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Netanyahu Lost. His Enemies Won. But Who Can Govern Israel?

18.09.2019 20:30

Jack Guez/AFP/GettyThe strangest episode of Israel’s raucous election—the second in six months—flickered by almost unnoticed, one clip among the 30 videos Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu posted to his YouTube channel in the final two days before Tuesday’s vote.Lush with images of sleek Israelis surfing off Tel Aviv beaches and sipping coffee and cocktails in a succession of inviting bars and cafés, it almost looked like a product of the tourism ministry— until the part where you see a woman’s toes peek beyond a blanket, reaching out to tease the toes of the man sharing the bed with her, and those manly toes turning away.“Right-wing voters have to wake up!” the caption blared. “On Tuesday, you have to go out to vote Likud, and bring family and friends!”The Likud is Netanyahu’s party, and the ad was meant as a counter-incentive. Netanyahu’s pitch can be summed up thus: Don’t sleep with your hot girlfriend. Don’t go to the beach. Don’t enjoy Tel Aviv’s great cafés. Go out and vote for me!If Netanyahu was concerned about voter fatigue, he needn’t have worried.Turnout was a few points higher than it was in the April 9 vote, despite fresh memories of the night six weeks later in which Netanyahu acknowledged he’d failed to form a coalition government and—instead of returning the mandate to Israel’s President, Reuven Rivlin—dissolved the parliament and sent Israel into second elections.On first glance it looks like Israelis returned a second inconclusive verdict, this time with gusto.The apparent draw between Netanyahu’s Likud and the main opposition party, Blue and White, led by former army chief of staff Benny Gantz, with each claiming about 33 seats out of the parliament’s 120, seems to indicate that Israelis have no idea what they want.On second glance, it is clear that Netanyahu, who has dominated Israeli politics for decades and has served as prime minister for the last ten years, lost—if only because all of his perceived enemies won.Netanyahu ran his campaign as if he was besieged in a bunker, regularly taking aim at sham nemeses.He deemed Avigdor Lieberman, a hardline secular nationalist best known for advocating the death penalty for terrorists, “a leftist.”Lieberman, Netanyahu’s former defense minister, triggered both the elections of 2019, first by resigning in December 2018, and then by refusing in May to join a coalition beholden to the demands of ultra-orthodox Jewish parties.  Lieberman’s wager paid off, and he has come close to doubling the number of seats his party holds in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, to a projected eight or nine.Yohanan Plesner, the president of the Israel Democracy Institute, in Jerusalem, said “Lieberman is the ultimate kingmaker. Netanyahu does not have a government without Lieberman. Lieberman can really dictate the makeup, to a certain extent, of the next government.”Official elections results are expected on Sept. 25, after the certification of the ballot counts, which is conducted by hand.Netanyahu attacked the media from the start to the end of his campaign, complaining, in his 3 a.m. Wednesday not-concession speech delivered before a largely empty hall, that the press had forced him to contend with "the most difficult, the most biased campaign ever."But the press got it right this time, forecasting that he would be left without room to maneuver ahead of the Oct. 2 hearing at which his attorney general, who announced his intention to indict Netanyahu on a raft of corruption charges last February, will lay out the evidence against him. Netanyahu, Facing Indictments, Rains Scorn on His Political EnemiesSuch is Netanyahu’s predicament that on Wednesday, he canceled his participation in next week’s United Nations General Assembly, one of his favorite events of the year.Gantz vows to pursue peace with the Palestinians, to institute term limits, and, has unrelentingly promised his supporters that he will never join a government including Netanyahu while he remains a criminal suspect.This stance seems to rule out a possible government of national unity, in which Blue and White would sit together with the Likud.This electoral dead end is leading observers to envisage what was once unthinkable: a unity government in which Likud would be led by someone else.In the event the party, hungry to hold on to power, ousts Netanyahu as its leader, “a new chairman of the Likud might be able to form a government with Blue and White, and then we will probably witness an outcome of a rotation of the position of the Prime Minister between Mr. Gantz and whoever the Likud will elect,” Plesner says, predicting that Israel is “about to enter a period of political uncertainty.”Throughout his campaign, Netanyahu reserved his most vicious, most uncompromising, and finally most unhinged attacks for Israel’s Arab minority, 20 percent of the population and about 16 percent of the voting public, whose participation in the last vote sunk to an historic low. He accused Arab politicians of supporting terrorism. He accused his opponent, Gantz, a decorated general, of conspiring with Arab leaders to name them ministers.Netanyahu also accused Gantz of concealing the fact that Iran had hacked his phone, obtaining sleazy photographs proving sexual misbehavior—an accusation that appears to have been invented out of whole cloth.In the campaign’s frenzied final week, Netanyahu tried to rush through the Knesset a law allowing his party to hide cameras in Arab polling places—as it did, illegally, in April, causing an uproar. The bill failed. And he became the first head of government to be sanctioned by Facebook for hate speech, when his page sent out messages warning that “Arabs want to annihilate us all – women, children and men.”The Joint List, a majority-Arab party, that ran as several disparate factions in April, mobilized a major get-out-the-vote operation, apparently surging to 13 seats and becoming Israel’s third largest party, after the Likud and Blue and White.With an Arab, Joint List chairman Ayman Odeh, who exulted late Tuesday that “incitement didn’t work!” and a "leftist," Avigdor Lieberman, poised to play kingmakers, the election results constitute a Netanyahu nightmare.  “Netanyahu was defeated,” Ehud Olmert, a former prime minister and Likud elder, told The Daily Beast in an interview, “he lost, and as far as we can see, there is no feasible way he could form a new coalition.”But since it looks “doubtful that any possible coalition would achieve the support of 61 Knesset members,” Olmert said, “it is likely there will be another round of elections in early 2020.”For Israel to once again have a stable government, the only solution Olmert sees is another round of elections “very soon.”  But unlike Netanyahu’s opponents, who have spent the past year admonishing the public about the danger the prime minister poses to Israeli democracy, Olmert is sanguine.“The country’s democratic foundations are very stable,” he said, “and there is no real fear they are being undermined.” Not only that, he said, mentioning the United Kingdom, “the difficulty of ruling a state is not just an Israeli phenomenon… These are relatively common phenomena and Israel is no exception.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. 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US reassesses aid to Solomons

