Friday, September 11, 2020

Eye on Israel (and other updates)

 First, the updates. The new CDP in Japan will only officially be merged on the 15th, not yesterday, as I reported. I'm chalking this up to translation, as, there is little english info on the merger. Also, I'll be making a post about New Brunswick tomorrow morning. 

Today, however, I quickly wanted to mention some things I'm seeing in Israel. As many of you may already know, Israel has established relations with the UAE, and now, Bahrain. What's been catching my eye, however, are the polls.

There have been 3 polls this month, averaging them, we get the following:

31 - Likud
20 - Yamina
15 - Joint List
15 - Yesh Atid
11 - Hosen / Blue and White
8 - Shas
7 - UTJ
7 - Yisrael Beiteinu 
6 - Meretz

What's interesting is that a right-wing coalition of Likud, Yamina, Shas, and UTJ would easily have 66 seats and a majority. 

More interesting is why that is.

Bibi has, at least to me, seemed to have been moving to the right over the years. It turns out, I am not the only one who perceives this. Naftali Bennett, leader of Yamina, has noticed this too. He's taken his party, which currently has 5 seats, to 20 seats in the polls, in large part, by moving it closer to the centre. He is still right-wing, of course, but he is now able to fit in in a more pragmatic place then Bibi.

I've mentioned before that Gantz's hope is to "take over" the gigantic core of small c-conservative votes that Bibi currently has a lock on. Gantz would love it if the Likud-Hosen coalition were to continue after Bibi steps down, and that Gantz would simply, effectively, become leader of Likud. Bennett essentially wants the same. This contrasts with Lapid's plan to take the place as Prime Minister by being progressive and growing the anti-conservative vote. 

Right now, Bennett is doing an excellent job. Covid may be a huge reason why. Israel is  country of 9.2M people, according to estimates based on official census figures. Israel has 148,000 covid cases as of today. This compares with 135,000 for Canada, a nation of ~35M, and 284,000 in Italy, a nation of ~60M. According to this website, which, from what I can tell, constantly has data that closely mirrors official government numbers, Israel has 16K cases per 1M people, making it the 16th most covid-infected per-capita on the planet, behind the USA (20K), and Brazil (20K), but ahead of France (5.5K), the UK (5.3K), and Canada (3.6K). The Deaths-per-Capita figures are more generous, indicating that perhaps Israel is simply testing many people, with at rate of 119 per million, contrasted with 117.8 for the world as an average, behind 242 for Canada, 595 for the USA, 612 for the UK, and 1,237 for San Marino, but ahead of Germany at 112, India at 56, and New Zealand at 5. 

The "TLDR" is in the Bennett vs Gantz battle to be the next PM, Bennett is winning, but that Bibi still has an edge on both, for now. 

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