By: Tal Schneider, Noga Tarnopolsky
Winner: democracy! It has once again been shown that the democratic method— one vote, one member– it the best way to chose a party list for national elections. Yesterday’s Likud primary vote proceeded smoothly and convincingly; parties that operate this way– Labor, Likud, Jewish Home, Meretz, Hadash (Once the Communist party, now The Democratic Front for Peace and Equality, a Jewish-Arab list,) and Balad (the National Democratic Assembly, an Arab sector party) run significantly more worthy and legitimate campaigns. Parties whose candidates are chosen by caprice, fiat, small committee or by a Council of Sages, such as Avigdor Lieberman’s, Yair Lapid’s and Moshe Kahlon’s, not to mention Shas and United Torah Judaism, pale by comparison.
Expect to see the Likud get a boost from this display.
Winners and Losers: Benjamin Netanyahu, winner, who succeeded to a remarkable degree in helping his closest retinue of supporters into safe, high places on the Likud list, and in pushing aside party members perceived to be hostile to his leadership. Moshe Feiglin, loser, a colorful political figure known, among other things, for championing the right of Jews to pray on the Temple Mount, a stance that has caused greatly heightened tensions in Jerusalem recently, and who until two weeks ago seemed en route to threaten to Netanyahu’s continued party leadership. He’s slipped so low on the list he barely has any chances of returning to the Knesset in the next term. One exception: the firebrand Miri Regev, who became the top-ranked woman on the Likud list. She’s a loose cannon.
That said, right wing women may be this election’s biggest losers. Yes, again, women. This will not surprise longtime followers of the Likud, but only two women rank in the top twenty Likud Knesset list. By comparison, the Likud’s great rival of this electoral season, Jewish Home, which is both more religious and more politically extreme, emphasizes women in public positions and actively supports women vying for leadership roles. The Likud presents us once more with a masculine and grey list of party operators.