Category: Opinion Pieces

* A non-polls related post.

Links to 6 VOI interviews:

1) Panel with Daniel Seaman, Gil Hoffman and Ari Abramowitz (Aug 13): 

Cairo talks collapsing as midnight deadline nears and more.

2) Discussion with Josh Hasten on what is like coming home after 26 days of IDF reserve duty (Aug 13):

3) Discussion with Josh Hasten from reserve duty on feelings of IDF redeployment outside of Gaza (Aug 5):

4) Discussion with Yishai Fleisher from reserve duty on what seems to be end of ground operation (Aug 4):

5) Discussion with Yishai Fleisher from reserve duty on feelings from south (July 22)

6) Undated July interview with Josh Hasten from reserve duty.


Presidential Elections

Israel’s President is elected by the 120 MKs but many polling companies have polled the public’s opinion anyways.

These are the results of the latest Panels Poll:

Reuven Rivlin 35%

Dan Shechtman 30%

Dalia Dorner 9%

Binyamin Ben-Eliezer 5%

Meir Sheetrit 4%

Dalia Itzik 4%

* Nominations:

The largest group was the 49 MKs that didn’t sign for anyone, that included coalition leaders Netanyahu, Lapid, Bennett & Liberman.

Rivlin received 16 signatures: 7 Likud, 5 BY, 2 YA, 1 Shas, 1 UTJ.
Ben-Eliezer’s 13 signatures: All of them from Labor.
Sheetrit’s 11 signatures: Livni 6, 4 YA, 1 Shas.
Itzik’s 11 signatures: 4 Arabs, 2 Meretz, 2 YA, 2 YB, 1 Shas.
Dorner’s 10: 5 YA, 2 Arabs, 2 Meretz, 1 Shas.
Shechtman’s 10: 2 Meretz, 2 YA, 2 BY, Likud 1, Shas 1, Kadima 1, Arabs 1.

KnessetJeremy Take:

* The race in my eyes is who will meet Rivlin in the second round. There have never been six candidates on the ballot before, it is possible that some will drop out. It seem certain that there will be a second round. The new law states that a simple majority of votes will win, previously you needed to go through as many rounds as possible until a candidate won 61 votes.

* I’ll note that most MKs don’t take Shechtman or Dorner seriously, in order to obtain the 10 signatures necessary to make the ballot they had MKs who are supporting other candidates sign their registration forms. If they remain in the race they will receive single digits.

* I think it is too early to determine who will end up going head-to-head with Rivlin. It will be either Ben-Eliezer, Sheetrit or Itzik.

Many people think it will be Ben-Eliezer, but I don’t see anti-Rivlin YB or YA MKs voting for him, he couldn’t even get 1 signature from any other non-Labor opposition MK.

Others think it will be Itzick, but the only way she got on the ballot was with the support of 4 Arab MKs, not exactly the largest Knesset power base.

The key will be the 19 Yesh Atid MKs. In the nomination process they gave their signatures for 5 candidates (Rivlin, Shitrit, Itzick, Schectman, Dorner). No YA MK signed for Fuad. Lapid didn’t sign for anyone.

Jeremy Saltan on Galay Yisrael Radio: Breakdown of Peace Talks and Racism near Jerusalem in Mevasseret Tzion.



Knesset insider Jeremy Man Saltan discusses the breakdown of negotiations between Israel and Arab leadership and the root causes behind the end of the negotiations. He moves on to talk about how American Secretary of State John Kerry’s idea of ending the conflict in nine months has been an absolute failure and ends with a discussion about how racist Purim costumes near Jerusalem in Mevasseret Tzion, have caused the issue of racism to be brought to the forefront.

Galay Yisrael Radio Interview from last night:

Knesset insider Jeremy Man talks about the three main bills that were presented in the Knesset right before the begin of their recess. Listen as Yishai and Man Saltan discuss the specifics of these bills and how everything shook out after votes in the Knesset. Additionally, some notes on housing.

Do you want to learn more about each of the Big 3?

Two-part KnessetJeremy FM interview on Big 3 (Electoral Reform, Shaked, National Referendum) Bills.

Part 1 (from 4:30 on):
Part 2 (from 4:25 on)

Interview aired on Galey Yisrael on Tuesday March 11 2014.
The interview was conducted the day before.

The Shaked Bill is really two bills in one.
Both of the bills are very long, here is a quick summary of major points.
The National Service Bill 

Three different types of National Service:

Civilian-Security-Service (police, prison service, firefighting, protecting witnesses, green & beach police, magen david adom/ambulances, zaka, hatzala, other lifesaving organizations). 36 hours a week for two years.

Civilian-Social-Service (health, welfare, education, environment, absorbing immigration, assisting senior citizens, road safety, government hasbara, national archives work, overseas government work). Choice between 20 hours a week for three years or 30 hours a week for two years, either way it will be a 5-day work-week. 20 paid vacation days a year and 20 paid sick days a year.

Civilian-National Service (the type that we are familiar with today).

Amendment to the Security Service Bill


* Men service goes down from 36 to 32 months (2 years 8 months).
* Learning Torah will be recognized as a service to the State of Israel.


  • Hesder track will now serve a minimum of 17 months (1 year 5 months)
  • Shiluv, Mechina and other program track adjustments and additions.
  • Non-Hesder/Shiluv/Mechina Zionist Yeshiva deferments until age 23 or 26, depending on criteria.
  • Zionist Yeshiva students required to learn Torah 40-45 hours a week depending on criteria and not allowed to work.
  • Criteria to be included in law.
  • Reports Zionist Yeshivas must submit to government.


