I predicted in my blog yesterday that, “Koolanu will [join Netanyahu’s coalition]…, provided that Bibi gives the Finance Ministry to their leader, Moshe Kahlon, along with great powers to make reforms (this is good!).” Though I meant after the elections.
Today’s headline on the TimeofIsrael.com is “Netanyahu offers Kulanu leader Finance Ministry post. Prime Minister says he and Kahlon can lower housing prices.” No word on whether or not Moshe Kahlon will agree. He would be smarter to simply not respond until after the election.
Most Messianics NOT voting for Bibi
(Before you react, watch my video so you can understand that you can still hope that Bibi will be PM, while voting for a different party)
Many criticized me and Israel for making the economy an issue, when in their eyes, Iran is the only issue and Bibi is the only one to deal with it. I have talked to many Messianic leaders and believers in the country and I would say only about 25% have said they are voting for Bibi (to be clear, my poll is quite unscientific). One leader said to me, “I’m finding it hard to vote for Bibi for the reasons you stated, but also because his campaign has been utterly devoid of respect for anybody else but himself.” Another said, “I’m voting for Yesh Atid. No way – Netanyahu. He’s a good speaker in English – that’s about it.” Most are voting for Yesh Atid or Koolanu—which emphasizes economic reform. They represent Middle Israel. And Netanyahu is finally hearing Middle Israel and responding… at least in words. (To be clear, I don’t know of one believer voting for left wing parties!)
By promising the Finance Ministry to the leader of the one party, Kahlon’s Koolanu, that is completely honed in on lowering housing costs, breaking up monopolies and bringing economic reforms, Bibi is FINALLY saying, “I hear you Middle Israel.” And that would not have happened if people were not speaking out against him—as many believers have been criticized for doing by well-meaning folks from other countries. Just a week ago I heard a Likud rep say the economy will work itself out. Their tone has changed dramatically in the last week as they’ve dropped in the polls.
Security or Economic Reform?
You see we don’t have to choose between security and economic reforms… there is no reason we can’t have both. And while Bibi’s historic speech has brought tremendous pressure on the US administration to not sign a bad deal with Iran, it doesn’t mean he is a great domestic leader. It is easy for someone in another country, a prosperous country, to proclaim that doesn’t matter. It does to the millions of Israelis living in debt or the one in three Israeli children below the poverty line.
Bibi not Alone in Security Concern
And it is not like Bibi is the only politician in our country that cares about Israel’s security. I sat with a captain in the Israel Defense Forces (reserves) the other day and he said, “As long as we have a strong Ramatc”l (head of the IDF) and Defense Minister we can take care of ourselves. It doesn’t depend merely on Netanyahu.” My captain friend plans to vote for Kahlon.
And let’s not forget, after getting barraged with Rockets from Hamas this summer, the majority of Israelis wanted Prime Minister Netanahu to send in troops and finish Hamas. How long can we live with this threat on our border? Yes, the man that many evangelicals have proclaimed as Israel’s salvation, pulled troops out, leaving Hamas intact and Israelis vulnerable for years to come. Israelis were furious; soldiers were livid.
If you don’t live here, you simply don’t know!
It is cute when someone who has never lived here, or even visited, who doesn’t speak Hebrew or know our culture, suddenly is an expert on Israeli politics. One person commented on my site:
“If Israel is to survive, Bibi will remain in office—if for no other reason than Herzog/Livni will see it destroyed. So—if G-d is truly watching over it, Bibi will remain in office…”
Another sent this email from South Africa:
“What I can’t comprehend is the monstrous divide among the people of Israel. You are facing the greatest threat in your history since 1948, and yet you battle one another over trivial issues. Please, for your supporters sake, get your political house in order and vote for LIKUD ; the only winning solution. You need strong leader (sic)—BIBI is your man.”
God bless all my precious readers in the nations—I know you love Israel and your heart is in the right place, but if you don’t live here, you can’t make an informed decision. It is like a megachurch pastor that all his congregants just love and decide to nominate him man of the year. Until you live with the man and his wife and children, you can’t know the man fully. You have seen an amazing speaker, an orator of great skill, but we live with the man every day.
Kahlon will Determine Next PM
Having said that, I still see Bibi as the only viable option for Prime Minister. I don’t want to see his main rivals—Herzog and Livni—take over. By offering the Finance Ministry to Kahlon, even before the election, whether by conviction or to get votes (it is most definitely the latter), I am pleased.
Moshe Kahlon, who wasn’t even in politics a few months ago, will emerge the most powerful man in Israel in the coming three days. While his party is polling in sixth place, he alone will decide who the next PM will be. He is this election’s Yair Lapid (who played the role of kingmaker in the last election). Neither Netanyahu nor Herzog/Livni can form a coalition without him. I also suspect that many of the 15% undecided will throw their support behind Kahlon at the last minute and he may jump to third place with 12 or 13 seats. We will know in 48 hours!
Kahlon has rejected Netanyahu’s offer. Smart move. What until after the elections.
“Netanyahu had already promised me the Israel Lands Administration and the Finance Ministry in the past, but did not keep (his word),” Kahlon said in response to an interview given by Netanyahu in which he said offered Kahlon the finance portfolio.
“It’s not person, but a manner of policy, and concern for the average man. The public is tired of promises. (The offer) is flattering, but it does not solve the desperate problems of Israeli society,” he added. (YnetNews.com)