[There is an update to this post HERE.] Israelis went to the polls today yet again, after only a few months, to try to see if a government could be formed from amongst the warring political parties in Israel. Polling on the day puts the Kahol Lavan Party of Benny Gantz a half point ahead of Likud (Netanyahu), with those two parties far out in the lead. Five months ago, when Netanyahu had to form a coalition, he did so with far right parties. But then the Israeli Parliament dissolved itself and forced another election — this one. It is an important election in some respects,and then in another way, not. We’ll get to the why in both cases as we go along.
Voter turnout for this election has been a little higher than in the last one, with Arab turnout and the ‘left’ higher as well, which has Bibi Netanyahu fearmongering to the Israeli public. It is reported that Bibi is breaking the law by revealing internal polls and giving illegal interviews while polling is happening , too, and there are claims of voter fraud in stations across Israel. It sounds like another Israeli election is underway.
What do we know about the two main candidates, Bibi and Gantz? Starting with Netanyahu, he is currently pursuing his fifth term as PM. His chart is listed on astro.com, though I have not had time to check its veracity. He is facing indictment for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three separate corruption cases, the most damning of these being cases 1000 and 2000 in the police register. That may well come to bite him in the first of next year, when the Pluto/Saturn transit happens on his Jupiter. If the astro.com chart is correct then directions to his Ascendant show a ‘short journey’, as well as, “The tendency to seclude oneself from others, and going one’s own way in life”. We’ll see.
The police cases involve the receipt of expensive gifts while in office, which leave him open to influence, and manipulating media outlets. However, most of his voter base still wants him in the job, whether he is formally indicted or not. Investigations into him began in December 2016.
Netanyahu’s policies have been all over the news in recent years, so there is no real need to go back over them. His Likud Party is a far right hawkish party that advocates war with surrounding states. Its platform includes the right of settlement, rejection of a Palestinian state, a neo-liberal free market economic agenda, is said to be secular, but promotes the revival of Jewish culture in keeping with principles of Revisionist Zionism.
Netanyahu used to be on friendly terms with Donald Trump’s largest donor, Sheldon Adelson, a casino mogul, and the latter was one of Bibi’s largest supporters. They had a falling out over Adelson’s newspaper Israel Hayom. Trump has sought to influence the Israeli elections in favor of Netanyahu with gimmicks such as recognizing the Golan Heights as Israeli territory before the last election (which is illegal), and now with his idea of a joint Israeli-American defense pact. With regard to the latter, that treaty won’t happen. If it were to, it would quickly become untenable to both sides. It was suggested in 1979 and quickly scotched, by Israel. But it might be enough to push Bibi over the line. That takes us to Gantz, Bibi’s opponent in the race.
Gantz is a former IDF chief. (chart) It was he who tied Bibi in the April elections, causing the do-over of that election. He campaigns on a center-left platform, although it is questionable whether such a center-left attitude actually exists in the main in Israeli politics. Further, there is a large gender gap in Israeli politics, but Gantz has vowed to create a 50-50 balance of gender within his party. He boasts of having the first ultra-Orthodox female lawmaker and female Druze lawmaker in his party. His policies are as follows:
“Gantz has called for pursuing peace with the Palestinians while maintaining Israel’s security interests…He has signaled he would make territorial concessions toward the Palestinians, but has also sidestepped the question of Palestinian statehood. His party is also running on a platform promising to impose term limits on the prime minister (Netanyahu is seeking a fifth term), invest more in education, allow public transportation on Shabbat and enact civil marriages.”
The big problem with a Gantz victory is no so much his views, but the fact that the right wing in Israeli politics is the largest, meaning it would be difficult for him to form a coalition large enough to govern. And the right wing favors Netanyahu. It is Bibi’s ace in the hole. That alone would appear to suggest that Netanyahu would be likely the next PM. However, there is a problem for Bibi. And that relates to his indictment.
There are a long list of Israeli public officials who have been convicted of crimes and misdemeanors against the state. If Bibi is indicted, he may well find himself in good company with his fellow list members. Gantz has predicted that if Bibi does manage to make it to office for a fifth time, that he probably would not last eight months due to the indictment. Given the transits to his chart in the first of the year, that may well be a prescient prediction. Bibi’s chart with directions and transits for the first of next year are below (bigger):
We see the transiting stellium on his Jupiter, which is also trine his Midheaven in that chart. But then a few weeks later Saturn will transit square his Sun, indicating a slow period and possible setbacks. At the first of the year he also has a direction of Saturn to his Mars, showing weakness and troubles, and maybe a possible illness. And then there is a transit of Neptune opposite his Saturn preceding that, around the time the indictment is set to come (October), activating a solar arc of Uranus on his Saturn, showing pessimism, a painful loss and instability. Then, there are directions of Ceres and Jupiter to his Uranus, showing a sudden large turning point in his life. And all this can be read without a birth time, aside from the Midheaven reading. Apparently, if he does make it to office for a fifth term, it will not be in the best of circumstances, putting it mildly.
