Israel’s March Elections to Decide Deal of the Century

  • Trump revealed his Deal of the Century to the world on Tuesday.
  • Gantz was more receptive to the Deal of the Century than Netanyahu.
  • Netanyahu has officially been indicted on crimes and may have to step down.

President Trump on Sunday met with the two leaders of the State of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu and Benny Gantz. They came to Washington to hear U.S. President Donald Trump’s speech about the Deal of the Century for Middle East peace. Netanyahu leads the Likud, the center-right political party in Israel, and Gantz represents Blue and White, the center-left alliance.

President Trump meets opposition leader Benny Gantz in the White House.

Israel is a multiparty democracy, with a right-wing bloc and left-wing bloc on both sides. These parties receive mandates in Israeli elections independent of Likud of Blue and White. In the last two elections, Likud and Blue and White each received about 35 mandates, more than enough to form a government together. No party alone can win a majority, and neither could agree on a national unity government, with Gantz and Netanyahu sharing the Prime Minister position.

One of the obstacles to forming a national unity government is that Netanyahu is in the middle of indictment proceedings. There may be questions that, if convicted, he will have to give over his leadership to another member of Likud. The second in command in Likud is Gideon Sa’ar. In primary elections, Netanyahu received over 70% support from members of Likud over Sa’ar.

Although Blue and White is a centrist party, it needs the support of the more liberal parties to make a strong government. These parties are anti-religious. Even within Blue and White, there is strong anti-religious sentiment. Netanyahu, meanwhile, has been supported by the religious parties, which are stronger and have more mandates than the liberal left parties behind Gantz. This does not count the United Arab List. Likud and the religious parties were a bloc, which ruled the nation in the last government until last year.

President Trump had been waiting for Israel to finish forming a government before revealing his Middle East peace plan, called the Deal of the Century. Two attempts to form a government after two elections failed last year, and another election is scheduled for March. The son-in-law of President Trump, Jared Kushner, organized an economic meeting in Bahrain last June in preparation for revealing the Deal of the Century. Many Arab states attended the forum. The Palestinians refused to attend, and Israel was not invited. This was President Trump’s first attempt to present a peace plan.

President Trump revealed his peace plan on Tuesday. He says his plan will make a lot of sense for everybody. Gantz and Netanyahu, invited to the White House, met with the President, and were the first to be introduced to the deal. The peace plan presented by Trump to Gantz and Netanyahu is for a two-state solution. Netanyahu and Gantz met with President Trump separately. Gantz accepted the peace plan and said that he intends to implement it immediately after elections. Gantz thanked Trump for his support of Israel especially against Iran.

The Palestinians fear the plan will dash their hopes for an independent state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem. Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority, announced he would reject the plan, and has called for popular action to prevent it.

Like the Palestinians, Netanyahu’s supporters in the right-wing parties will not support the Deal of the Century, or Netanyahu if he accepts it. The Zionist national religious leaders are against Trump’s peace plan, and reject a two-state solution, even if it gives security to Israel. According to the Torah, they say, it is forbidden to return any land to people who are not Jewish. They refuse to compromise on issues of religious Zionism. Likud and Netanyahu’s center-right government, however, depends on these extreme-right factions. There are other religious issues which cannot be compromised that are also on the table.

President Trump is like a king with the greatest love for Israel and the Jewish people. If the Jewish people are not united, however, it is not his problem. On the other side, the Palestinians are closed to Israel sovereignty in the land, and have not given up the hope of driving Israel into the sea.

The Oslo Accords were initiated in 1993, similar to the Deal of the Century of today. It received a similar response from Israeli religious Zionists, who assassinated then-Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. The Palestinians took advantage of the power given to them, and many Jewish lives were lost.

One of the main questions is about control of the place of the Temple Mount. All three religions— Christianity, Judaism and Islam— want a part in its holiness. Religious Zionists want it all, and to build again their holy temple in its place. Palestinians want to stay there, and go up on the temple mount for prayers on Fridays, as is their custom. Christians want to be free to visit this holy site.

This problem was solved by the author of the Zohar, which became known eight hundred years ago. The Zohar, which many religious Zionists refuse to accept as Jewish law, recommends that the place called Zion should be cherished by all of mankind, the possession of God alone, and not a specific religion. There were two temples, which were built in this place and destroyed.

The Zohar teaches that the third temple can only be built by God and not man that it should be eternal. The Zohar teaches that it is vanity to fight for its possession, or for the possession of Jerusalem. God is free, and the house of God is a temple for all of the people of the world.

In the deal of the century, President Trump insured all parties— Muslim, Jewish, and Christian— that everyone will have access to these holy sites. Jerusalem and the place of the temple are two separate issues. Trump has accepted Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. President Trump, in his speech, emphasized the desire of America and the world to help the Palestinians within the structure of this two state solution.

Gideon Sa’ar is second on the Likud electoral list. In primary elections, Prime Minister Netanyahu beat Sa’ar with over 70% of the vote.

Gaza, under the control of Hamas and Islamic Jihad, will be disarmed.  The Israeli borders will be strengthened to include the Jordan Valley. Trump promised that not one Jew will be uprooted from his home in the settlements.  However, the deal demands making a Palestinian state in the land of Israel, with East Jerusalem its capital, which the State of Israel will have to eventually surrender its complete control. This means that Israel will no longer possess is entire inheritance the land of Israel, which Zionist fundamentalists oppose. They are willing to fight for the land.

Netanyahu may still have to step down, but is still Prime Minister. Thus, Netanyahu was given the first opportunity to speak after President Trump presented his deal of peace. Benny Gantz watched from the sidelines s Netanyahu addressed the world on behalf of Israel.

There are three opponents to Trump’s peace deal. Arab fundamentalists, some of them aligned with Iran, have not given up on their hope to destroy the democratic, Jewish state. Jewish religious fundamentalists are waiting for the Messiah to build their kingdom, and the holy temple in Jerusalem, and cannot accept any compromise on their messianic desires. Jewish liberals prefer that the State of Israel should become pluralistic, like America, giving Arabs and Israelis equal rights. Among these, they want to remove restrictions regarding marriage, divorce, and other religious issues from Israel.

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David Wexelman

Author of 5 books on the internet on topics of Jewish mysticism, managing two websites.

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