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March 19, 2015 5:13 pm

In Jerusalem, Security-Focused Netanyahu Supporters Soak in Dramatic Win

avatar by Deborah Fineblum / JNS.org

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visits the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City on March 18, a day after the Israeli election. Photo: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90.

JNS.org – “Fantastic! Thank God! Bibi’s the best we’ve got. Now I hope he gets to work with a great team,” says Sonia Walters of Jerusalem, describing how she felt Wednesday after seeing that morning’s official Israeli election results, in which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party won 30 Knesset seats to the Isaac Herzog-led Zionist Union’s 24 seats.

On Wednesday afternoon in Jerusalem, JNS.org caught up with Walters and a number of other Israelis who were fresh off casting a ballot the day before. Given that in the city of Jerusalem, the gap between Likud (24 percent of the vote) and Zionist Union (10 percent) was even more pronounced than the disparity between those parties in the rest of the country, it wasn’t surprising to see voters in the Israeli capital’s Old City celebrate the way Walters did.

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Down at the Western Wall, tourists and citizens alike waited good-naturedly to catch a glimpse of the prime minister himself, who was scheduled to make a post-election visit to the holy site. After Likud defied pre-election polls in which the party trailed the socioeconomically focused Zionist Union, security was at the forefront of Netanyahu supporters’ minds after their candidate’s decisive comeback victory.

“Zeh Bibi!” exclaims Aaron Selam, meaning “That’s Bibi!” in Hebrew. Selam, who mans a table selling yarmulkes on the landing overlooking the Western Wall courtyard, says, “Bitachon (security) is the most important thing. We know he won’t give away our land.”

“Sweet Bibi!” says a clearly delighted Sarah Eliav. “With him you get security and a good economy. He is the prime minister, with honor.”

Voting is just one way that Yarden Jira of Tel Aviv invests in her country. “I voted for Bibi because I have confidence in him,” says 21-year-old Israel Defense Forces soldier, who was visiting the Western Wall with her fellows. “I believe he will make the right decisions.”

Spending three years in the Israeli army has a way of changing one’s views, says 27-year-old Roy Levi of Jerusalem. “After fighting in the second Lebanese war, I stopped thinking of us as left and right but just Israelis, I fought for this country alongside soldiers all beliefs and I learned that we are all brothers,” Levi says.

But cross the patio from the ancient stones of the Old City and go down 23 stone steps to Mamilla Mall, where Cyndi Lauper classics waft into the various stores, and you’ll hear a somewhat different reaction to the election. “Chetzi chetzi (half and half)” is the way 33-year-old Anat Kaufman describes her reaction to the results. “It seems like the right’s side is up now. But we don’t know what is coming next,” she says.

For Jonathan Levinstein of Tel Aviv, Kulanu party leader Moshe Kahlon “was the lesser of the evils.” His reasoning: “Security-wise the candidates were all saying pretty much the same thing. So I wanted to pick someone who would pay attention to the economy.” Levinstein’s hope is that Kahlon, whose party won 10 Knesset seats, will emerge as the new government’s Minister of Finance.

Twenty-seven-year-old Anna Brockport of Jerusalem, who voted for the far-left Meretz, says, “I’m super super disappointed. They stand for peace and better relations with the world community. But now it’s back to business as usual.”

Yahly Kahanoff, a seventh-generation Israeli who voted for Zionist Union, says he fears the new government will refuse to tackle the problem of 4 million Arabs living on Israeli land. “I’m not concerned about security,” he says. “But Netanyahu ran a campaign on fear of Iran and the Arabs, and it worked.”

Yet Likud’s victory likely shows that security was a chief concern concern in the ballot box.

“Security, obviously,” says Michael Hessler on his way out of ulpan (Hebrew-language immersion) class in Maale Adumim on Tuesday, when asked for the issue he prioritized as a voter. Six years after making aliyah from Cleveland, Hessler says he believes the “real issue” is the danger of “giving away Israeli land.”

Like Levinstein, Hessler is excited that the new coalition could include Kahlon.

“It’s the best possible combination: Bibi on top of security and, in the new coalition, having greater freedom to negotiate from strength with the U.S. and others. And Kahlon, who’s already known as a monopoly buster, making great strides in affordability issues, particularly housing. I expect him to be given free reign to build our economy and help young people be able to afford to get ahead,” says Hessler.

Reuven Katz, who made aliyah from California 19 years ago, says he never felt his vote in the U.S. packed the wallop it does in Israel.

“Here, it’s such a small country that I feel my vote really counts,” Katz says at the top of the stairs leading to the Western Wall. “I certainly never felt that way in the States. And, with so much at stake here now, I think that with each vote we are able to create change.”

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  • Shalom. The Best man Won.
    I Will be praying for him a
    for Israel.Sonia
    Puerto Rico

  • Ben Lopez

    God bless bibi!for ever and ever!

  • 10

    ISRAEL BEING CLEANED UP AND GOD POWERS WILL LEAD THE WAY THE MIDDLE EAST WILL BE DONE. THE WORLD IS INVOLVED WITH ISRAEL WHICH NO COUNTRY CAN CLAIM THE INDIGNITY. THE WORLD BENEFITS BY ISRAEL RECOVERING ALL . SO WHAT ARE YOU DOING LETTING YOUR PEOPLE REVERSE IT IN THE NEWS CONFUSING PEOPLE LIKE THE ARABS. THE ARABS ARE NOT ALLOWED TO USE GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS TO WRITE UP THEIR STORIES. OLD PHOTOS USED AS IF WE NEED THE CORRUPTED GOVERNMENT TO LEAD US. THE CHOSEN WILL CHANGE THE WORLD FOR YOU. THE ARABS PROVED WHAT THEY CANNOT DO. UNITED STATES THE COUNTRIES ARE ON YOUR SIDE WITH ISRAEL.

