Dr.Gerstenfeld’s article on the fourth week of the second elections. The Tundra Tabloids is the only place where the English version is published…
SECOND ISRAELI ELECTION CAMPAIGN
Fourth Week June 20-26, 2019
CANCELING THE ELECTIONS
During the week, it became known that Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein (Likud) was preparing a proposal to cancel what he called “the most unnecessary elections in Israel’s history.” Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit told politicians that calling off the vote isn’t legally possible. There were however reports that there was a legal way for the Knesset to cancel the elections. A statement by the Likud said that Netanyahu has “great respect for Edelstein and will consider his proposal in the coming days.”
Blue and White called this proposal “more spin.” The party said that Netanyahu was responsible for these elections. There is no precedent for such a rapid call for new elections as happened following the April 2019 election, During the week there were reports that Likud and Blue and White officials had been trying to attract support from 80 MK’s to cancel the upcoming elections. Blue and White officially denied these reports. A channel 13 poll found that 48% of the public supports cancelling the elections. Thirty five percent oppose it and 17% do not know.
Gantz called on Netanyahu to stop the appointment of MK Betzalel Smotrich of the Union of Right-Wing parties to the security cabinet. Gantz recalled that as a right-wing activist leader Smotrich once called upon activists to fight against security forces. The cabinet however approved Smotrich’s appointment.
Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak who is 77 years old announced that he was creating a new party. He was joined at the press conference inter alia by former IDF Deputy Chief of Staff, Yair Golan. Barak said that the Blue and White party “did not have fire in its stomach, they did not have the drive to fight.” Shortly before Barak’s announcement Gantz said: “Only a strong centrist party like Blue and White can win and any split in the camp harms the effort to defeat Netanyahu.” The Likud reacted to the creation of Barak’s party by saying that it was not interfering in how the left divides its votes between Barak, Yair Lapid and Benny Gantz.  __
A Channel 12 report quoted Moshe Ya’alon, number three on the Blue and White list, as saying that the party’s number two, Yair Lapid, made a mistake by repeatedly attacking the ultra-orthodox. Ya’alon was quoted as saying that Lapid has “become a burden.” The report also quoted Ya’alon as condemning the rotation agreement between Gantz and Lapid if Blue and Whitewins the election. Sources in Blue and White told the Jerusalem Post that the quotes were inaccurate and an attempt to cause tension within the party. Gantz wrote a message requesting them (who) to act more responsibly without mentioning their names.
Likud’s internal court rejected an appeal of two of its Knesset members to cancel the merger with the Kulanu party led by Moshe Kahlon. The court ruled that the merger was legal. It also ruled that if Netanyahu would like to add another person to the list, he would need approval from the party’s central committee.
A Ma’agar Mohot poll asked Likud members who should replace Netanyahu if he leaves the prime ministership. Thirty three percent said MK Gideon Sa’ar, 29% Israel Kotz, 16% Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein and 10% said former Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked, who is not even a member of the party.
The Labor Party cancelled its primaries. It will keep the remaining members of the April elections list in the September 17th elections. Since Avi Gabbay vacated the party’s leadership, a new leader will be chosen on July 2.  The four Arab parties have agreed to run on a joint list in September. In the April elections they were divided over two lists.
Shaked informed her supporters that secret talks are going on about her possible future in the forthcoming elections. She was second on the list of the New Right Party in April. Shaked has not participated in any meetings organized by party leader, former Education Minister Naftali Bennett. On his Facebook account, Bennett attacked the conversion practices of the ultra-orthodox Chief Rabbinate. He promised to pass a law allowing municipal chief rabbis the ability to conduct Jewish conversions.
The main background development of the week was the revelation by the Trump administration of the financial part of its Middle East peace plan. This includes $50 billion of investments over the next decade. More than half of these funds, 28 billion dollars, would be invested in the West Bank and Gaza. The remainder would be divided among Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon. This was followed by the US sponsored economic conference in the Gulf State of Bahrain where hundreds of government and business officials from around the world, including from Arab countries, Israel and the Palestinian territories gathered during two days.
Gantz wrote on his Facebook page that he is “in favor of promotion and economic development for the Palestinians in Gaza and Judea and Samaria” … “any such initiative… must be part of the effort to demilitarize the Gaza Strip, return prisoners and missing persons, and prevent terrorist activity in Judea and Samaria, and work together with the world to establish the understanding that security calm will also lead to prosperity and prosperity in the entire region.”