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Notes on the Israeli elections Notes on the Israeli elections
by Joseph Gatt
2019-02-16 10:28:36
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Notes on the upcoming Israeli elections, in no particular order.

-Orthodox Jews are going to vote for the religious parties, modern Orthodox Jews for Naphtali Bennett, middle class secular Jews for Benny Gantz or Yair Lapid, retired Sabras are going to vote for Avi Gabbay, and working class secular Jews are going to vote for Netanyahu. Recent North American and French Olim are also going to vote for Netanyahu along with some conservative Middle Eastern Jews, and most Arabs will vote for the Arab parties. The Druze and Christian Israelis are probably going to split their votes between Gabbay and the Arab parties.

isr001_400_01-Regarding this working class demographic, you need to understand how it has evolved in recent years. 10 years ago the working class demographic spent the day at work, and would come home to some dull show on television, watch a bunch of kids goofing around on TV. Or they would watch the soccer game if there was a soccer game. But since around 2010, when smartphones were no longer a luxury, the working class has ditched slapstick comedy and high stakes football and basketball games for content which is a lot more graphic. I hang out with the working class a lot, and they like to show me videos of MMA cage fights, people cursing at each other, people throwing things at each other. That's blue collar TV.

-What explains Donald Trump's election in the United States is this trend from blue collar workers to watch media content which is a lot more raw and explicit in nature. When Donald Trump puts up a show on television, it reminds blue collar workers of those MMA fights where no punch or kick is off limits. Trump put on a show where nothing was off limits and won.

-The rising middle class in Israel has massively endorsed Benny Gantz. Benny Gantz is a lot more of middle class white collar TV type of guy, say the white collar sit-com or drama type of guy. Now the blue collar crowd in Israel has not seen punches being thrown yet, and the media is acting like Bibi Netanyahu might eventually lose the race, either by being ditched by his own party if indicted in cases 1000, 2000 and 4000, or simply beaten fair and square by Benny Gantz.

-Bibi Netanyahu had thrown his load of punches in the past, but so far has drawn this campaign on the quality of past results. The blue collar folk don't look at the quality of past results or security issues, they want to see their load of free kicks and punches thrown in the air, in fights where no rules apply. Benny Gantz may be a skilled military strategist, to me Gantz comes off as a sit-com daddy who would not tolerate his kids being mean to other kids, and the punches would take him by surprise. That's the price you pay when you have no experience in politics.

-I feel a little sad that the Likud seems to be heading to the closet to reach for the gloves to pick up a fair fight, when they should be in the ring hitting punches, with no gloves on. That's what gets to blue collar crowd cheering.

-There are two months left until Israelis head to the polls. My predictions: if the campaign is run like a white collar family sit-com, Gantz is going to be our prime minister and we'll have to work with him. If the campaign turns into a blue collar cage fight, Bibi will probably be our next prime minister. 

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