How a rule change helped Netanyahu win the Israeli election

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Jerusalem and London

Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu’s victory in last week’s Israeli election is due in part to a change in election rules pushed by political opponents who are now closing in on him, a CNN analysis of the Nov. 1 results shows.

Netanyahu and his allies will have a small but clear majority of seats in parliament, the Knesset, but they won the vote by a narrow margin.

One reason why the Knesset majority is greater than its popular vote victory is that each of the three exiting Knesset parties won less than 3.25% of the popular vote; therefore they do not get a seat in the new parliament.

The irony of the situation is that it was Avigdor Liberman of the Yisrael Beiteinu party and Yair Lapid of Yesh Atid who pushed for the threshold to be raised from 2% to 3.25% in 2014, Netanyahu’s political allies and when they were in government with him.

In part because of the rule change they wanted, they are now part of the outgoing coalition that defeated him. The Lapid-Liberman coalition would have won seats if the threshold had been 2%.

Another reason Netanyahu won decisively is that two small parties in the anti-Netanyahu camp did not join the larger parties, a leading Israeli pollster said.

If the left-wing Meretz party had submitted together with Labour, and if the Arab party Balad had not split from the United List party that was presented last time, Tuesday’s election would have resulted in a 60-60 deadlock for Camil Fuchs. , a leading Israeli pollster, told CNN on Monday.

Both parties did not pass the threshold: Meretz got 3.2% of the votes and Balad 2.9%. Together they got less than 300,000 votes.

All votes from those parties were effectively rejected.

The popular vote was very close.

If all the votes of the exiting Knesset parties are counted, Netanyahu and his allies have a lead of less than 40,000 votes over their opponents, out of more than 4.7 million votes cast.

In the November 1 elections, 40 parties were presented, of which 13 obtained more than 0.5% of the votes.

Five of those 13 – Likud, Religious Zionism/Jewish Power, Shas, United Torah Judaism and Jewish Home – are on Netanyahu’s side of Israel’s political division. Together, they obtained 49.6% of the public vote, according to the latest results of the Central Electoral Commission: about 2.36 million votes.

The other eight are anti-Netanyahu and got 48.9% of the popular vote, which is about 2.33 million votes, a difference of 0.7 percentage points, or just over 30,000 votes.

The exact number of votes for each party will be verified on November 9.

But the electoral threshold rule favored Netanyahu. One of the parties supporting him, Jewish Home, did not get more than 3.25% of the total vote; They got 1.2%, or 56,760 votes – and under the old 2% rule they would have been kicked out of the Knesset anyway.

The threshold has been decisive in at least one previous election. Labor leader Yitzhak Rabin became prime minister in 1992 even though the left lost the popular vote; no right-wing party passed the threshold, which was then 1.5%.

Iranian lawmakers sent a letter to the country’s leader on Sunday calling for harsh punishment for those found guilty of taking part in the protests, according to state-run Press TV.

227 of Iran’s 290 members of parliament signed the letter, which compared some of the protesters to ISIS militants.

The MPs’ letter also reiterated the government’s claims that the ongoing protests were fueled by the United States and other enemies of Iran. Iran has provided no evidence to support claims of foreign involvement in the protest movement.

Here’s the latest one:

  • Video posted on social media showed Iranian beach soccer player Saeid Piramoon celebrating after scoring a goal against Brazil by mimicking a haircut in a symbolic move, apparently in support of the protesters.
  • Iranian woman Nasrin Qadri died in Tehran on Saturday after being “severely injured” by Iranian security forces in blows to the head, according to the Kurdish human rights group Hengaw and activist IranWire. Nasrin’s father said in an on-camera statement broadcast on state television that his daughter had died of the flu.
  • When asked about the situation in Iran, Pope Francis did not specifically address it, but said that a society that does not value women’s equality is one that will not progress.

British PM to raise issue of jailed British-Egyptian writer with Egyptian leader on COP27 trip

UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has written to the sister of British-Egyptian writer and activist Alaa Abdel-Fattah, who is imprisoned in Cairo, saying he is “deeply committed” to solving her brother’s case. In a letter to Abdel-Fattah’s sister, which his family shared with CNN, Sunak said he was “deeply concerned” to learn of the writer’s “deteriorating health”, adding that his case “remains a priority for the British government”.

