Israeli Elections thread. Enter if you care. *Government already set*

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Update: Sample results are in. Real results incoming tomorrow.

Update2: Results are in. President will announce coalition leader in at least a week from now, 23/1/2013. If nothing clicks in approx. 30-40 days after that, we go to elections or hope for a better coalition...

Here are the results:

Likud&Israel our home - 31
There's a future - 19
Labor - 15
Jewish home - 12
Shas - 11
United Torah Judaism - 7 (surprise, bitches!)
The movement - 6
Meretz - 6
Raam-Tael - 4
Hadash - 4
Balad - 3
Kadima - 2

Possible solutions: 63 seats coalition headed by Likud with itself and all of its right-wing partners +Kadima. A narrow right wing coalition bound to fall.
62+ seats coalition headed by Likud, there's a future, Jewish home. Possible additions - the movement (+6), Kadima(+2), [Shas (+11) and/or United Torah Judaism (+7)]. A center-right wing government.
65+ seats coalition headed by Likud, there's a future, Labor. Possible additions - the movement(+6), Kadima(+2), [Shas (+11) and/or United Torah Judaism (+7)]. A 'unity' government.
No chance in hell for a left government, since Arabs won't be a part of it. They could support a minority coalition from the outside, but I don't see Yair Lapid being Prime Minister.
There's always a chance for Shas to enter, but it has to give up on some privileges it had acquired over the years for itself and its people.
Labor will probably defy its own promises before the elections and enter the coalition under Likud. Its chairwoman faces deposition in an internal elections if it is left in the opposition, so it will try to weasel its way into the coalition and try to save face while doing so (or the chairwoman can gamble on her position and be the opposition leader... potentially for a month).
Wishful thinking - Israel our home could give the finger to Likud (if its leadership does change due to its chairman's legal battle) and disengage. This makes Israel our Home a party with 11 seats and Likud with 20. In this situation there's a chance for an alternative government entirely. Again, this is wishful thinking at best, more like utter fantasy...
As it seems now, if a government rises it will be a small majority and a shaky one.

Update: The government formed.
I'm posting here to avoid having to make a new thread. It took them a good month to finally do it.

New government composition: Likud our home - 31
There's a future - 19
The movement (headed by tvipi livni) - 6
Jewish Home - 12

That's 68 seats altogether. You need 61 to run a coalition government.

Interesting details:

There's a future and Jewish home banded together during the negotiations with Likud, hoping to extract more benefits from the coalition government.
Tzipi Livni was the first to come together with Benjamin Netanyahu. This was the one who ran on being the only party that will definitely not join together with Likud.

Notable features -
Yair Lapid is minister of treasury (May god help us all).
Jewish home has control over the finances committee and the housing ministry (woo settlements).
There's a future has ministry of education.
Tzipi Livni nabbed the Justice ministry (ability to appoint supreme court judges, exerts some power over the judiciary).
Jewish home got control over the state's religious institutions (Chief Rabbinate of Israel). Elections for high ranking religious jobs are due and he can influence who gets in and who gets out. Elections to these jobs are once per ten years.
Likud has the ministry of defense.
Netanyahu keeps the ministry of foreign affairs while Lieberman is in court, would return it to him if he is eligible after the trial ends.
Previous Parliament chairman is booted out by Netanyahu, replaced with a more palatable alternative.
Coalition arrangements include raising the bar from 2% to 4% requirements of votes to get into Parliament. This puts in danger most of the smaller parties.
Cabinet significantly reduced to 21 ministers, plans to legislate laws to cap it at 18.
Disgruntlement in the Likud party itself over its fall from grace. First sparks of a counter movement to Prime Minister Netanyahu.
War Cabinet significantly reduced to 7(8). Includes all necessary 5 (Prime minister, minister of defense, minister of treasury, minister of foreign affairs, minister of internal affairs, minister of justice) , with additions of Jewish Home chairman and Gilad Erdan, young high ranked member of Likud. Israel our home chairman Lieberman due to come in when and if his trial ends and is allowed into power as minister.
.
The Opposition -
Opposition leader will probably be Labor chairwoman.
Shas and United Torah Judaism were left outside the coalition fence this time. They have an axe to grind with Lapid and are now bloodthirsty, turning their sights at the settlements. They will shift gears towards being more left oriented.
The opposition will now be much more active and militant. Nearly all parties there are out for revenge.

Unrelated notes: Netanyahu's apology to the Turkish PM could stand to influence Israel our home's chairman and his decisions in the future. He was adamantly opposed to it, but because he wasn't a minister at the time he had no veto right to stop it. I expect interesting developments there.

Yes, the food in the army is terrible. Thanks for asking.

Howdy, fellow escapists. If you care enough to enter the thread, you probably know what Israel is. Great, that's a start. Over there we have a Parliamentary Representative Democracy. One house of representatives, holding 120 seats. Any party that can go through the necessary bureaucracy can run for elections. Each party presents a list of candidates (some even up to 120) - those on the top of the list will get into Parliament, depending on how many votes the party garnered (if the party got enough for 12 seats, the first 12 will become Parliament members). There's a minimum line for votes (you need to get at least 2 seats to even enter Parliament). The 'value' in votes of each seat is calculated relatively to the overall amount of votes in said elections.

Composing a coalition of parties occurs after the elections. The head of a party is nominated to head a coalition by other parties (that either signed deals with them or are planning to be in the same coalition), and s/he later creates a coalition of parties. For the most part, it's best to have at least 61 seats (50%+1) in a coalition so to avoid fears of failing a vote that could spell ruin for the coalition (if a large enough party breaks away, the opposition can pass a law to dissolve the coalition with enough votes). The bigger the coalition, the stronger and more stable the government.

General elections are at the 22nd of January.

Right... where was I? Oh, yes, the parties that are running. I'll show the most prominent ones, but there are some which can't get past the minimum (like the 'green' party and the 'pirate' party).

1. Likud & Israel, Our Home - The two parties are running on the same ticket. This is a political stunt by the leader of the Likud party, Benjamin Netanyahu, that was threatened by the growing poll numbers for the Labor party. Israel, Our Home has its roots within the Likud (since it was started by people leaving the Likud), and it seems rather natural to have them on-board. However, politics can be a battle of opportunists, and by doing this the Likud had nearly assured itself that it will be the next party to lead the coalition in the Israeli government. Before the merger, the Likud had 27 seats and Israel, our home had 15. Their numbers have dropped significantly from 42 to around 34 (this is recent polls) due to center and right parties stealing away their voters that couldn't stomach the two parties' "merger".

2. Labor - Our sweet, sweet, Labor party that fell into ruin in recent years. I think they had about 13(!) seats in the last round, and its situation worsened after their head broke away with four other members so he could stay in the coalition and keep his job as minister of defense. They strengthened significantly in the past year due to the shock-waves felt by a wave of protests that happened in Israel in the summer. The Labor party just started riding that wave of resentment and anger (and even got some activists on its roster) and now they're polling at around 18-20, depending on the season. I _hate_ that the Labor party became a populist movement, and it turned from a left party to a center, and even center-right party just to be more mainstream and garner more votes.

3. Shas - A political movement that burst into the scene by harnessing the previously untapped natural resources of disgruntled Sephardi Haredi Jews. Over the years they became a party that "encompassed" all of the Haredi sphere, and somehow lost some of its color. Nowadays accusations of corruption and decadence are thrown at it from every direction. Ex-members talk about how their supposed leader, an elderly great rabbi, is being "held hostage" by a court of plotters that tell them what they want him to hear and nothing else. Then again, they can all just be mad. They get around 11 seats, and because their audience almost never changes, the numbers stay at around 13-9 in the recent elections. They've been the "balance" party for a few consecutive times now, going with whoever will give them the most privileges and helping the coalition of their choice. There is some interesting history about this party, lots of bad blood.

