Historic and Unprecedented Events

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So much is happening in Israel right now this update is needed.

These two events are historic and unprecedented.

Golan:
This week President Trump tweeted that the time has come for US to ‘Fully Recognize’ Israeli sovereignty over Golan Heights.
For 52 years since Israel captured the Golan Heights in the defensive 1967 6 day war the US and the world has refused to recognize Israel’s right to the land it won, but today that is changing. There are bills in the House and the Senate right now supporting this. With the presidents ok, it very well may become a reality now. You will see as we visit the Golan Heights how important it is to Israel. It overlooks the Sea of Galilee. Before 1967 Syria regularly shot at Israel from this positon.

Pompeo visit
US Secretary of State Pompeo Makes Unprecedented Visit to Western Wall in Jerusalem:
No US official has ever visited the Western Wall with the Prime Minister. For political reasons it was always done in an unofficial way. But today the US said the hell with political correctness and worrying about offending every Israel hater and did what was right and visited Israel’s most holy site with the leader of the country.



Elections:
Also, right now Israel is having an election and everything is up for grabs. We will be speaking about the unique Israel political system while on the bus. But for now, in just 70 years close to 200 different political parties have run in the elections (the US has basically 2), 110 of those have won enough votes to be in the government. This year there are about 15 parties running. Currently a party needs (I think) 3.5% of the vote to be in the government. There are 120 seats in the government and each party gets seats based on the percentage of votes they receive. (for example if a party received 50% of the vote they would get 60 seats – this has never happened). The party that gets the most votes gets the first shot of combining other parties to support them for the role of Prime Minister. They must combine enough parties to fill 61 seats (a basic majority). This often makes for interesting bed fellows.  

Because of the need to maintain at least 61 seats it can give a small party a lot of power. Let’s say the Prime Minister is only able to get just enough parties to join him/her to get 61 seats (this is often the case), if one of those parties only has 2 seats they can demand whatever they want or threaten to leave the coalition. If they leave, the government collapses and it is back to elections. This is what recently happened and why there are elections right now. It has been a long time since the government has lasted its full term before needing to call for an early election. There have been 34 different governments with 12 different Prime Ministers in Israel’s 71 years of history.

Currently the race is very close between the current lead party (Likud with Netanyahu as the Prime Minister) and a brand new party called Blue and White. Even if the Blue and White won the election it is uncertain if they would be able to form a government with at least 61 seats unless they had the Arab parties join them (yes the Arab parties have seats in the Israeli government).

 

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