. There is a small difference. That is that as long as Bibi wins by even a small margin, he will likely be asked to form a government. That would mean that he will have to incorporate other smaller parties in his coalition in order to have a 61 majority. If Ichud Leumi gets 6 or better 8 seats, he may need them to form a government.

    In any case, I always wonder why I bother to vote at all. As Feiglin says, "when you vote left you get left and when you vote right you get more left."

    Keep in mind that no left wing government has ever actually given away a single inch of this land. It has always taken the right to do it.

  3. You can't compare a 2 party system in the U.S. to the multi-party mosaic in Israel. Apples to Oranges. Feiglin doesn't have a chance...ichud leumi is really the only viable option

  4. I think that you should decide who to vote for based on your own political ideology, rather than enlisting input from others who may or may not share your views. I cannot comprehend how this close to the election, you would still be undecided. But then again, the American election had the same issue, and I didn't understand that either.

  5. Dear Anonymous(#2),

    Israel is very different than the US for a few reasons:

    In the US, the campaign starts about two years before the election. Here in Israel, the Ichud Leumi party didn't even exist until about a month ago.

    In the US you are choosing between two parties that are pretty far apart on most issues. Here you are choosing between 30 parties with many of them being very similar. This makes the choice much more complicated.

    Under these circumstances, it is very understandable that 10% of the electorate in Israel was still undecided a week before the election. People in the US who were undecided a week before the election are just stupid.

    Let me also make it clear (not that it wasn't in the first place?) that I was not taking a poll of my readers to help me decide. I was asking them to opine intelligently on the different reasons that I proposed to vote for either party. This was in the hope that one of my readers might have some insight that I was missing.

    Of course, if you read my most resent post you will see that I did make up my mind in the end.