4. Jewish Home - after some conniving and backstabbing, we have the 'mostly' reunified Religious Nationalist party in place. They're polling at a surprising 14 seats (because they got a new face to lead them). These guys are... interesting. The leader of the party goes out to speak not only to his crowd (Religious Nationalists) but also to Secularists and others. It was interesting to see them grow from around 7 seats to 14 in such a short time. They owe a lot for the image of their new chairman. He's a charismatic, relatively young, handsome, special forces army veteran, wealthy businessman (he pulled an 'exit') and seemingly "uncorruptable". Damn it he's sexy. Just look at him. You think he's not? Look at our President. There. I told you. It's a facade for the most part. They're still on the right-right, but with a new face.

5. There is a Future - The 'wind' party, as in "they're blowing wind", and in "it'll be gone as the wind next elections". We get those from time to time. It was founded and headed by a nice gentleman that came from Israeli Journalism, Yair Lapid. He has a list of journalists, experts in their field and a rabbi with a respectable name (god knows why. yes, it was a joke. carry on). His father became infamous as a politician because he and his party 'fought' against the ultra-religious in Israel politics, which is why people expect him to kinda do the same. He's not as decisive as others expected, because he knows that going on the offensive like a twat can get you disqualified in the eyes of a lot of people. What is he running on? well, first and foremost - change. Change the system, change the education, change the welfare, change the current regime. That's all to it - motherfucking populists. Yes, you can see I don't like them. Oh, and they've been polling as high as 18 - and as low as 8. At the moment they're at around 10-11 seats, but from now to elections they can be wiped out or be as big as the Likud. My money goes on wiped out.

6. Meretz - Woo, our lovely confused Leftist party. I say confused because sometimes it might forget it's Zionist. Oh well, things happen. So what's new with them? A little is new - they seem to be polling better than last elections, with a new wave of lefties coming disappointed from last year's protests. They're polling at around 5-6 seats, while they are currently holding 3. Meretz... used to be much bigger (four times bigger). They go for social justice, human rights, a two state solution (They did it when it was COOL) and environmentalism. What happened? Two things - the temporary PA solution was at a halt, and this fiasco. Go on, preach tolerance and peace while buses and malls are being suicide bombed and we'll see how you're polling.

7,8&9. Hadhash; Balad; Raam-Tael. All three are Arab parties. Hadash has 4 seats. It used to be a radical left party but turned towards the issue of Arab Palestinian nationalism in the early 2000s (woo, non-Zionist). They support complete withdrawal of Israel back to the green line, recognition of a special minority status for Palestinians within Israel, and... I think that's it. Oh, and social justice. Balad is a party that has a clear non-Zionist agenda - make Israel into a democracy and remove the special status for Jews (the law of return is an example of what they claim gives Jews more rights than others in Israel), thus turning Israel into a democracy not unlike the USA (...good luck with the constitution). They have 3 seats. They are secular palestinian nationalists. Raam-Tael has 4 seats. Mostly religious nationalists, it's comprised of 4 political arab movements in Israel.

10. The movement headed by Tzipi Livni - this is... new. This is also very strange. Tzipi Livni used to be at the head of Kadima before she was outst in internal elections. She then decided to retire from politics... she returned a few weeks ago after she found out Ehud Olmert wouldn't run with her (Our current Attorney General's office is quite... hateful, of the man.). She is heading a movement which its sole purpose is being "NOT LIKUD, NOT BIBI". Seriously. That's what they're basically running on... and they're polling at ~9 seats. It's madness, I tell you. It's also a "wind" party of sorts.

Other notes - Kadima was CRUSHED into dust. It was a debacle, I tell you, a disaster of epic proportions, that a party which had more seats than the Likud became one that could barely go over the 2 seat minimum. If you want to learn more, just ask. It's a long story.

Hanin Zoabi, who was disqualified from participating in the elections in the Parliamentary committee for party registration... her case is being debated in Israel's high court of Justice (the Supreme court) at the moment. Meh, it also happened last time, but she won in court. What I love about it is that they're using a law that was put in place to disqualify a Jewish racist right-wing party from participating to disqualify her from running, and she then calls the law racist. She also likes to call them fascists. Interesting woman indeed, she has an eventful life.

There is barely a left... left in this country. The only ones left are Meretz and the Arab parties (just because they're not Zionist). All of the other parties are either center-left, center-right, a bunch of opportunists or crazy ass right-right. Before you ask, Likud is center-right. Oh, the horror. Menachem Begin would turn in his grave.

ANYWAY, do you gals and guys have any questions for me? I still haven't decided who I'm voting for. I can also talk about their political campaigns which are kicking into gear nowadays.

UPDATE: New year's update.
1/1/2013.
Recent Polls:
Likud & Israel our home - 34
Labor - 18
Jewish Home - 15
Shas - 11
The movement (Tzipi Livni) - 10
Arab Parties - 10 (Raam-Taal - 4, Balad - 2, Hadash - 4)
There is a future - 10
United Torah Judaism - 6
Meretz - 4
Kadima - 2

Comments - Likud is dropping in the polls and Benjamin's media campaigns only backfire at him. He first attacked the left-center oriented parties by basically calling them clueless while the big bad wolf (Iran's nuclear program) is about to strike. The second campaign was an attack on the Jewish Home's chairman that was quickly seeping away votes from the big block, calling him out on his gaffe in live tv (he said if he were a soldier and ordered to forcefully evict people from their homes he would ask his commander to excuse him, even if it entails going to jail for refusing orders). It backfired, hard. The third attempt now is a campaign that says "When Netanyahu talks, the world listens" in which they show congress applaud his speeches, etc. etc. ... The campaign had proved to fail while more voters leave this new block. It went from 42 to 34 seats since their unification, and it looks like it will continue more.

United Torah Judaism is a Haredi Ashkenazi party (different from the supposedly haredi Sephardic party Shas). They are both parties that look out for the welfare of their public, plain and simple. Other demands are keeping the monopoly on Jewish marriage, Cosher food, etc. in the hands of their type of Judaism.

Meretz won't be making a comeback this elections...

Kadima barely goes through the minimum vote count. In different polls it either gets 2 or 3 seats, or it doesn't even get into parliament.

I think you've got this in the wrong forum. Maybe see a mod about this?

Or shall I get to work making a sheet for the Meretz party?

Slick. But honest.

A sincere elections thread in the Role Playing Forum?

You could start a whole new trend here!

I wanna play the Healer/Rogue. Don't worry about turning your back on me...I'm a professional.

;)

Is there any party that has a serious chance of winning that wants to negotiate with Palestine, ie two-state solution etc? It seems like the only parties that have Palestine as a major issue are hard-line nationalists.

Edit: Also, what's the political opinions concerning West Bank?

Mr. Omega:
I think you've got this in the wrong forum. Maybe see a mod about this?

Or shall I get to work making a sheet for the Meretz party?

.

Copper Zen:
Slick. But honest.

A sincere elections thread in the Role Playing Forum?

You could start a whole new trend here!

I wanna play the Healer/Rogue. Don't worry about turning your back on me...I'm a professional.

;)

.
WELCOME TO THE R&P FORUMS.

Come and join us... yes... join us... yeeeessss.......

I'm sorry for the inconvenience I caused. I asked the mods to move the thread. Thanks for the laughs.

