Today is Election Day in Israel. It is a national holiday where all government offices and banks are closed and students get a day off from school... well, except for Pardes (probably because we are all American, Canadian, British, Polish, or Russian citizens and would therefore not be voting.
This is a major election as the future of the State and its majority position on Disengagement will ride on today's results. This will not be nearly as close as American elections are as there are at least 30 viable parties (31 at last count) who represent a wide range of views, a number of which will reach the threshold and get at least one of the 120 seats in the Knesset. Israel is a Parliamentary Democracy, and unlike America, which, for all intents and purposes, has a bicameral system, nourishes many viewpoints.
I don't necessarilly agree with recent polling. I do agree that Kadima will win with around 35 seats, but that's where my similarities end. I think Likud will get second place with around 20 and Labor will trail close in third place. I don't think the religious parties will do as well as the polls reflect, except I do agree that Sha"s will get around ten mandates. Shinui is dead; the formerly third-largest party is going to fail, a casualty of the formation of Kadima. Smaller parties that I think will make the threshold but barely: Che"tz (the secular party), Mafda"l, Aleh Yarok (Green Leaf Party which supports the legalization of marijuana), and Balad, one of the Arab parties, as well as a smattering of others.
I don't agree that Kadima will collude with Labor but rather with Likud. There is a major rift between all three of these parties, but I don't see Prime Minister-Apparent Olmert working with Amir Peretz, even less than I see him workign with Bibi Netanyahu. I think the Coalition will involve Kadima, Likud, and at least one religious party (and I think that if Labor is in the coalition instead of Likud, then there will be real problems with the religious party).
So after today there will be no more posters, no more people in matching t-shirts handing out leaflets, orange ribbon, and Sha"s Rabbi Trading Cards ("Collect 'em both!"), car processions and megaphone abuses.
With the impending Solar Eclipse, which we will see the sun's corona on Rosh Chodesh Nisan, the day the biblical king has his annual coronation, I think this is going to be a very interesting point-in-time as we crown a new Prime Minister and his courtiers (And remember that the last Total Lunar Eclipse was when the Curse of the Great Bambino was shattered).
I just hope that whatever happens, it is the best for Israel.
Ken Yehi Ratzon.