With all the preceding in mind (and we don’t even have to look at Israel’s chart), why is this election so important? There are several reasons, but firstly because it comes at a critical juncture in Israel’s history, as well as world history. Many events have come together at the same time that indicate a large shift of power in the Middle East, and that will impact Israel in very significant ways. Depending on the leadership in place, those changes can spell a better period or disaster, depending.
Firstly, Israel has enjoyed relative impunity over recent years with attacks on Syria, supposedly against Iranian targets. However, the days of one-way pain are over. Netanyahu had planned to hit several sensitive targets in Syria in the days before the election. He went to Russia to try and gain support for those strikes, saying they were necessary for Israeli security. It was an election stunt meant to garner ex-pat Russian votes. He returned to Israel chastened, having been told by Putin that strikes in Syria were no longer to be tolerated an to stay out of Lebanon as well. Why, one might ask?
Putin has been seen by some armchair pundits as being soft on Israel and too influenced by the Israel lobby in Russia (there is one, though not nearly to the extent there is in the US/UK/France). The reason is there are a large number of Russian expat Jews and their descendants in Israel, on the order of 900,000 by conservative estimates. Putin had this to say:
“Mr Prime Minister, I know that your country is on the eve of major domestic political events, the elections to Knesset on September 17, I believe. It is common knowledge that over 1.5 million former Soviet citizens live in Israel. We have always considered them our people, our compatriots. Naturally, we are not indifferent as regards future Israeli MPs, let me be straight about this. We are hoping they will be responsible politicians that will certainly maintain all recent achievements in bilateral relations and will move forward with us in developing Russian-Israeli ties.”
Israeli actions in neighboring states put those Russian-speaking Israelis at risk. Russia has further condemned the planned annexation of the Jordan Valley should Bibi win the election, a plan that Trump supports. He may come to regret it.
Secondly, the war in Syria is all but finished, with the Syrians having won, with the help of the Iranians, Hezbollah and Russia. Russia wants to maintain the integrity of Syria and to help it rebuild. This has put Zionist interests, as well as those of other Arab states, on the back foot. Israel had plans for expansion being put forward by factions within the state, otherwise known as the ‘Oded Yinon Plan’. That plan is now dead, barring unforeseen circumstances. Israel is a small nation, and if its population continues to grow at a present rate of about 100,000/year, with the current population at just over 9 million, it is increasingly feeling itself squeezed. Israel is the same size as New Jersey, with a comparable population. Its current population density is about that of the Netherlands, also. There is not much room for a single family to own a plot of land by themselves. They are running out of personal space – unless they annex more land.
Trump’s Deal of the Century is supportive of a ‘greater Israel plan’. The immediate aim of the plan is the annexation of the entirety of the West Bank and Gaza. The greater plan is to destabilize the entire region and create an area of proxy states. Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is a part of it, along with the recognition of the Golan as part of Israel, as well as withdrawal from the JCPOA and the sanctions against Iran. The entire plan has now been thrown into question.
Then, thirdly, there is the rise of Iran as the dominant regional Islamic power. It is fast being integrated into the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, at which point its security will be ensured, as well as its being integrated into China’s Belt and Road Initiative. China is investing heavily in Iran. Israel, in some ways, is being used as a proxy by the US to get at Iran. Iran was to be the big prize of the neocons in Washington, but that is not to be now, either. However, the current belligerence toward Iran puts the average Israeli at serious risk, because if there were to be a war in the region Israel would be in the crosshairs of Iran, Hezbollah and Syria, as well as Iraq.
Finally, there was the recent attack, claimed by the Houthis in Yemen, on the Saudi oil stations that have cut half of their production. There has been a rush to blame Iran for it. It has the hallmarks of a false flag, which will be addressed in the next article. Trump has said the US is ‘locked and loaded’. It could spark a larger conflict. If Bibi is reelected he would have Israel all-in on an attack on Iran, which would be the biggest of follies. Gantz could be, too, but he appears to be a more sensible influence, having been the IDF Chief from 2011 – 2015, and he is aware of the capabilities of the regional players. However, in a post earlier this year there is a possibility of a storm coming for Israel.
