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VOLUME XIII, NUMBER 7

MARCH 26, 2015

News Analysis

Five takeaways from the Israeli election By Uriel Heilman (JTA) – In the United States, the magic number on Election Day is 270, the number of Electoral College votes needed to win the presidency. In Israel, it’s 61, the number of seats needed to capture a majority in the 120-seat Knesset – and with it, the premiership. With Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party at 30 seats, far ahead of Isaac Herzog’s Zionist Union (24 seats), the question now is who will join Netanyahu in the coalition? There are a few things to consider as the next Israeli government takes shape. 1. Netanyahu is in a stronger position than before. The prime minister acquired several advantages in the election. First, he can extend his premiership for another four years, possibly to become Israel’s longest-serving prime minister: David Ben-Gurion served for a total of 13 years; Netanyahu has nine. Second, by soundly defeating Herzog and significantly improving Likud’s position in the Knesset from 18 to 30, Netan-

yahu can claim a fresh mandate. Third, the prime minister can build a more stable coalition than last time. With just the Orthodox and right-wing parties – Jewish Home (8), Shas (7), Yisrael Beiteinu (6) and United Torah Judaism (6) – Netanyahu gets to 57 seats. Kulanu, the center-right party led by ex-Likudnik Moshe Kachlon and the winner of 10 seats, easily could complete the coalition. Netanyahu no longer needs Yesh Atid’s Yair Lapid, with whom friction ultimately prompted the prime minister to dissolve his government and call for new elections. Yesh Atid slipped to 11 seats from 19. 2. The left wing failed to gain ground. Herzog has emerged to become the face of the left, but the left wing isn’t really in a better position than before. The left’s share of Knesset seats remains relatively unchanged – 28 compared to 29 in the current Knesset – but the party labels have changed. Now Zionist Union has 24 seats and Meretz four, whereas before the left wing’s 29 seats were distributed among Labor, Hatnuah, Kadima and Meretz.

If you throw the Joint Arab List (13) in with the left-wingers (Netanyahu does), that brings the left to 41 seats in the new Knesset, up from 40 last time around. 3. The kingmakers will be the centrists. The Knesset’s two centrist parties together won 21 seats on Election Day – 11 for Yesh Atid and 10 for Kulanu. Barring the unlikely event of a unity government, one or both of them will be a must-have to reach the magic number of 61. Given Netanyahu’s problems with Yesh Atid and the composition of Kulanu’s list, Kulanu is the clear favorite. The party boasts a number of veterans of right-wing parties, including Kachlon (ex-Likud), Michael Oren (served as Israel’s ambassador to Washington under Netanyahu)

and Tali Floskob (mayor of Arad and a former Yisrael Beiteinu member). Two deputies to Jerusalem’s right-wing mayor, Nir Barkat, also are on the Kulanu list. The enduring strength of the centrist parties – even though much of it came at Yesh Atid’s expense – also demonstrates the seriousness with which Israeli voters consider the socioeconomic issues that Kulanu and Yesh Atid made the centerpiece of their campaigns. Israeli elections are no longer just about security, particularly at a time when few Israelis see a viable way to overcome the morass with the Palestinians and the threats posed by upheaval in the Arab world. 4. The Arabs are a force to be reckoned See “Election” on page 6

Scranton Hebrew Day School to celebrate 67th anniversary The Scranton Hebrew Day School will celebrate its 67th anniversary on Sunday, May 3, at 3:45 pm, with a reception and ribbon-cutting for the David and Norma Harris Memorial Education Center at the school, 540 Monroe Ave. A gala dinner will follow at 5 pm at the Jewish Community Center honoring Rabbi Yosef and Tziporah Guttman. Longtime parents, the Guttmans have been considered “at the forefront” of all day school activities, “from board membership to dinner chairmen, to any and every project in between.” Celebrating 60 years since their graduation, the Diamond Alumna Award will be presented to Hindy Fink Wolf, daughter of the late Meyer E. and Priscilla Fink; Judy Fink Eiger, daughter of the late Alex and Beatrice Fink; and Shelly Fink Presby, daughter of the late Nathan and Gertrude Fink. Receiving the Pearl Alumnus Award from the Class of 1985 will be Rabbi Ely Karp, son of Rabbi Avrum and Rachel Karp, of Scranton. A special commemorative journal will be distributed. To place an ad or make a reservation for the dinner, call the school at 570-346-1576, ext 2. The ad deadline is Monday, April 20.

David and Norma Harris

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Federation on Facebook

The Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania now has a page on Facebook to let community members know about upcoming events and keep connected.

INSIDE THIS ISSUE Passover

Digital divide

Passover recipes; children’s books; An Israeli start-up hopes USB the holiday conveys message of drives can be used to provide poor unity; matzah bakers; and more. countries with Internet access. Stories on page 4, 5, 7, 8, 11 Story on page 12

News in brief...

Candle lighting March 27...................................... 7:04 pm April 3............................................7:12 pm April 4.................................after 8:14 pm April 9............................................7:18 pm April 10..........................................7:19 pm April 17......................................... 7:27 pm

The U.S. may stop blocking antiPLUS Israel U.N. actions; Stern and Opinion........................................................2 Yeshiva faculties to merge; more. Jewish Community Center News.........6 Stories on page 15 D’var Torah..............................................10

Profile for Becky Schastey

March 26, 2015 Edition of The Reporter  

March 26, 2015 Edition of The Reporter

March 26, 2015 Edition of The Reporter  

March 26, 2015 Edition of The Reporter

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