Jun 2, 2021

tidbits on the presidential elections

Yitzchak Herzog won the presidency with overwhelming support among the Knesset members. Herzog has been campaigning for years for this position, so he had a  massive head-start, with many political deals and arrangements over the years, giving Miriam Peretz not much of a chance. He handily defeated her, winning 87 of the 120 votes.

As I said, I thought both candidates seemed worthy, and the office of the presidency is mostly a waste anyway, so while it would have been nice to have Miriam Peretz in the office, I don't see this as a loss or disappointment. With two worthy candidates, Israel will have been fine no matter who won.

Interestingly, all polls of the people of Israel showed a strong preference for Miriam Peretz to serve as the next President. She comes from the religious and right wing side of Israel, with so much of the population having connected with her personal story and holding a strong admiration of her faith and dedication to the State. Yet the Knesset vote voted strongly in favor of Yitzchak Herzog.

While the MKs like to say they are the vote of the people and express what the people want, the gap between what the people clearly wanted here and what the Knesset decided clearly shows that the Knesset is not a representative body - the people vote for Knesset and then the Knesset does what it wants, at most saying what we decide is what our people want.

Some interesting points:
The Likud, or the entire Right wing of Israeli politics, unusually did not field a candidate. Peretz ran as an independent candidate, and Herzog comes from the left having served in and even led the Labor party. That means at least most of the right wing MKs supported the left wing candidate for President.

That also means that the religious and Haredi MKs, at least mostly, supported the secular left wing Herzog over the religious right wing Peretz. In their defense, Herzog is known to be somewhat traditional, not completely secular, and he has a religious family background and he is well connected with the rabbinic and religious world even though he is not part of it himself. 

Party politics leads the way and it seems there is just no room for an independent, popular as he or she may be. Herzog has been, as any aspiring politician would have been, making deals for support for many years already, and Peretz had no way to catch up in such a short period of time (maybe not even if she had a lot of time).

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  1. https://shilohmusings.blogspot.com/2021/06/why-isaac-herzog-is-now-president-of.html
    My read on the situation there.

  2. I wonder if some of the Haredi politicians (or from the RZ party) did not vote for Perez as they did not want a woman president, even if they were more aligned with her politics and view of religion

    1. if they didnt, it is not because of that. they had a prior relationship with Herzog. MThey said in advance that they would likely vote for Herzog


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