In summary, then, whoever makes it to the leadership with this election is important in this intervening period. The way it is looking, Israel needs to immediately start the process of making peace with all of its neighbors, especially Iran, settling the Palestinian crisis in a just and meaningful manner (not the Deal of the Century). It would greatly benefit also from looking East, too, and lessening its dependence on the United States, which will be facing its own problems in the next few years. Gantz would appear to be a better choice in that regard, but not everything is as it seems. And that brings us to why these elections do not ultimately matter.
The way Israel is headed, it is on a path to eventual self-destruction. There is an article worth reading that describes why, and the destructive influences are coming from internal divisions and Israel’ demographics, as well as from tensions with outside forces. The slide downhill is also due to consistent poor policy decisions by its leaders. The main takeaways from the article, quoted, are as follows:
- “Israel is imploding, breaking into the elements it has never managed to integrate into one. The schism is no longer the more quotidian dichotomy of Ashkenazi vs. Arab Jews (aka Sephardim); this divide is ideological, religious, spiritual, political, ethnic and cultural.
- There is no political Israeli Left. Israeli politics break down into a lot of extreme right voters and many ordinary hawks.
- Israelis are more united than ever in their nationalist beliefs and in the primacy of their Jewish symptoms. Why is it, if the Israelis are so unified, that no one can form a government in their so-called ‘Jewish State’?
- Unless secular Israelis in Tel Aviv go to the polls, they should expect to live in a Halacha State under an ultra right wing Netanyahu government.
- This conflict at the heart of Israeli politics is a window into the Jewish state and its fears. Israel is rapidly becoming an Orthodox Jewish state. Israel’s Orthodox Jews are the fastest growing group in the country. They are also the country’s poorest population, 45 percent live below the poverty line in segregated communities. Ordinarily, one would expect the poor to support the left, but Israeli Torah Jews are rabid nationalists and openly lend their support to Benjamin Netanyahu and his party.
- Israel could cease to exist in a couple of generations. He [Prof. Dan Ben-David] pointed to the astonishingly high birth rate among ultra-Orthodox Jews and predicted that, based on current trends, they will comprise 49% of Israel’s population by 2065. The ultra-Orthodox parties are destined to dominate the Knesset within a generation or less. Ben David predicts that their dependence on Israel’s welfare system will lead to a rapid decline in Israel’s economy.
- The picture that comes across is peculiar. As Israel becomes increasingly Jewish and fundamentalist in its nationalist and religious ethos, it has also become more divided on everything else. The Russian immigrants find it impossible to live alongside the ultra-Orthodox and vice versa…(etc.)
- In light of all of this, the Palestinians are in relatively good shape.. They simply need to survive. Israel seems to be Israel’s fiercest enemy.”
From all this we see that time is not on Israel’s side. It was founded as a nationalist state. The reason for its founding, from the Western perspective, was as an outpost that would ensure Western hegemony over the world’s energy resources. That was before we knew that Venezuela and Russia had huge fossil fuel reserves and before we knew about fracking. Thus, in some ways Israel is outliving its usefulness to the West. And then Israel has spent its moral capital with the world at large with its treatment of the Palestinians and its belligerence to its neighbors. At times those neighbors have not helped matters, either.
And finally, when Israel was founded, the world was largely bipolar, with Russia and the US dominant, and then unipolar. Now, in a few short years, the world is rapidly becoming multipolar. The East is in ascendance. Israel badly needs a shakeup if it is to survive, and a strong, far-sighted statesman as leader instead of a career politician as the head. Sadly, it is not likely to change.
In conclusion, yes, this is a very important election, but in the end, it won’t make much difference to Israelis in the long term. And if the hawkish attitudes prevail, there may not be a long term. Bibi has run a fear-based campaign, which is never a good omen for outcomes and is deceptive, dishonoring the nation and the voter base. But he may yet pull it off. That will be quite indicative of the nation’s direction and sentiments. The next days will be telling. Even if he does win, he is not likely to last long, given his astrology. Reports I have heard from inside Israel confirm why Israel is not long for this world, related to the bullet points above. We meditate for peace in the region, and for common sense as to the nation’s realities to eventually prevail.
Featured pic from Al Jazeera