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Israel's Sham Elections

By       Message Stephen Lendman     Permalink
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They turned Israel into a rogue state. They prioritize regional dominance. They want Israel running a "New Middle East." They want non-Jews deprived of all rights. They support policies no one should accept.

Israel has no constitution. Basic Law substitutes. It mandates general, nationwide, direct, equal, secret, proportional elections. Every Israeli over 18 can vote. 

Jewish ones alone count. Arabs vote but have no say. They represent 20% of Israel's population. They're denied equal rights. They called a fifth column threat. They're treated like enemies of the state.

Israeli law calls for elections every four years. It doesn't always turn out that way. On February 10, 2009, Israeli 18th Knesset elections were held.

Last October, Netanyahu announced early new ones. Doing so was a strategic decision. Inability to achieve a "balanced and responsible budget," was claimed.

Israel faces economic slowdown. Unpopular choices are prioritized. Force-fed austerity is policy. Netanyahu wants four more years in power. Delaying scheduled elections until October might derail his best-laid plans.

They fast approach. They'll be held on January 22. Fourteen parties held 18th Knesset seats. As discussed above, 34 parties will contest for 19th Knesset representation. To qualify requires winning at least 2% of the vote.

Some parties held primaries. Others used selection committees. Hardline religious ones let rabbis decide. 

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Voters don't choose candidates. They cast one vote for one party. All Israeli citizens over 18 are enfranchised. Only those on foreign government postings and merchant seamen can vote from abroad.

Voting isn't compulsory. Turnout is usually high. Years ago it approached 80%. Now it's about 65%. Post-election, consultations with Israel's president are held. The post is largely ceremonial.

To form a new government, support from at least 61 MKs are needed. No party gains a majority. Coalitions run Israel. Weeks or months may be required to form one.

Ahead of elections, candidates campaign on the stump, online, in closed venues, in small ones, in private homes, through social networks, and allotted broadcast time. 

It's allocated based on Knesset membership. It's aired on a Central Elections Committee timetable.

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Israel's media are prohibited from selling airtime. Israelis are sparred what Americans endure. Mass rallies aren't held. Few news media endorse candidates. 

Debates are rarely held. In the last 35 years, they've been seven. The most memorable was in 1996. Netanyahu trailed in the polls. He embarrassed Prime Minister Shimon Peres. He was aging, tired, and showed it. In August he'll be 90.

Leading candidates try not to jeopardize their position by debating. Little public pressure urges them. Labor's Yacimovich invited Netanyahu to debate. Her call went unanswered.

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I was born in 1934, am a retired, progressive small businessman concerned about all the major national and world issues, committed to speak out and write about them.

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