“I only feel a deep sense of shame,” said Israel’s president.
By David Isaac, World Israel News
“I only feel a deep sense of shame,” said Israeli President Reuven Rivlin as he cast his vote in Jerusalem on Monday, referring to the fact that Israel is holding its third election in less than a year.
“This is normally a festive day, but the truth is that I don’t feel like celebrating,” he said. “I only feel a deep sense of shame when I face you, my fellow citizens.”
“We simply don’t deserve this. We don’t deserve another horrible election campaign that descends into sleeziness, like the one that ends today,” he said.
Israel, trapped in a political deadlock, saw their politicians engage in mud-slinging as the three-month campaign wore on.
Last Wednesday, Benny Gantz, leader of the Blue and White party, the Likud’s main rival, accused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of “a hate crime against democracy.”
Netanyahu has accused Gantz, who refused an invitation to debate and has had some rocky appearances, of not being able to stand up to pressure.
He has also suggested Gantz is guilty of corruption in connection to a high-tech cyber security company he led. Israel’s attorney general recently decided to investigate the activities of the now-defunct company, though Gantz is not a suspect in that investigation.
The two large parties have also targeted smaller satellite parties that belong to their larger coalition. In Likud’s case, they have occasionally attempted to shlurp votes from the more right-wing Yemina party, accusing it of being willing to sit with Gantz, an accusation the party has heatedly denied.
In Blue and White’s case, it has targeted the more left-wing votes of the Labor-Gesher-Meretz alignment, provoking the anger of the leaders of that party.
One of the reasons the major parties are after all the votes they can get is that they wish to be the first selected to try and form a government.
Rivlin is the one who will choose which party goes first. Typically, the choice goes to the head of the largest party.
Rivlin’s selection will have up to six weeks to form a coalition. If he fails, another candidate has 28 days to form an alternative coalition. If that effort fails, a fourth election will be held.
Barring a surprise at the polls, in which one or the other side sees an unforeseen surge, another round of elections appears to be the most likely outcome.