18.09.2019 20:03

The United States is reassessing its assistance to the Solomon Islands after the Pacific nation cut ties with Taiwan in favour of China this week, a senior official in the US Agency for International Development (USAID) says.


Homelessness is reaching an emergency level in Los Angeles

18.09.2019 19:55

Los Angeles is enduring a crisis of homelessness. We are in the eye of an economic storm -- fighting the forces of high rents, stagnant wages, and a deficit of a half million units of affordable housing -- that is pushing thousands from housed to homeless. And its cost, the moral expense to us as a community and region, deserves a statewide declaration of a State of Emergency.


Wayne Messam's presidential campaign accused of mistreating staff

18.09.2019 19:52

Miramar, Florida Mayor Wayne Messam is facing accusations by his own campaign staff of mistreatment. Some say the campaign hasn't paid some of its employees. Ryan Brooks of BuzzFeed News joined "Red & Blue" to explain the allegations against Messam's campaign.


WWE Twitter Drags Vince McMahon After Chairman Hypes NXT On USA Network

18.09.2019 19:34

Vince McMahon was warned to stay away from NXT by a sea of nervous wrestling fans who are all-too-familiar with his tendencies of micromanagement.

Tags: WWE, USA

U.S. House committee reaches deal for testimony by Trump Afghan envoy

18.09.2019 19:20

U.S. President Donald Trump's top negotiator for Afghanistan will hold a briefing for the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, the panel said on Wednesday, after the committee subpoenaed him in frustration at his refusal to meet with its members.


The cheat hackers ‘ruining’ gaming for others

18.09.2019 19:09

The use of cheats is a major problem in video games and it’s becoming increasingly lucrative as esports take off. We meet a teenage hacker’s making thousands.