TheIronRuler:
Snip

Can you explain what the parties actually stand for? I don't know much about Israel politics and I do not know what the guys you listed stand for besides the Meretz is leftist, Jewish Home most likely wants to retake the East bank, and the Arab parties want a democracy rather then the Parilmentary peusdo-British system you have now.

Note: The US is not strictly a democracy, we started as and technically are a "Republic of States."

I am kind of interested in making an election RP now... but I don't have the slightest idea how that would work. >_>

Not G. Ivingname:

TheIronRuler:
Snip

Can you explain what the parties actually stand for? I don't know much about Israel politics and I do not know what the guys you listed stand for besides the Meretz is leftist, Jewish Home most likely wants to retake the East bank, and the Arab parties want a democracy rather then the Parilmentary peusdo-British system you have now.

Note: The US is not strictly a democracy, we started as and technically are a "Republic of States."

I am kind of interested in making an election RP now... but I don't have the slightest idea how that would work. >_>

.
Actually stand for in what topic? There's a wide variety of issues. The usual economy, welfare, diplomacy and also current internal issues like demanding the draft for all citizens, our current budget deficit and ways of dealing with it, failing electrical-power company, etc.

You give me a topic and I will put each party in its place. There are also parties that don't give a rat's ass about certain issues - they just don't talk about them or state their opinions in fear of losing voters.

TheIronRuler:

Not G. Ivingname:

TheIronRuler:
Snip

Can you explain what the parties actually stand for? I don't know much about Israel politics and I do not know what the guys you listed stand for besides the Meretz is leftist, Jewish Home most likely wants to retake the East bank, and the Arab parties want a democracy rather then the Parilmentary peusdo-British system you have now.

Note: The US is not strictly a democracy, we started as and technically are a "Republic of States."

I am kind of interested in making an election RP now... but I don't have the slightest idea how that would work. >_>

.
Actually stand for in what topic? There's a wide variety of issues. The usual economy, welfare, diplomacy and also current internal issues like demanding the draft for all citizens, our current budget deficit and ways of dealing with it, failing electrical-power company, etc.

You give me a topic and I will put each party in its place. There are also parties that don't give a rat's ass about certain issues - they just don't talk about them or state their opinions in fear of losing voters.

I will make it simple. What are the parties stances on...

Economy.

Religion.

The surrounding Arab states and the West Bank.

Those are the major issues in the nation, right? If something else trumps these issues for most parties, please tell it.

Not G. Ivingname:

TheIronRuler:

Not G. Ivingname:

Can you explain what the parties actually stand for? I don't know much about Israel politics and I do not know what the guys you listed stand for besides the Meretz is leftist, Jewish Home most likely wants to retake the East bank, and the Arab parties want a democracy rather then the Parilmentary peusdo-British system you have now.

Note: The US is not strictly a democracy, we started as and technically are a "Republic of States."

I am kind of interested in making an election RP now... but I don't have the slightest idea how that would work. >_>

.
Actually stand for in what topic? There's a wide variety of issues. The usual economy, welfare, diplomacy and also current internal issues like demanding the draft for all citizens, our current budget deficit and ways of dealing with it, failing electrical-power company, etc.

You give me a topic and I will put each party in its place. There are also parties that don't give a rat's ass about certain issues - they just don't talk about them or state their opinions in fear of losing voters.

I will make it simple. What are the parties stances on...

Economy.

Religion.

The surrounding Arab states and the West Bank.

Those are the major issues in the nation, right? If something else trumps these issues for most parties, please tell it.

.
Ok, that's a tad easier.

Economy:
Number 1, 4 & 10 are liberal capitalists. Number 10 leans more towards "blame Benjamin" route, but I know the chairwoman's opinions regarding economic theories since when she was in Kadima. Number 10 tries to steer away from the economics discussion because they are more focused on being a diplomatically alternative to the Likud.
Number 2 & 3 are socialists. Number 3 take care of their own sector - the Haredim, and use various loopholes to benefit them more than others.
Number 5 is a hybrid of sorts - it blames the Likud for ruining the country's finances but also refrains from the wild promises the Labor party makes since we already have a big deficit.
The rest are mostly socialists, as in the beginning the nature of Israel was socialist, and nowadays most (except for number 10) of the left parties are socialists.

Religion:
Number 3 embraces Religion and does not separate it with the state.
Number 4 embraces Religion but instead connects Jewish 'culture' and 'identity' (God knows what they mean by that... Traditionalism, methink) with the state.
Number 1, 5, 10 are Zionists. They work for a certain seperation of church and state, but they keep the current status-quo (Jewish Marriages, Cosher food, and other services are under a monopoly of a certain sect of Judaism sponsored by the government. It's a long story. Really, it is.)
Number 6,7,8,9 go for complete and utter separation of church and state. Number 9 also goes for supporting(financing) religious buildings/holy sites.

The surrounding Arab states?
Err... Most Zionist parties tow the line here. Whichever is our friend, we embrace cautiously (Woo, Jordan). Others we try and not instigate war with and look towards normalizing relationships with those that don't like us that much.
Arab parties and Meretz are all up for peace, love, and trade agreements.

About the west bank? I think I already explained it in some of the party's descriptions.

Believe it or not I am not exactly well versed in the specifics of Israeli politics but I have two questions.

1. Which of the parties do you believe will be able to bring peace(whatever passes for the in the region)?

2. Why are these guys so bad at naming parties?

Shock and Awe:
Believe it or not I am not exactly well versed in the specifics of Israeli politics but I have two questions.

1. Which of the parties do you believe will be able to bring peace(whatever passes for the in the region)?

2. Why are these guys so bad at naming parties?

.
2. A lot of the names sound better in Hebrew. Many of them are also acronyms.

1. Err... I would guess that a left-center coalition would have better prospects for 'peace' than a right coalition, but as history showed earlier much of Israel's peace treaties were signed... under a right-wing government. So it's not the parties, it's the people on both sides and the circumstances.

Here's my one question: Which parties support a one state solution to the palestine problem?

This is interesting. We don't get much foreign news at all in the States so I appreciate the learning opportunity.

I will be lurking the thread absorbing information.

Xan Krieger:
Here's my one question: Which parties support a one state solution to the palestine problem?

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I beg your pardon? I didn't understand your question.
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LetalisK:
Is there any party that has a serious chance of winning that wants to negotiate with Palestine, ie two-state solution etc? It seems like the only parties that have Palestine as a major issue are hard-line nationalists.

Edit: Also, what's the political opinions concerning West Bank?

.
Most of the parties want to negotiate (or at least they claim so), while others just don't care about the issue and concentrate on internal problems. The question isn't whoever will negotiate with the PLO, the question is what coalition will be able to make the most concessions to appease the Palestinian leadership enough that an agreement can be reached.

TheIronRuler:

Xan Krieger:
Here's my one question: Which parties support a one state solution to the palestine problem?

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I beg your pardon? I didn't understand your question.
.

LetalisK:
Is there any party that has a serious chance of winning that wants to negotiate with Palestine, ie two-state solution etc? It seems like the only parties that have Palestine as a major issue are hard-line nationalists.

Edit: Also, what's the political opinions concerning West Bank?

.
Most of the parties want to negotiate (or at least they claim so), while others just don't care about the issue and concentrate on internal problems. The question isn't whoever will negotiate with the PLO, the question is what coalition will be able to make the most concessions to appease the Palestinian leadership enough that an agreement can be reached.

Let me rephrase it. With Palestine you have the 2 state idea where Israel and Palestine are both considered countries. Alternatively you have the 1 state solution where Israel takes control of the land currently held by the palestinians. Personally I favor the 1 state solution, I'm hoping this whole siege of Gaza works and that land falls to Israel.

