Israel Policy Pod

Follow The Leader

December 27, 2019
Israel Policy Pod
Follow The Leader
Chapters
Israel Policy Pod
Follow The Leader
Dec 27, 2019
Israel Policy Forum

Eli Kowaz and Margaux Nijkerk discuss Benjamin Netanyahu's convincing primary win over challenger Gideon Sa'ar.

Show Notes Transcript

Eli Kowaz and Margaux Nijkerk discuss Benjamin Netanyahu's convincing primary win over challenger Gideon Sa'ar.

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spk_0:
00:09
Shalom and welcome to another episode of Israel policy Pod. My name is Margaret I Kirk. I'm one of your host and I'm recording live from New York and I'm joined with
spk_1:
00:19
you like cause recording from Tel Aviv. Margo has it going.
spk_0:
00:23
It's good. It's good. I will say
spk_1:
00:25
I love that she love. That was awesome.
spk_0:
00:27
Thanks. I had to practice it a couple times. I'm not gonna lie. Happy holidays. Happy holidays. How? Er how? Er how are the holidays in Israel? What's going on?
spk_1:
00:39
Well, let me tell you, the winter has arrived in Israel raining like crazy for a few days now and including yesterday where it was storm after storm. And that was the day of the Likud primaries.
spk_0:
00:56
That's right. I am read in the news. I read a lot about the weather in the news in Israel because I saw that people were afraid that there be a low turnout because of the weather conditions.
spk_1:
01:07
Of course. Yeah, well, obviously Netanyahu will warn about a low turnout among his voters, no matter what the weather conditions are. But yesterday he did use the weather condition does as an excuse,
spk_0:
01:19
right? Anyway. Well, since you're talking about yesterday, why don't we go into detail in in terms of what happened and what's the outcome?
spk_1:
01:28
Right? So yesterday we had, ah, the much anticipated Likud primary vote, and Netanyahu had virtually gone unchallenged as Likud leader for almost 10 years. And this was what people said was his first formidable challenge in a while. And it was gonna be a vote on whether Netanyahu's indictment for fraud, bribery and breach of trust whether the Likud Party members are okay with that or whether they see that as a problem. And, moreover, the fact that he failed to form a coalition twice in two consecutive elections whether Likud party members would hold that against him as well. And I think their answer was a definitive no, we're still with you, Benjamin Netanyahu, no matter what. The results came in late last night or early morning on Dhe Netanyahu, one with over 70% of the vert. The final margin was 72.5% for Netanyahu on 27.5% to get on sir, and that's with a voter turnout of 49% which is not that low compared to previous Likud primaries, so the weather didn't play as big a deal is a lot of people thought, but yeah, definitely vote of confidence, at least from within Likud circles for Benjamin Netanyahu,
spk_0:
03:00
right? And I think this is exactly the New Year or Hanukkah gift that Benjamin Netanyahu wanted, right? He has had quite a tough year, hasn't been able to form a government twice now, like in March, and in September he came down with a whole bunch of indictments. So I think this was his last push that he needed to go into the new year toe, rally the troops and say, like I'm your leader and I will continue to do what I know best he At his victory party, he announced that it was enormous victory right, and that it showed that Israel is right wing and the right wingers want Netanyahu in place. But he also mentioned about his strong relations with the US right. He had even referred Thio, a six point plan that he promises voters for March. He will bring through in terms of us recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Jordan Valley, over the Dead Sea and over Israeli settlements in the West Bank, So he's clearly continuing down his path that he that he already knows. But I also sort of wanna spice up the conversation a little bit and ask about star right, because he sort of created this revolt against the traditional institution and traditional politicians, Right? He he came out saying, It's time for change. Let me be your leader. And Israel spoke and said no. So where does where does SAR remain in this?
spk_1:
04:25
Well, the Likud Party spoke because that's something important. I mean, we're talking about a very small number of voters here. In both previous elections, over a 1,000,000 people voted for the league cud. But here we're talking about leadership race. Where Netanyahu One. Yes, by a high margin, but only 40,000 votes. So if you take that in the proportions of the general election, that's just over 11 incandescent seat. So low numbers. But yes, definitely a vote of confidence from from within the league could You're absolutely right.
spk_0:
04:58
So where does this leave Starr? Right, Because he created this a role revolted against the big leader against, um what traditionally Likud stood for the past couple of years and he lost like a little bit, embarrassingly right said that you received just under 30% of the vote. So what does this mean in terms of his place in Lee could, in terms of a future for him in recruiting in politics?
spk_1:
05:25
That's really a great question. And I think that's what most people are gonna be talking about the next few days. Because Nathaniel was widely expected toe win, no one was surprised with Netanyahu's victory and forget answer. I don't know if he expected to win, either. We saw that his campaign, it started off pretty aggressively against Netanyahu, but then it became a lot more kind of embracing and subtle. At the end of the campaign, he was promising that should he be elected, he would work to make sure that Netanyahu becomes president of Israel and all sorts of things to really try Thio respect him, which is kind of kind of the change of face for what we heard from him earlier. So people were talking about well, if you don't start gets over 30% of the vote, he's fine. It's a great achievement and he shows that he's he's a formidable opposition to Netanyahu, and he's gonna be right there when it comes to the next Likud leader after him. And then if you were to get over 40% of the vote people we're talking about, I don't even know if Netanyahu has the right, Ah, to