Tags: Hackers, USA

The 12 Best Festivals This Fall

18.09.2019 17:15

Fresh apple juice from apples in the fall after harvest, served on a tableApple-picking, jack-o-lanterns, artisan foods—whatever the theme, nothing says fall like a local festival. Here are 12 of our favorite festivals happening around the US this season! Ciderfest NC in Asheville, North Carolina

October 12, 2019

This downtown Asheville event takes place during the peak foliage season, and celebrates the area’s cider and mead makers with tastings, performances, and more. [hbg-title isbn="9781640492042" summary="Whether you’re hopping between microbreweries or hiking the Appalachian Trail, get to know this charming Southern hub with Moon Asheville & the Great Smoky Mountains." /] Pumpkin & Apple Celebration in Woodstock, VT

September 29 – 30, 2019

What’s more autumnal than pumpkins and apples? These two essential crops are the stars of the show at this food-focused fest where you can press your own cider, make apple butter, and taste all kinds of unique creations. Start planning your trip to the Green Mountain State with . RiSELantern Festival in Las Vegas, Nevada

October 4 – 6, 2019

Not your average fall festival, this celebration in the Nevada desert culminates in the largest release of lanterns in the world. Pull off the perfect trip to the Silver State with . The Unicoi County Apple Festival in Erwin, Tennessee

October 4 – 5, 2019

With live music, hundreds of arts and crafts vendors, and three food courts dedicated to all things apple, this local-favorite festival has been going strong for over forty years. [hbg-title isbn="9781640493414" summary="The birthplace of the blues, the cradle of country music, and the home of the Smokies: get to know the Volunteer State with Moon Tennessee." /] Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, NM

October 5 – 13, 2019

With over 500 hot air balloons filling the New Mexico sky for nine days, this one-of-a-kind festival has to be seen to be believed. Plan your adventure in the Land of Enchantment with . Color Cruise & Island Festival in Grand Ledge, Michigan

October 11 - 13, 2019

This three-day festival features riverboat rides with standout foliage views, rock climbing on natural sandstone ledges, and plenty of other fall fun like cider pressing, pumpkin painting, and a petting zoo. Ready to hit the Great Lakes State? Grab a copy of . Coconut Grove Pumpkin Patch Festival in Miami, FL

October 26 - 27, 2019

While Miami may be associated more with palm trees than changing leaves, this festival offers quintessential fall attractions like a cornstalk maze, carnival rides, pumpkin flavored beer (for the adults!), and, of course, thousands of pumpkins to pick. [hbg-title isbn="9781631217456" summary=" From Pensacola and the Panhandle, to Miami beaches and mingling with Mickey, plan your trip to the Sunshine State with Moon Florida." /] O.C.Toberfest in Ocean City, Maryland

October 19-20 and 26-27, 2019

Ocean City’s fun (and totally free!) fall lineup includes a Howl-O-Ween Pet Parade, The Great Pumpkin Race, and a beach maze with scares around every corner. Start planning your trip with . Harvest on the Harbor in Portland, Maine

October 17-20, 2019

Portland is a certified foodie destination, and this festival celebrates the city’s diverse culinary experiences with food, wine, and spirits aplenty. Get ready to experience the best of Maine with . Leavenworth Oktoberfest in Leavenworth, Washington

October 4-5, 11-12, and 18-19, 2019

The tiny town of Leavenworth is modeled after a classic Bavarian village, so naturally, Oktoberfest is where they really shine. The 2019 Leavenworth Oktoberfest will take place over three weekends with four venues dedicated to live entertainment, food, and beer. [hbg-title isbn="9781640491625" summary=" Rugged mountains, wild coastlines, and dense forests: explore this wild and beautiful corner of the country with Moon Pacific Northwest." /] Ellicottville Fall Festival in Ellicottville, New York

October 12-13, 2019

Celebrate the changing seasons with live music, carnival rides, food, and more—surrounded by the stunning fall foliage that blankets the rolling hills of Upstate New York. Soak up the scenery with . New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival in Laconia, New Hampshire

October 18-19, 2019

Featuring a 34-foot tower of jack-o-lanterns, a zombie walk, beer garden, bungee jumping, and more, this can’t-miss festival draws crowds from all over New England. Admire some of the country's best fall foliage with . [hbg-post heading="Gearing up for fall? Check these out:" id="578941,687566" /] [hbg-newsletter call_to_action="Want travel inspiration sent straight to your inbox?" list_id_override="c89b0f3998" /]

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