Xan Krieger:

TheIronRuler:

Xan Krieger:
Here's my one question: Which parties support a one state solution to the palestine problem?

.
I beg your pardon? I didn't understand your question.
.

LetalisK:
Is there any party that has a serious chance of winning that wants to negotiate with Palestine, ie two-state solution etc? It seems like the only parties that have Palestine as a major issue are hard-line nationalists.

Edit: Also, what's the political opinions concerning West Bank?

.
Most of the parties want to negotiate (or at least they claim so), while others just don't care about the issue and concentrate on internal problems. The question isn't whoever will negotiate with the PLO, the question is what coalition will be able to make the most concessions to appease the Palestinian leadership enough that an agreement can be reached.

Let me rephrase it. With Palestine you have the 2 state idea where Israel and Palestine are both considered countries. Alternatively you have the 1 state solution where Israel takes control of the land currently held by the palestinians. Personally I favor the 1 state solution, I'm hoping this whole siege of Gaza works and that land falls to Israel.

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As far as I know, there's a small minority that wants to re-establish the settlements in Gaza and retake it like before 2005. As to the west bank, all of the parties listed except for two want a two-state solution. Shas doesn't give a damn (or would prefer to keep Jewish sovereignty over Jewish religious sites) and the Jewish Home opting for a different plan (instead of a two state solution, annexing C areas and withdrawing all Israeli presence from Areas A and B. It also includes offering citizenship to all of those living within C area. The plan has other clauses, but the party doesn't go for a two state solution.)

Some want to have a bi-national country, a 'true' democracy free-for-all, but they're usually at the fringes of certain parties and are not represented much.

So, I guess we'll be seeing more Likud in the near future?

Also, could you give me the short version of wtf happened to Kadima? Their leader got arrested for corruption or something? Or is there just no place for a centrist party nowadays?

TheIronRuler:

1. Likud & Israel, Our Home - The two parties are running on the same ticket. This is a political stunt by the leader of the Likud party, Benjamin Netanyahu, that was threatened by the growing poll numbers for the Labor party. Israel, Our Home has its roots within the Likud (since it was started by people leaving the Likud), and it seems rather natural to have them on-board. However, politics can be a battle of opportunists, and by doing this the Likud had nearly assured itself that it will be the next party to lead the coalition in the Israeli government. Before the merger, the Likud had 27 seats and Israel, our home had 15. Their numbers have dropped significantly from 42 to around 34 (this is recent polls) due to center and right parties stealing away their voters that couldn't stomach the two parties' "merger".

I am wondering is Lieberman still involved in this coalition, or has the fraud allegation driven him out of politics?

dyre:
So, I guess we'll be seeing more Likud in the near future?

Also, could you give me the short version of wtf happened to Kadima? Their leader got arrested for corruption or something? Or is there just no place for a centrist party nowadays?

.
Kadima? Oh, alright.
It was the head party in a coalition made by Ehud Olmert. He resigned after Operation Cast Lead because the investigations concerning accusations of fraud were getting in his way and were tarnishing his name. So he retired and the country went to general elections.

Last elections they scored 28 seats while Likud had only 27. They should have been the ones to make the coalition after the elections but Benjamin Netanyahu was smarter than Tzipi Livni (and more cunning...) and constructed a coalition without her using other right-wing parties in his ideological vicinity. This gave him a very narrow majority of votes. A year ago the internal affair of dealing with Haredi youth came into the table again and the popular thing was to try and find a compromise or just force them to enlist to the IDF, followed by the Arabs. However, Shas, the Haredi party, was strictly against that. This caused the coalition to be in danger of being split as the secular-right wing Lieberman pushed to a reform in the subject matter while Shas tried to push this topic under the rug. A bit before that, Kadima had its internal elections. Since an opposition party gets no juicy jobs as a part of it being in the coalition and Kadima members blaming Tzipi Livni and her apparent incompetence for failing to construct of coalition and keeping the party in the opposition for a loooooooong time (from ideological motives, mind you), a different person was elected chairman in their internal election prompting Tzipi Livni to retire from politics (she returned later. No surprise there).

That chairman was Shaul Mofaz - and he then offered to join the Coalition with Likud to counter the fact that Shas members would vote against any law forcing Haredi youth to enlist in any way and thus collapse the coalition. This put him... in a tight spot. Shaul spoke very harsh words against the PM just before he joined hands with him, and the backlash from the public together with the feeling that he got from Likud's PM (He thought he was playing him so he could pass other laws uninterrupted) forced him to leave the coalition again. This... was a debacle. A political disaster - a glorious harakiri for all to see. Shaul just went into and out of the coalition in a matter of mere months seemingly on a whim. Who would elect a politician? He was in the opposition and so he was supposed to resist changes and laws made by the coalition, but he instead abandoned it and moved to the coalition. The general public saw the party as a failure, one that Shaul Mofaz ran to the ground. Its credibility was ruined and there was just no pointin voting for them again.

There are a shit-load of "center" parties nowadays, most prominent of which are number five that took some of the 28 seat hole that was left after Kadima failed miserably.
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Gashad:

TheIronRuler:

1. Likud & Israel, Our Home - The two parties are running on the same ticket. This is a political stunt by the leader of the Likud party, Benjamin Netanyahu, that was threatened by the growing poll numbers for the Labor party. Israel, Our Home has its roots within the Likud (since it was started by people leaving the Likud), and it seems rather natural to have them on-board. However, politics can be a battle of opportunists, and by doing this the Likud had nearly assured itself that it will be the next party to lead the coalition in the Israeli government. Before the merger, the Likud had 27 seats and Israel, our home had 15. Their numbers have dropped significantly from 42 to around 34 (this is recent polls) due to center and right parties stealing away their voters that couldn't stomach the two parties' "merger".

I am wondering is Lieberman still involved in this coalition, or has the fraud allegation driven him out of politics?

.
Haha, nothing can stop him from continuing in Israeli politics... nothing but a silver bullet to the heart.
...trust me, I tried.

Joking aside, this is still unfolding. As it stands it looks like he will be barred from being a minister - but that doesn't prevent him from doing anything else as a Parliament member. I'm still not sure how this will go down, but the chances for him of getting out of dodge unscratched are decreasing by the second.

You want the short version or the long version?

That Kadima's collapsed is a shame. For as far as I can tell, they seemed to have made the most significant impact in a long time with the clearance of Gaza, and how Sharon just hammered that out was amazing. Losing their figurehead you could expect a drop, but one so big they barely exist anymore? Wow.

They were heralded with a glad sigh around here; finally a party that sticks it to the religious conservatives.

So far news coverage has been limited to a single article about how Netanyahu aiming at the far right and religious vote and how his party is bothered by the fringe religious parties.

Anyway, I just hope the reformers can make an impact. It's not really hopefull that Likud and the Home party seem to be the largest ones and may form the coalition. I mean, the elections are earlier because of not being able to reach a national budget right? That and the huge problems on the housing market as well as general poverty... I'd say the biggest issues should be social reform. That there's a bunch of guys across the fence who'd love to see Israel destroyed is kind of common knowledge by now, that they can neither be conquered nor negotiated with too. So ignore them, there's more essential issues to focus on.

Especially housing. I can't say I read extensively, but what I heard is Israel lacks any form of social housing policy, and pretty much everything is free market sales so people have to work and stay at home for something like a decade before they can afford an own place. That's a crisis right there, and the impact of that on society can not be overstated.