  • Background: Abdel-Fattah is a key activist in the country’s 2011 uprising who has been imprisoned for nine years. Last December 2021, he was sentenced to five years for spreading fake news.
  • Why it matters: Abdel-Fattah stepped up his more than 200-day hunger strike by stopping drinking water on Sunday, his sister, activist Sanaa Seif, tweeted. In a letter written to Sunak and shared with CNN, Seif said: “It is my honest belief that if Alaa is not released in the coming days he will personally be killed, probably while you are in Egypt.” A UK Foreign Office spokesperson told CNN the government is working hard to secure Abdel-Fattah’s release.

Iran acknowledges drone shipments to Russia ‘before war’; Kiev says Tehran is lying

Iran admitted for the first time on Saturday that it had supplied Moscow with drones, but said they had been sent before the war in Ukraine. Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said a “small number” of drones had been sent months before Russia’s February invasion. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Tehran of lying.

  • Background: In recent weeks Ukraine has reported an increase in drone attacks against civilian infrastructure, mainly targeting power plants and dams, using Iranian-made drones. Russia denies that its forces used Iranian drones to attack Ukraine. “Every day we shoot down at least ten Iranian drones, and the Iranian regime claims that it delivered little and even before the start of a full-scale invasion,” Zelensky said.
  • Why it matters: The European Union last month approved new sanctions on Iran over drone shipments, while Britain imposed sanctions on three Iranian military and defense manufacturers. Amirabdollahian reiterated that Tehran “will not remain indifferent” if it is proven that Russia used Iranian drones against Ukraine.

Move Sweden away from Kurdish groups in hopes of joining NATO

Sweden’s new government will distance itself from the YPG, a Kurdish militia, as it tries to get Turkey to join NATO, Reuters quoted Sweden’s foreign minister as telling Swedish Radio on Saturday.

  • Background: Turkey considers the YPG militia in Syrian Kurdistan and its political wing the PYD to be an extension of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which launched an insurgency against Turkey in 1980 and is considered a terrorist group by Turkey, the US and the European Union. . Sweden, along with the US and several other NATO countries, has supported the YPG in the fight against ISIS.
  • Why it matters: Turkey has vowed to block Sweden’s bid to join NATO unless it stops supporting the militia group. Sweden’s move comes just days before Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson travels to Ankara to try to persuade Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan to let Sweden join the military alliance. Sweden and Finland applied to join NATO earlier this year following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Toomaj Salehi, an Iranian rapper who has used his politically charged lyrics to call for protests, was arrested by the Islamic Republic and charged with crimes punishable by death. Underground artists had been rebelling against the regime for years.

CNN’s Jomana Karadsheh tells her story here:

Long before world leaders began arriving in Egypt’s Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh for the COP27 climate summit, Australian activist Mike Smith had been working on the banks of the country’s Nile River, collecting used plastic bottles.

His mission resulted in the creation of a large three-story pyramid made of nearly a million plastic bottles that was put on display in Egypt’s Giza Plateau just days before the summit.

“It’s a bold project we’re embarking on with the goal of cleaning up the planet every year for the next 100 years,” Smith told the Australian Associated Press. “The goal is to be able to remove 15 million worth of water bottles from the natural environment every year, all over the world.”

Campaigns to reduce the proliferation of single-use plastics have been carried out for years with projects that attract the attention of entrepreneurs.

Last year, he used it his startup, Zero Co Encourage Australian households to eliminate single-use plastics from their homes. And in 2020, he reportedly went snorkeling with more than 3,000 plastic bottles strapped to his back to raise awareness of the serious consequences of ocean pollution.

As world leaders arrive in Egypt for the start of this year’s climate summit, Smith told The Associated Press in Australia that he will be sleeping in a small tent on top of his pyramid of plastic bottles.

COP27 will run from Sunday to November 18.

Author: Nadeen Ebrahim