Israel’s New Generation? Who knew the News?

9 News Australia’s Amelia Adams parachutes in.

We wonder if Nine News Australia will have the grace to admit that the Israel’s New Generation review of the upcoming Israeli elections by their UK correspondent was way off-beam?

While I don’t think the report was necessarily malicious it is misleading. There is so much to question about the journalistic research that went into this clip.

Bibi was pushed. He didn’t (necessarily) jump.

Benjamin Netanyahu is a master politician and it is hard to imagine that managing the investigations against him wasn’t in his mind. However that was not the complete reason these elections were called.

His government, as with every Knesset from the first, is a coalition. His Defence Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, had resigned his position taking his Israel Beitenu party out of government due to a ceasefire against Gaza which Lieberman said was “surrendering to terror”. This left a paper-thin majority of just 61 out of 120 Knesset members.

Not long after amid disagreements over an ultra-Orthodox draft law all five coalition parties met and issued a joint statement,

“Out of national and budgetary responsibility, the leaders of the coalition parties decided, by unanimous agreement, to dissolve the Knesset and go to new elections at the beginning of April after a four-year term”.

This was not even hinted in the report.

This is the age of crazies …

And the craziest is Oren Hazan. You would think from the coverage (40 seconds of 3:44, 10.6% of total) that he was the up-and-coming young star of the Likud. Unpopular with fellow Knesset members and Likud voters in the party primaries his spot in the primaries is believed too low to be re-elected.

After election to Knesset, Hazan received membership in Foreign Affairs and Defense and the Knesset Committees, from which he was expelled by Likud, following a string of controversies, including a no-show at the plenum meeting, which led to the ruling coalition bill being rejected.

Hazan has been temporarily banned from the Knesset several times over various wrongdoings involving bullying and rude behaviour. These included publicly mocking a disabled colleague, telling a female MK she was too ugly to be a prostitute, calling another wheelchair-bound MK “half a human” and calling an MK of Ethiopian descent, a “token immigrant”. In 2016 colleagues suspended the politician from the floor of the Knesset chamber for a period of six months except for voting.

Did no one tip-off Amelia Adams, the UK correspondent, about Oren Hazan?

Autumn in spring?

Stav means autumn in Hebrew and from the coverage (23 seconds of 3:44, 6.7% of total) it might seem that her Labor party was leading the charge to replace Netanyahu.

Not if the opinion polls are even close to correct.

They will be one of several small parties whose leaders are not Netanyahu.

The Labor Party under various brandings has a long history in Israel, Until 1977, all Israeli Prime Ministers were affiliated with the Labor movement. but hasn’t held office since 2001.

In the 2013 legislative election held on 22 January 2013, Labor won 18 seats. The latest polls have it winning 8-11 seats after a polling bump following their recent primaries. That must be a relief for the party as one week earlier polls had it between 4-7 seats coming perilously close to not be elected at all.

With 4th place in the primaries she shouldn’t have anything to worry about.

Perhaps Amelia was fooled by her name? The Urban Dictionary defines Stav as:

A smart person with swag. Stavs are always very pretty, and are considered goddesses of awesomeness. They are always down to Earth and are totally trustworthy.
Good job Stav for getting an A on the test! You are so awesome!!

Threat to Netanyahu.

My wife and I argued about whether Benny Gantz, a man in his sixties, qualifies as ‘new generation’. Perhaps that is why the man most likely to cobble together a coalition to actually threaten Netanyahu only receives 20 seconds of air time?

For my money, a candidate with no political experience at all, with a fighting chance of seizing the top job, can be considered new generation. Did someone mention Donald Trump?

For those unfamiliar with Israeli personalities the man pinning Rav-Aluf (Lt. General) epaulettes on the left is Ehud Barak, former Prime Minister and Minister of Defence under Netanyahu while current Prime Minister and Defence Minister Netanyahu† is pinning on the right.

Managing the stalemate.

It’s a common enough claim, even among Israeli analysts, that Israeli elections are ultimately about relations with the Palestinians. It isn’t necessary true. For the Arab parties (unlikely to be part of any coalition) and the religious parties (frequent king makers and likely to be part of any coalition) foreign policy is fairly irrelevant.

That some of the Arab members seem to be representing constituents outside Israel’s borders is not disputed. However most of the voters for the two Arab coalitions are voting on ethnic not policy grounds

Adams even contradicts herself later (editing glitch?) when she says Israelis are “much more concerned with things that impact their everyday lives. Yup!

Are we to believe Australians or anyone else are different?

James Packer?

There was a scandal with Australian magnate James Packer but as fair as I know the investigations (Case 1000) mainly concern Hollywood producer and billionaire Arnon Milchan. Packer is not facing any charges. He was interviewed as a witness not a suspect.

“I admire Prime Minister Netanyahu and am happy that I was given the opportunity to be his friend. I was happy to give him presents, many times at his request and his wife Sara’s request”.

That might not pass the reasonable person test for crimes of bribery, fraud and breach of trust.‡

Dodgy final statement.

When Amelia Adams says Netanyahu can only be forced to resign if convicted is not strictly true. As in Australia he can be voted out by his own party, however unlikely that might be. Another plausible scenario would be if his coalition partners refuse to serve with him as prime minister, either when advising the President or on indictment, should that happen.

We can only hope her 9 Network co-worker Peter Stefanovic isn’t advising her when Ms. Amelia Adams next jumps in and her reporting on Israel will be a little more accurate.


† He currently holds five portfolios: prime minister, defence minister, foreign minister, health minister, and immigration and absorption minister. None of them is a part-time position.
‡ The legal ‘reasonable person’ is sometimes referred to as the ‘man on the Clapham omnibus’ or in Australia the ‘man on the Bondi or Bourke St. tram’ harking back to a time when there were still trams and the passenger was always a male.
First published by David Guy at Five Minutes for Israel.

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