  • theo

    Savour the triumph ,Israel !
    Do not be diverted on your path by petty minds, both local and overseas
    You have asserted your preferences and they are entirely valid Your destiny is in your hands exclusively and not in that of foreign presidents and leaders
    Only Israel bears the consequences of what happens to our people and land Others who criticize, will scuttle and desert when danger threatens
    Fortitude and courage with the blessings of Heaven will to Israel and its gallant people

  • Louis Hayden

    Mr. Netanyahu’s statement of “No Palestinian state on my watch” should be seen as the beginning of Israel’s worldwide civil rights fight to be accepted and allowed to join the nations of earth as legitimate peoples.

    Just as Black American Rosa parks, refused in 1955 to give up her seat and go to back of the Bus; So Mr. Netanyahu’s speech to American people and world rulers be seen as Israel’s refusal to be dictated to give up their own Holy Land, won back fair and square in battle from enemies determined to exterminate them like ants.

    Let Mr. Netanyahu’s statement of “No PALESTINIAN STATE ON MY WATCH” BECOME part of the lexicon of famous sayings that changed course of world history such as when Dave Farragut spoke the famous saying:”Dam the torpedoes, full speed ahead.”

    The hour has arrived after thousands of years of wandering, that Jews demand to be treated equally amongst all mankind. Demand that the days of pogroms are over. – There are no new lands to run to for safety.
    Of all world leaders, Barak Hussein Obama, a black man, well versed in history and treatment of blacks, should be ashamed of himself for not having been the first wishing Mr. Netanyahu a great Mazol Tov – -Instead of standing beside him to defend Israel, he stands with and openly embraces world terrorists and those that desire extermination of Jews.

    This election was on spiritual and physical dimensions. This was the first international election in human history. Mr. Netanyahu’s speech to congress was a true warning to American people and the “kings” of all the nations that war is just ahead and catastrophic events involving all mankind on horizon.

    Every Muslim, Christian, and Jew in the planet following the election was either cheering for Mr. Netanyahu’s re-election or praying the opposition parties that wanted to divide the Holy Land would get elected; knowing full well a partitioned Israel with 1949 borders would be destroyed just as Czechoslovakia was swallowed by Hitler – and millions of Jews killed.

    In their minds their “spiritual” votes were cast: rejecting God and very existence of Israel.
    I compare it to Moses speaking and warning Israelites during Exodus. Today’s modern Israelites answered with a resounding voice: yes we still believe in God and HIS promises AND DO NOT WANT OUR LAND DIVIDED. MAY MR. NETANYAHU REAFIRM HIS PROMISE!!!

    When all the chaff and dust is blown away, This election boiled down to a worldwide referendum as to whether mankind accepts or rejects the Word of God as written in the Judeo-Christian bibles – accepts the fact that just as GOD dispersed the Jewish peoples and Temple destroyed for disobedience and unbelief – so in the last days – would re-gather the Jewish people and nation of Israel would be reborn AND THE JEWISH PEOPLE FORGIVEN FOR THEIR PAST SINS. – That the Jews would be back in their original homeland and people living at time of Israel’s rebirth in 1948 and Jerusalem return to their possession (1967) would see all prophecy fulfilled.

    I am sure the millions of those spiritual votes were tallied in heaven and mankind judged and found guilty with God’s wrath about to be poured out. We have run out of time. Israeli people voted they do not want to divide the land and Mr. Netanyahu has promised “no Palestinian state on his watch.” – HE SHOULD HONOR IT AND RE-AFIRM IT!
    Israel’s belligerent neighbors, clearly listed in Psalm 83, listened also and are probably about to strike but GOD will personally deal with them.

  • 10

    THE COST IS A DOMINO EFFECT WITH ALL OF US. ONCE YOUR NOT SATISFIED IN A HOME PRICED ITS GOES OUT THE DOOR TO YOUR BOSS THEN HE PASSES IT ON THE COST TO THE CUSTOMERS. HOW MUCH YOU BUY FOR YOU HAVE TO ARRANGE IN LEASE PASSING IT ON THE COST AGAIN. STANDARD OF LIVING AND INCOME WILL MEET.

  • Max Cohen

    Congratulations Israel on the election results! National security should be every Israeli’s prime objective, even for the fans of Karl Marx who still believe that central control of society will eventually produce a Utopia of greedless bureaucrats and workers. This is the Leftist delusion and no amount of failure can awaken them.
    On the subject of SECURITY,considering the threatening state of the times, I am uncomfortable with the Prime Minister giving advance notice of public appearances in unsecured places.

  • 10

    ISRAEL THE DEVELOPERS TO CONSIDER A REASONABLE COST PROFIT BEFORE STARTING A NEW DEVELOPMENT. IT NOT A HIGHEST PRICE TURN AROUND INVESTOR WHEN HAPPINESS AND FINANCIAL COMFORT STARTS IN A HOME.

  • 10

    ITS PROGRAMMED ONCE YOU WRITE IT IN THE NEWS ITS BROUGHT TO THE ATTENTION FOR OTHERS TO GET INVOLVED WHY YOU SEE IT DAILY. ARABS ARE MONITORING THE NEWS TO KEEP IT GOING FOT THE PALESTINIANS. THE PA WITH THE TWO ON GOING IDEA WITH THE HEAVY NEGATIVE OUTBURST THREATS DONE BY PHOTOS TO PRESSURE. NOT TO HAVE IT IN THE NEWS AT ALL AND KEEP IT THAT WAY IT WILL GO AWAY.

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