Not just that, but such a market creates a real estate bubble that'll explode as the babyboom generation starts dying (assuming Israel has a disproportionately large babyboom generation like other western countries) because prices are inflated due to scarcity caused by free market urban planning, and in turn savings are invested in real estate. So if the population ages, the market suddenly relaxes, property value drops, construction goes down the shitter and many investments and life savings vapourise. The Netherlands is undergoing a similar deflation of property prices since 2008 and it hurts a plenty. Maybe it's my background in geography, but establishing social housing and building more houses for the people without it being left to free market greed (and thus inflated prices) seems like a very important issue for Israel to me.

Blablahb:
That Kadima's collapsed is a shame. For as far as I can tell, they seemed to have made the most significant impact in a long time with the clearance of Gaza, and how Sharon just hammered that out was amazing. Losing their figurehead you could expect a drop, but one so big they barely exist anymore? Wow.

They were heralded with a glad sigh around here; finally a party that sticks it to the religious conservatives.

So far news coverage has been limited to a single article about how Netanyahu aiming at the far right and religious vote and how his party is bothered by the fringe religious parties.

Anyway, I just hope the reformers can make an impact. It's not really hopefull that Likud and the Home party seem to be the largest ones and may form the coalition. I mean, the elections are earlier because of not being able to reach a national budget right? That and the huge problems on the housing market as well as general poverty... I'd say the biggest issues should be social reform. That there's a bunch of guys across the fence who'd love to see Israel destroyed is kind of common knowledge by now, that they can neither be conquered nor negotiated with too. So ignore them, there's more essential issues to focus on.

Especially housing. I can't say I read extensively, but what I heard is Israel lacks any form of social housing policy, and pretty much everything is free market sales so people have to work and stay at home for something like a decade before they can afford an own place. That's a crisis right there, and the impact of that on society can not be overstated.

Not just that, but such a market creates a real estate bubble that'll explode as the babyboom generation starts dying (assuming Israel has a disproportionately large babyboom generation like other western countries) because prices are inflated due to scarcity caused by free market urban planning, and in turn savings are invested in real estate. So if the population ages, the market suddenly relaxes, property value drops, construction goes down the shitter and many investments and life savings vapourise. The Netherlands is undergoing a similar deflation of property prices since 2008 and it hurts a plenty. Maybe it's my background in geography, but establishing social housing and building more houses for the people without it being left to free market greed (and thus inflated prices) seems like a very important issue for Israel to me.

.
There's a housing bubble the government just can't shake off. If they go in the extreme direction of government-sanctioned towns then the prices would plummet and people will default on their loans, but continuing in this route is problematic. It looks like the Israel economy is slowly reaching a halt as the housing market can't increase any more. I seriously hope the government could speed up its plans to try and tempt investors into constructing more apartments... So far they've been fairly busy building houses over the green line in Jerusalem.

Israel has social housing aplenty, but that's only in place to held truly struggling individuals... and even that is pretty scarce. It mostly includes renting homes at a subsidized cost. Israel also has issues with laws concerning rent (it's not as straightforward as in other countries and the owner is mostly free to gouge the renters).

I think Likud will drop Shas like a brick in the next elections. That 'fringe' religious party got 15 seats (It's the Jewish Home) and its freaking him out since his party's numbers were decreasing every passing week. It's more than Shas could offer and could stand to be a 'balance' party this time around.

Oh, and about kadima, look at the post above you. It wasn't the unfortunate departure of Sharon from office, it was the incompetence of his heirs.

TheIronRuler:
There's a housing bubble the government just can't shake off. If they go in the extreme direction of government-sanctioned towns then the prices would plummet and people will default on their loans, but continuing in this route is problematic. It looks like the Israel economy is slowly reaching a halt as the housing market can't increase any more. I seriously hope the government could speed up its plans to try and tempt investors into constructing more apartments... So far they've been fairly busy building houses over the green line in Jerusalem.

Israel has social housing aplenty, but that's only in place to held truly struggling individuals... and even that is pretty scarce. It mostly includes renting homes at a subsidized cost. Israel also has issues with laws concerning rent (it's not as straightforward as in other countries and the owner is mostly free to gouge the renters).

So turns out news around here was exagerated and poorly researched, big surprise... Thanks for the info.

TheIronRuler:
I think Likud will drop Shas like a brick in the next elections. That 'fringe' religious party got 15 seats (It's the Jewish Home) and its freaking him out since his party's numbers were decreasing every passing week. It's more than Shas could offer and could stand to be a 'balance' party this time around.

I know. I used the word fringe mostly because they're rather extreme in the political spectrum, and not so much to describe their popularity.

TheIronRuler:
Oh, and about kadima, look at the post above you. It wasn't the unfortunate departure of Sharon from office, it was the incompetence of his heirs.

I know. And I kind of expected it, just didn't expect something quite that bad. Maybe it's a wrong idea I have, but if people backed Kadima in such numbers you'd expect them to stick with it for the sake of hoping a continuing of the policies once it stabilised. Pre-kadima politics in Israel always struck me as seeming rather paralysed between religious conservatives and all others. (may also be inaccurate, but that's what it seemed)

It was sort of my hope (and something I heard around here several times) that Kadima would cause an anti-settler atmosphere to appear in the political arena which would curtail the power of the religious parties and make moderate parties adopt policies that involved no longer supporting settlements deep in the west bank.

TheIronRuler:
"short version"

Geez, I'm glad I didn't ask for the long version, lol. But thanks.

So basically the coalition was split on the issue of forcing Haredi Jews to join the IDF, and the leadership, instead of picking a side, picked both sides and lost their credibility? That's kind of a lame way to collapse.

Also, aren't Haredi Jews the ones who have the hats and beards and long locks of hair...would they get army buzzcuts and wear helmets like everyone else? o_O

dyre:

TheIronRuler:
"short version"

Geez, I'm glad I didn't ask for the long version, lol. But thanks.

So basically the coalition was split on the issue of forcing Haredi Jews to join the IDF, and the leadership, instead of picking a side, picked both sides and lost their credibility? That's kind of a lame way to collapse.

Also, aren't Haredi Jews the ones who have the hats and beards and long locks of hair...would they get army buzzcuts and wear helmets like everyone else? o_O

.
Some of them already do:

I think you got my explanation wrong... :(
Benjamin Netanyahu, our Prime Minister (and head of the Likud party), had the leader of Kadima join in the coalition with his party to try and pass this controversial law that unless he had joined the coalition couldn't have pushed through parliament. This after some very nasty things he (Shaul, Kadima's chairman) said about the PM. Then after seeing the backlash from the public and how he was played by Netanyahu, he backed away from the whole ordeal (after a few weeks in office), which made him look even WORSE as a politician.
Had Kadima not joined in, the coalition would have fallen apart and we would have already had a new government six months ago... and Kadima could have lead it. Damn it Mofaz, damn it to hell!

TheIronRuler:

dyre:

TheIronRuler:
"short version"

Geez, I'm glad I didn't ask for the long version, lol. But thanks.

So basically the coalition was split on the issue of forcing Haredi Jews to join the IDF, and the leadership, instead of picking a side, picked both sides and lost their credibility? That's kind of a lame way to collapse.

Also, aren't Haredi Jews the ones who have the hats and beards and long locks of hair...would they get army buzzcuts and wear helmets like everyone else? o_O

.
Some of them already do:

I think you got my explanation wrong... :(
Benjamin Netanyahu, our PM, had the leader of Kadima join in the coalition with his party to try and pass this controversial law that unless he had joined the coalition couldn't have pushed through parliament. This after some very nasty things he said about the PM. Then after seeing the backlash from the public and how he was played by Netanyahu, he backed away from the whole ordeal (after a few months in office), which made him look even WORSE as a politician.
Had Kadima not joined in, the coalition would have fallen apart and we would have already had a new government six months ago... and Kadima could have lead it. Damn it Mofaz, damn it to hell!