  • Becomes law on March 20 2014.
  • Adjustment period for Haredim ends July 1st 2017.
  • Defense Minister can allow each Haredi in age brackets 18-21 to defer their army service for up to 12 months each year.
  • Defense Minister can grant each Haredi at age 22 a two-year deferment until age 24 or two one-year deferments depending on criteria.
  • Defense Minister can allow each Haredi aged 24 and older to enter workforce.
  • After age 21 the various national service tracks can be opened up depending on criteria.
  • Haredim aged 24 and older can enter employment tracks.
  • Haredim can receive up to 15 hours of employment training a week.
  • A lot of executive power and room given to Minister of the Economy to integrate Haredim into workforce.
  • Defense Minister can release 26 year old Haredim from service if the Haredim meet their target goals after the five year adjustment period.
  • Even if Haredim don’t meet target goals, Haredim under 21 will be able to defer service until 21.
  • Each year 1,800 additional Haredim will be exempt from serving in military or national service.
  • Yeshiva students required to learn Torah 40-45 hours a week depending on criteria and not allowed to work.
  • Haredi Yeshiva students aged 22 and older who are married are allowed to work but still must put in the 40-45 hours learning.
  • Criteria for who is on list of Haredi Yeshiviot.
  • Government reports to Knesset on implementation of the law.
  • Criteria for hiring supervisors for this law.
  • There will be target numbers for military, and different target numbers for national
  • Bottom Line: The bill really gives the Defense Minister a lot of power on how it will be implemented.

The Basic Law: National Referendum will be the third of the big three to be voted on this week.

It has the least objections and requests for MK speeches.
Unlike the other two bills, this bill has no coalition objections.
The opposition decided to focus most of their efforts on the other two bills.
The bill is meant to prevent Israel from giving up her sovereign territory.

  • The National Referendum Bill will be a special election day to decide if to approve or repeal a Knesset decision to give up land that is currently under Israeli law. That applies to all of pre-1967 Israel and post-1967 areas that have been annexed such as the Golan Heights and Eastern Jerusalem.
  • The National Referendum is only implemented if the Knesset approves a decision to give up land that is currently under Israeli law. That decision is then put on hold until the results of the National Referendum.
  • 80 MKs can vote to decide against going to a National Referendum.
  • All Israeli Citizens 18 and up can vote, all other election laws apply.
  • Because it is a Basic Law it is illegal to bypass this law by a temporary measure, executive order, emergency provision, etc.
  • To change any aspect of this law or to add an amendment you must do so through an additional Basic Law, meaning a minimum of 61 MKs.

The first of the the three bills up this week for a vote is the Electoral Reform Bill.

The proposed law includes changes to Basic Laws which require 61 MKs to approve.

This bill is a merger of two bills that will change the executive and legislative branches of government, the third branch (Judicial) will not be touched.

Here are some of the main changes that you will find in the Electoral Reform Bill.

* There are many “objections” from both the coalition and opposition that if passed would change the bill.

  • Raising electoral threshold from 2% to 3.25% (4 seats).
  • Outlawing Ministers without portfolio.
  • The maximum number of Ministers including the Prime Minister will be 19.
  • After the government is formed, additional ministers can be appointed with 70 MKs approving.
  • Deputy Ministers will be limited to four.
  • If 61 MKs request a no-confidence motion it must be voted on within a week.
  • Changing the structure and importance of no-confidence motions in various ways including forcing opposition to display a list of ministers and guidelines for an alternative government.
  • Six changes to the Party Funding Law, including allowing a single MK to break off if his party merges with another party and allowing two parties that ran on a joint faction to split right after elections without any penalties.
  • The “Mofaz Law” allowing 7 MKs of a large party to break off is abolished.
  • Publication of government expenses on the internet in a budget year where no budget was passed.
  • Increasing time a new government has to submit a budget to the Knesset after an election to 100 days.
  • Lowering the number of items that need to be published in the official Government Gazette


* I was going to present all speeches on the bill. Due to the opposition MKs decision not to discuss the proposed law from the Knesset podium and the coalition MKs speeches that did not actually discuss the bill – I decided against it.

The three most important bills of the 19th Knesset are expected to come up for their third readings this month, before Knesset goes on recess March 19th. The National Referendum Bill, The Haredi Draft Bill and The Electoral Reform Bill are expected to all pass. Each one of these bills will have a big impact on the country. What is in each bill, what is not in each bill? KnessetJeremy is planning to return to its 18th-Knesset format and give you a summary of each MKs speech in the plenum. It should be a lot of fun.



* Negotiations Deadline with Palestinians is April 29. Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah) is April 28. It should lead to interesting speeches. Although, Knesset will be on recess.

* The current Knesset winter session will end on March 23rd 2014. March 23rd is a Sunday, so Wednesday March 19 will most likely be the last Knesset plenum day of the session. High profile bills such as the National Referendum, Electoral Reform and Haredi Draft Bills are expected to be passed in their third readings before the session ends.

* The Knesset’s summer session will start on May 11th 2014 and end on August 3rd 2014. The following winter session would start on October 26th 2014.

* I’m looking forward to more polling. Nothing to report right now. There has been some talk in polling company circles about polling a Kachalon party. I have not heard anyone talk about polling a new Shimon Peres party.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,703 other followers