be the leader of the could at this moment, despite a narrow victory, but he really did disappoint him. He got close to that 30% point that people were talking about. I don't think this is it for him. I think he did. He perform okay. He got a few prominent M Kay's Thio to voice their support, including time cuts and you of Quiche and Sheldon Esko Michael Shear to mention a few. But the same time he didn't really make a formidable challenge. So I think that he'll be around after Netanyahu and it'll definitely be in the conversation. Thio succeed him, but I don't think it's a sure thing. I'm and I don't even know if I would consider him the front runner because after Netanyahu leaves politics, which will happen at some point, we don't know when he could easily endorse a candidate or prop up a caddy from within the Likud and where the recruits that I would think that they would trend towards supporting whoever Netanyahu would endorse. Hey, maybe endorsing someone from from a prison cell, who knows,
spk_0:
07:53
Right, Well, it's interesting you say that about when that's now we've because he will eventually leave even next week, right? We're expected by midnight, I believe. On December 31st he has to give up his four ministerial positions. So I think also this election and the timing of it comes into an interesting play because here he is. He's one big and he's looking for loyalty, right? He knows that he's in big trouble. He's going to ask also for immunity from Knesset at some point.
spk_1:
08:22
That's a very interesting point because Netanyahu only has a few days left until he needs to inform er the Knesset set. Uh, if you would like to pursue immunity on Dhe, that's something that most people suspect that he will go for because it seems like his only way out of his current legal problems. And, uh, the other thing is that the Attorney General, uh, will have to rule on whether Netanyahu is eligible to form the next coalition with all of his indictments,
spk_0:
09:03
right? And the attorney general had already said that he's illegible to continue his ministerial positions. He hasn't said anything about, um if he's able to continue as prime minister, um, and so that he's going to have to give up in on the 31st. Um, but so who will take that over this star? I wonder if Starr fits into that picture. Personally, I just don't see that happening. I think, um, Netanyahu is going to want Thio, uh, double down on his loyalty on his beta on his biggest supporters, um, to make sure that he stays in place and continues his reign and his thought. But I'm not sure
spk_1:
09:46
what's interesting. Something that that is probably indicative of what we'll see in the general election is that Netanyahu and his campaign against our people that followed it, they may have noticed the Netanyahu barely even mentioned G Don't star's name. Even once he talked about the attempts of the judicial system that kind of overthrow him and the media. He tried to make this race, not Netanyahu versus sorry, but Netanyahu versus the judiciary and the gatekeepers of Israeli democracy So I think we'll probably see something similar as we go to March elections that the focus won't be on Netanyahu vs Guns per se. It will be Netanyahu versus Kind of the State of Israel. Kind of like we saw in that that indictment paper that was released by behind my doublet just over a month ago,
spk_0:
10:46
right? And that's been going on for the past month or so ever since the indictments, really, that he's unable to form a governing coalition, he should not be a leader. And that's been going. And like you said, it's been going into this the the former Now we could primary election. So,
spk_1:
11:01
Margo, you know, I remember last year we did a predictions podcast for 2020. I believe it was me and our policy director, Michael Koplow. And from what I recall, I don't think our predictions were very accurate. So I'm gonna suggest that we don't do the same for 2020 but I would love to ask you just this one prediction. Do you think we'll have more elections in Israel in 2020 than we did in 2019?
spk_0:
11:29
I think elections were gonna be endless at this point.
spk_1:
11:31
I mean, we only had two, right? We only had to, right?
spk_0:
11:34
Of course. Ah, maybe not as many, because we we only had two. I I'm I'm willing to say I wouldn't be surprised if there will be 2 to 3 elections. How about that? Keep it
spk_1:
11:49
over. Okay. I'm gonna take the under here. I'm gonna take the under. Okay? So that I think that's enough to cover our predictions podcast for 2020 because we saw how unpredictable Israeli Pollitt can be.
spk_0:
12:03
Well, since you came up, when one prediction question can I ask you one? Yeah,
spk_1:
12:07
of course you can. I love predictions. Not very good at them. Clear? No, but I do enjoy them.
spk_0:
12:13
I mean, we'll have to see by this time next year if you're right or not. But my question is will even be back on the next episode of Israel Policy Pop.
spk_1:
12:22
Whoa! I did not expect that. Wow, that's a tough question. Well, uh,
spk_0:
12:30
I'm gonna
spk_1:
12:31
go with Yes. I mean, I know he's been I've been very busy. We obviously had Thea. He's working out a whole bunch of stuff. And the new Star Wars movie was also released an Evans, a big, big Star Wars guy. Um, as probably, uh, whoever follows us on social media saw his Sorrow Wars poster that he worked on so diligently That's cooperate, don't star and Likud lawmakers into the force. So I'm gonna say yes, you know, I would have say yes. I feel confident about this much more confident about any Israeli election predictions so much, say us
spk_0:
13:10
with that. I'd like to thank everyone for your continued support throughout the past year. We here at Israel Policy Forum love providing you content like this. And we're looking forward to doing more of these kind of podcasts in the upcoming months as we lead up to new elections. And we are looking forward to in the new year, launching our 1 20 project version 3.0, on January 6. So stay tuned for that. There'll be lots of information and updates regarding the March elections. Thank you again and we shall see you soon.
spk_1:
13:43
Happy New Year, You alibi
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