Oh, ok. So the entire coalition fell apart because their leader was a two-faced idiot? Coalitions must be a lot more fragile than political parties are here in the US...

And those pics are hilarious.

dyre:

TheIronRuler:

dyre:

Geez, I'm glad I didn't ask for the long version, lol. But thanks.

So basically the coalition was split on the issue of forcing Haredi Jews to join the IDF, and the leadership, instead of picking a side, picked both sides and lost their credibility? That's kind of a lame way to collapse.

Also, aren't Haredi Jews the ones who have the hats and beards and long locks of hair...would they get army buzzcuts and wear helmets like everyone else? o_O

.
Some of them already do:

I think you got my explanation wrong... :(
Benjamin Netanyahu, our PM, had the leader of Kadima join in the coalition with his party to try and pass this controversial law that unless he had joined the coalition couldn't have pushed through parliament. This after some very nasty things he said about the PM. Then after seeing the backlash from the public and how he was played by Netanyahu, he backed away from the whole ordeal (after a few months in office), which made him look even WORSE as a politician.
Had Kadima not joined in, the coalition would have fallen apart and we would have already had a new government six months ago... and Kadima could have lead it. Damn it Mofaz, damn it to hell!

Oh, ok. So the entire coalition fell apart because their leader was a two-faced idiot? Coalitions must be a lot more fragile than political parties are here in the US...

And those pics are hilarious.

.
*facepalm*
I'm sorry, I will try again.

A coalition is made of several parties, headed by one party, from which comes the Prime Minister (the head of the main/biggest party in the coalition). A coalition needs at least 61 seats to remain in power or the opposition will topple it. The proposed settlements in the matter of the recruitment of haredi Jews by the Likud party (and its coalition partners) were all unacceptable to Shas, which was also a member of the coalition. Had they continued in the same path, Shas would have left the coalition and then the coalition would fall, resulting in new general elections. This is where Kadima, headed by its new Chairman, comes in. The leader of the Coalition invites them into the coalition, and promises them two things - jobs (As in minister and vice-minister briefs, heads of committees, etc.) and to solve the issue of Haredi recruitment into the IDF. Since Kadima was in the opposition for nearly 3 years, its members were disgruntled they weren't in the coalition. Kadima then joined the coalition. By doing so, the head of the coalition had protected himself from utter failure in the case of Shas leaving, because Kadima had twice as much more seats than Shas and its departure won't crumble the coalition.

There, did I do better now?

TheIronRuler:

dyre:

TheIronRuler:

.
Some of them already do:

I think you got my explanation wrong... :(
Benjamin Netanyahu, our PM, had the leader of Kadima join in the coalition with his party to try and pass this controversial law that unless he had joined the coalition couldn't have pushed through parliament. This after some very nasty things he said about the PM. Then after seeing the backlash from the public and how he was played by Netanyahu, he backed away from the whole ordeal (after a few months in office), which made him look even WORSE as a politician.
Had Kadima not joined in, the coalition would have fallen apart and we would have already had a new government six months ago... and Kadima could have lead it. Damn it Mofaz, damn it to hell!

Oh, ok. So the entire coalition fell apart because their leader was a two-faced idiot? Coalitions must be a lot more fragile than political parties are here in the US...

And those pics are hilarious.

.
*facepalm*
I'm sorry, I will try again.

A coalition is made of several parties, headed by one party, from which comes the Prime Minister (the head of the main/biggest party in the coalition). A coalition needs at least 61 seats to remain in power or the opposition will topple it. The proposed settlements in the matter of the recruitment of haredi Jews by the Likud party (and its coalition partners) were all unacceptable to Shas, which was also a member of the coalition. Had they continued in the same path, Shas would have left the coalition and then the coalition would fall, resulting in new general elections. This is where Kadima, headed by its new Chairman, comes in. The leader of the Coalition invites them into the coalition, and promises them two things - jobs (As in minister and vice-minister briefs, heads of committees, etc.) and to solve the issue of Haredi recruitment into the IDF. Since Kadima was in the opposition for nearly 3 years, its members were disgruntled they weren't in the coalition. Kadima then joined the coalition. By doing so, the head of the coalition had protected himself from utter failure in the case of Shas leaving, because Kadima had twice as much more seats than Shas and its departure won't crumble the coalition.

There, did I do better now?

So, the whole time everyone in Kadima was just a bunch of aliens?? :(

Sorry, that doesn't make sense either. Israeli politics are clearly nonsensical. It sounds like Kadima is part of Likud's coalition now, when they could have just stayed on the sidelines and let the coalition fall apart (which I assume would have benefited them since they were the strongest rival?)

dyre:

TheIronRuler:

dyre:

Oh, ok. So the entire coalition fell apart because their leader was a two-faced idiot? Coalitions must be a lot more fragile than political parties are here in the US...

And those pics are hilarious.

.
*facepalm*
I'm sorry, I will try again.

A coalition is made of several parties, headed by one party, from which comes the Prime Minister (the head of the main/biggest party in the coalition). A coalition needs at least 61 seats to remain in power or the opposition will topple it. The proposed settlements in the matter of the recruitment of haredi Jews by the Likud party (and its coalition partners) were all unacceptable to Shas, which was also a member of the coalition. Had they continued in the same path, Shas would have left the coalition and then the coalition would fall, resulting in new general elections. This is where Kadima, headed by its new Chairman, comes in. The leader of the Coalition invites them into the coalition, and promises them two things - jobs (As in minister and vice-minister briefs, heads of committees, etc.) and to solve the issue of Haredi recruitment into the IDF. Since Kadima was in the opposition for nearly 3 years, its members were disgruntled they weren't in the coalition. Kadima then joined the coalition. By doing so, the head of the coalition had protected himself from utter failure in the case of Shas leaving, because Kadima had twice as much more seats than Shas and its departure won't crumble the coalition.

There, did I do better now?

So, the whole time everyone in Kadima was just a bunch of aliens?? :(

Sorry, that doesn't make sense either. Israeli politics are clearly nonsensical. It sounds like Kadima is part of Likud's coalition now, when they could have just stayed on the sidelines and let the coalition fall apart (which I assume would have benefited them since they were the strongest rival?)

.
Gods damn it.

It's not! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

It later left the coalition and fell into ruin with its members fleeing to the hills (and other parties) to try and save their ass.

TheIronRuler:

Gods damn it.

It's not! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

It later left the coalition and fell into ruin with its members fleeing to the hills (and other parties) to try and save their ass.

So it collapsed because it withdrew from the coalition? Did Kadima members want to be part of the coalition or not? Actually, nvm, I'll just read an article about it from an American point of view (so, written for people who don't understand Israeli politics).

dyre:

TheIronRuler:

Gods damn it.

It's not! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

It later left the coalition and fell into ruin with its members fleeing to the hills (and other parties) to try and save their ass.

So it collapsed because it withdrew from the coalition? Did Kadima members want to be part of the coalition or not? Actually, nvm, I'll just read an article about it from an American point of view (so, written for people who don't understand Israeli politics).

.
It (Kadima party) fell apart completely because of the actions of its newest chairman - he got into the coalition and later got out, making a lot of fuss in the meanwhile. This obliterated his (and his party's) credibility. Most of the members of the party chose Mofaz, and did in fact divert him towards joining a Coalition with the Likud.

Jerusalem Post, do my job for me.
http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Op-EdContributors/Article.aspx?id=290015

TheIronRuler:

dyre:

TheIronRuler:

Gods damn it.

It's not! Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

It later left the coalition and fell into ruin with its members fleeing to the hills (and other parties) to try and save their ass.

So it collapsed because it withdrew from the coalition? Did Kadima members want to be part of the coalition or not? Actually, nvm, I'll just read an article about it from an American point of view (so, written for people who don't understand Israeli politics).

.
It (Kadima party) fell apart completely because of the actions of its newest chairman - he got into the coalition and later got out, making a lot of fuss in the meanwhile. This obliterated his (and his party's) credibility. Most of the members of the party chose Mofaz, and did in fact divert him towards joining a Coalition with the Likud.

Jerusalem Post, do my job for me.
http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Op-EdContributors/Article.aspx?id=290015

Oh, that makes sense...that should've been your original short version of events! Though, I must say if that's all it took for the party members to jump ship, they must not have been very loyal. Or maybe party defections are more common in Israeli politics since there are more options, dunno.

TheIronRuler:

Blablahb:
That Kadima's collapsed is a shame. For as far as I can tell, they seemed to have made the most significant impact in a long time with the clearance of Gaza, and how Sharon just hammered that out was amazing. Losing their figurehead you could expect a drop, but one so big they barely exist anymore? Wow.

They were heralded with a glad sigh around here; finally a party that sticks it to the religious conservatives.

So far news coverage has been limited to a single article about how Netanyahu aiming at the far right and religious vote and how his party is bothered by the fringe religious parties.

Anyway, I just hope the reformers can make an impact. It's not really hopefull that Likud and the Home party seem to be the largest ones and may form the coalition. I mean, the elections are earlier because of not being able to reach a national budget right? That and the huge problems on the housing market as well as general poverty... I'd say the biggest issues should be social reform. That there's a bunch of guys across the fence who'd love to see Israel destroyed is kind of common knowledge by now, that they can neither be conquered nor negotiated with too. So ignore them, there's more essential issues to focus on.

Especially housing. I can't say I read extensively, but what I heard is Israel lacks any form of social housing policy, and pretty much everything is free market sales so people have to work and stay at home for something like a decade before they can afford an own place. That's a crisis right there, and the impact of that on society can not be overstated.

Not just that, but such a market creates a real estate bubble that'll explode as the babyboom generation starts dying (assuming Israel has a disproportionately large babyboom generation like other western countries) because prices are inflated due to scarcity caused by free market urban planning, and in turn savings are invested in real estate. So if the population ages, the market suddenly relaxes, property value drops, construction goes down the shitter and many investments and life savings vapourise. The Netherlands is undergoing a similar deflation of property prices since 2008 and it hurts a plenty. Maybe it's my background in geography, but establishing social housing and building more houses for the people without it being left to free market greed (and thus inflated prices) seems like a very important issue for Israel to me.

.
There's a housing bubble the government just can't shake off. If they go in the extreme direction of government-sanctioned towns then the prices would plummet and people will default on their loans, but continuing in this route is problematic. It looks like the Israel economy is slowly reaching a halt as the housing market can't increase any more. I seriously hope the government could speed up its plans to try and tempt investors into constructing more apartments... So far they've been fairly busy building houses over the green line in Jerusalem.

Israel has social housing aplenty, but that's only in place to held truly struggling individuals... and even that is pretty scarce. It mostly includes renting homes at a subsidized cost. Israel also has issues with laws concerning rent (it's not as straightforward as in other countries and the owner is mostly free to gouge the renters).

I think Likud will drop Shas like a brick in the next elections. That 'fringe' religious party got 15 seats (It's the Jewish Home) and its freaking him out since his party's numbers were decreasing every passing week. It's more than Shas could offer and could stand to be a 'balance' party this time around.

Oh, and about kadima, look at the post above you. It wasn't the unfortunate departure of Sharon from office, it was the incompetence of his heirs.

Eh housing bubble? loan defaults? not really, there's hardly a shortage of housing, not to mention new housing projects in Israel.
Even with out changing any policies you can increase the amount of new housing projects by almost 60% per year in Israel, only 44% of the allocated land plots each year are sold to contractors and private individuals simply because the public does not want to live more than 15-20KM off the center...
As far as "loans" go, Israel has one of the most conservative central banks in the world these days, the policies here virtually prevent you from defaulting on loans, and eviction here requires a full court order.
Also i don't know what gave you the idea that property owners can gouge residents, any eviction requires a court order, for the court the evict the resident they have to provide alternative residence.
It's kind of amusing seeing some one who did not had that much experience in life, not even had to live on their own(you're barely 18 yet) talking about how rough the housing market is, it's rough but it's not nearly as bad.
I'm actually relocating to London next week(1st of January), renting an apartment there is both more complicated and more expensive than any where I've been before(13000NIS/2150GBP a month for a decent 2 bedroom apartment(W2 postal code)), a family in London needs to earn over 52,000 a year to afford rent, the average household income in London is 27,868.
This is pretty much the thing that annoys me the most about the "young" generation(heck It's not that I'm old) they complain with out having any experience, and feel entitled.
So yeah at 21 you should not be living in central Tel-Aviv, and there's nothing wrong with it, the same goes for virtually every other country in the world.
The overall economy in Israel is good, heck it's great, salaries are going up constantly, the credit rating goes up year after year, and it's above the OECD median averages on every metric.

Verbatim:

TheIronRuler:

Blablahb:
That Kadima's collapsed is a shame. For as far as I can tell, they seemed to have made the most significant impact in a long time with the clearance of Gaza, and how Sharon just hammered that out was amazing. Losing their figurehead you could expect a drop, but one so big they barely exist anymore? Wow.

They were heralded with a glad sigh around here; finally a party that sticks it to the religious conservatives.

So far news coverage has been limited to a single article about how Netanyahu aiming at the far right and religious vote and how his party is bothered by the fringe religious parties.

Anyway, I just hope the reformers can make an impact. It's not really hopefull that Likud and the Home party seem to be the largest ones and may form the coalition. I mean, the elections are earlier because of not being able to reach a national budget right? That and the huge problems on the housing market as well as general poverty... I'd say the biggest issues should be social reform. That there's a bunch of guys across the fence who'd love to see Israel destroyed is kind of common knowledge by now, that they can neither be conquered nor negotiated with too. So ignore them, there's more essential issues to focus on.

Especially housing. I can't say I read extensively, but what I heard is Israel lacks any form of social housing policy, and pretty much everything is free market sales so people have to work and stay at home for something like a decade before they can afford an own place. That's a crisis right there, and the impact of that on society can not be overstated.

Not just that, but such a market creates a real estate bubble that'll explode as the babyboom generation starts dying (assuming Israel has a disproportionately large babyboom generation like other western countries) because prices are inflated due to scarcity caused by free market urban planning, and in turn savings are invested in real estate. So if the population ages, the market suddenly relaxes, property value drops, construction goes down the shitter and many investments and life savings vapourise. The Netherlands is undergoing a similar deflation of property prices since 2008 and it hurts a plenty. Maybe it's my background in geography, but establishing social housing and building more houses for the people without it being left to free market greed (and thus inflated prices) seems like a very important issue for Israel to me.

.
There's a housing bubble the government just can't shake off. If they go in the extreme direction of government-sanctioned towns then the prices would plummet and people will default on their loans, but continuing in this route is problematic. It looks like the Israel economy is slowly reaching a halt as the housing market can't increase any more. I seriously hope the government could speed up its plans to try and tempt investors into constructing more apartments... So far they've been fairly busy building houses over the green line in Jerusalem.

Israel has social housing aplenty, but that's only in place to held truly struggling individuals... and even that is pretty scarce. It mostly includes renting homes at a subsidized cost. Israel also has issues with laws concerning rent (it's not as straightforward as in other countries and the owner is mostly free to gouge the renters).

I think Likud will drop Shas like a brick in the next elections. That 'fringe' religious party got 15 seats (It's the Jewish Home) and its freaking him out since his party's numbers were decreasing every passing week. It's more than Shas could offer and could stand to be a 'balance' party this time around.

Oh, and about kadima, look at the post above you. It wasn't the unfortunate departure of Sharon from office, it was the incompetence of his heirs.

Eh housing bubble? loan defaults? not really, there's hardly a shortage of housing, not to mention new housing projects in Israel.
Even with out changing any policies you can increase the amount of new housing projects by almost 60% per year in Israel, only 44% of the allocated land plots each year are sold to contractors and private individuals simply because the public does not want to live more than 15-20KM off the center...
As far as "loans" go, Israel has one of the most conservative central banks in the world these days, the policies here virtually prevent you from defaulting on loans, and eviction here requires a full court order.
Also i don't know what gave you the idea that property owners can gouge residents, any eviction requires a court order, for the court the evict the resident they have to provide alternative residence.
It's kind of amusing seeing some one who did not had that much experience in life, not even had to live on their own(you're barely 18 yet) talking about how rough the housing market is, it's rough but it's not nearly as bad.
I'm actually relocating to London next week(1st of January), renting an apartment there is both more complicated and more expensive than any where I've been before(13000NIS/2150GBP a month for a decent 2 bedroom apartment(W2 postal code)), a family in London needs to earn over 52,000 a year to afford rent, the average household income in London is 27,868.
This is pretty much the thing that annoys me the most about the "young" generation(heck It's not that I'm old) they complain with out having any experience, and feel entitled.
So yeah at 21 you should not be living in central Tel-Aviv, and there's nothing wrong with it, the same goes for virtually every other country in the world.
The overall economy in Israel is good, heck it's great, salaries are going up constantly, the credit rating goes up year after year, and it's above the OECD median averages on every metric.

.
About the rent - there are certain laws in other countries where you're limited in how much you raise the rent and how many times you're allowed to do that. There isn't regulation regarding the rent the owner can demand.

I'm not an expert and I'm not that familiar with the topic. What I had in mind is that there aren't enough apartments being built to supply the demand, but there aren't enough investors to develop said projects (because of the reasons you mentioned). I know the differences in the loans given in Israel compared to the USA (How in the USA the loan you receive covers the value of the apartment and then some, so when the value of the property drops you're screwed. What I know is that loans here often don't cover all of the price and require a person's personal wealth to throw in the pot).

I misspoke. I'll go and sit in the corner now.

TheIronRuler:
snip

Eh, there aren't laws that prevent any one from raising the rent, there are laws that prevent you from doing that while you're on contract and its the same thing in Israel(in fact every lease contract i had had a clause that the contract can be renewed on the same price 3 months prior to its expiration), the only thing similar to that in other countries is what they called rent controlled apartments, in Israel its done via socialized housing projects like AMIDAR.
There's not lack of land plots, or contractors to meet the demand, there's lack of demand outside of very specific areas, and then people complain that they can't afford to buy apartments.
The so called "tent revolution" involved rich cry babies crying about the rent prices in Tel Aviv, cry me a river...
Yes you need to earn a hefty sum of money to live in the central areas, but that's true for every country, there are plenty of new apartments that people can buy way under 1M(The average price for a 70SQM 3 bedroom apartment in Rehovot for example is only 700,000), it's just that people don't want to live there because it's an hour drive of Tel-Aviv. This is how spoiled people have become, do you think that every one who works in central London, Frankfurt, Berlin, Amsterdam, New York or any other place actually lives there? Most of them commute into the city 1 hour commute is not that uncommon.
BTW Israel is one of the few nations which has laws that mandate employers to cover commute costs both public and private transportation. It's not that it's too expensive, it's that they can't be bothered.
There are allot of issues with Israel, but economically were not doing fine, were doing great, you get more social benefits than in most countries, every one is covered both by a medical plan and a retirement plan(You wont find many countries which force employers to put over 10% of each employees salary into retirement and other social savings) in 2014 when the final phase of the plan will go into effect, each employee will have 17.5% of their monthly salary invested in social savings(pension, severance, sabbatical etc.), out of which the employee only covers 5.5% while the employer covers 12% this is on top of state pension, social security and disability.
After 2014, the average pension payout for a worker will be over 5M NIS, that's equal to 45 years of average salary at the current rate. And people are crying about social benefits?

Oh and on top of that it was Bibi who put that plan into effect in the 90's in the fist place, first as the finance minister, and then as the prime minister.
There are plenty of things you can say about him, but he's a brilliant politician and a very good economist.
Considering that Israel has to socially support close to 30% of a population which chooses not to integrate into the work force(Haredi Jews, and the Majority of the non-urban Arab population, and unlike the popular opinion the Haredi are not that ones gouging all the money ) it's in a great economical state(Budget surplus of over 10% for the pass 15 years), heck if those 2 groups could be integrated into the work force at any level the per Capita GDP of Israel would be higher than Germany, currently it's just 200$(yes that's two hundred) short of the PPP GDP of the EU...

Verbatim:

TheIronRuler:
snip

Eh, there aren't laws that prevent any one from raising the rent, there are laws that prevent you from doing that while you're on contract and its the same thing in Israel(in fact every lease contract i had had a clause that the contract can be renewed on the same price 3 months prior to its expiration), the only thing similar to that in other countries is what they called rent controlled apartments, in Israel its done via socialized housing projects like AMIDAR.
There's not lack of land plots, or contractors to meet the demand, there's lack of demand outside of very specific areas, and then people complain that they can't afford to buy apartments.
The so called "tent revolution" involved rich cry babies crying about the rent prices in Tel Aviv, cry me a river...
Yes you need to earn a hefty sum of money to live in the central areas, but that's true for every country, there are plenty of new apartments that people can buy way under 1M(The average price for a 70SQM 3 bedroom apartment in Rehovot for example is only 700,000), it's just that people don't want to live there because it's an hour drive of Tel-Aviv. This is how spoiled people have become, do you think that every one who works in central London, Frankfurt, Berlin, Amsterdam, New York or any other place actually lives there? Most of them commute into the city 1 hour commute is not that uncommon.
BTW Israel is one of the few nations which has laws that mandate employers to cover commute costs both public and private transportation. It's not that it's too expensive, it's that they can't be bothered.
There are allot of issues with Israel, but economically were not doing fine, were doing great, you get more social benefits than in most countries, every one is covered both by a medical plan and a retirement plan(You wont find many countries which force employers to put over 10% of each employees salary into retirement and other social savings) in 2014 when the final phase of the plan will go into effect, each employee will have 17.5% of their monthly salary invested in social savings(pension, severance, sabbatical etc.), out of which the employee only covers 5.5% while the employer covers 12% this is on top of state pension, social security and disability.
After 2014, the average pension payout for a worker will be over 5M NIS, that's equal to 45 years of average salary at the current rate. And people are crying about social benefits?

.
Sh... don't say that out loud, the Labor party's newly found "base" might just disintegrate into ash if it hears you!

Israel's growth is slowly declining, but it might be just a bump in the road.

EDIT: I vaguely remember Yair Lapid's rant about how he will be the one to integrate these two population sectors (Haredi Jews and Arab women) into the workforce. I have a friend who is studying for a first degree in the Technion and she tells me that there are young Arab women there that are studying just so their husbands will have a doctor in the house... Waste of good affirmative action if you ask me.

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