Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Redcoat, Jul 21, 2018.
He's certainly watching... very detailed reports of the Great Southern War with... keen interest
Developments of the Late 90’s American Economy
With the signing of trade deals such as CarFTA and other similar agreements opening up American opportunities to the developing world, new business strategies were required to keep up, forcing American firms to innovate. Meanwhile, other foreign business entities, especially in the manufacturing sphere, increasingly only competed in their isolated common markets in the developed world. Manufacturing in the nations involved heavily in the GSW would also be geared heavily towards military equipment, and remain this way through the early 20th century, to the disadvantage of consumers. Prices of German, French, and especially Indian goods rose. (This, however, impacted Britain even worse. Like the U.S., the British government under Roy Mason had taken to an isolationist route, but as trade with both sides of the conflict decreased, the economy had entered a brief economic malaise.*)
One of the key developments that emerged from CarFTA and other various agreements was the General Electric Local Growth Team Model, devised by GE Innovation Manager and later CEO, Jack Welch. This model dictated how GE would design, market, and manufacture products for developing markets. It emerged out of the corporation’s desire to dominate the Carribean Washing Machine Market. It took a life of its own though after being applied to other industries, leading to GE to be described as “The top Blue-Chip Stock for the next century”. The GELGT Model could be described as so:
The GE Local Growth Based Model
Shift Power to where the growth is:
Build New Offerings from the ground up
Build an LGT (Local Growth Team, a sales, design, and marketing team focused on understanding and meeting the needs of foreign markets) from the ground up, like new companies
Customize objects, targets, and markets based on customer wants
Have the Local Growth Team respond to someone high up in the Organization in central management.
This model heavily emphasized reverse innovation-developing products specifically for growing markets, but based on the company’s core businesses. After success at GE, the “Gospel of LGT” spread to other American firms like GM, Disney, etc.
What made the Local Growth Team Model helpful for all Americans across the workforce, was that most of the manufacturing for the products designed in emerging markets still remained in the United States itself. Fear of tariffs, more so than tariffs themselves, drove away outsourcing, and kept jobs in America. Moreover, increased quality control, which couldn’t be guaranteed overseas, justified higher costs. This was one of the main reasons that, despite jobs in the textile industry progressively getting outsourced to cheaper countries, American cotton was still the most favored worldwide. Unlike other cotton producing nations, every bale of American cotton was manually inspected and rated for its qualities by the USDA.
America’s internationalist thinking ended with the beginning of the Great Southern War, and the hegemony under the Bundy administration was isolationism. This evidently had an effect on consumer choices as a distrust of foreign-made goods. It would do no good to succeed in foreign markets based on price if one lost domestic markets.
The LGT innovation only became possible because of superior marketing, namely in the form of segmentation. American marketing scientists, building on techniques developed at Northwestern University, began to increasingly divide customers, both at home and overseas, per their needs and wants, with firms responding with superior products to cater to them.
The new motto for an American Classic
These tactics allowed for a boom in US manufacturing, which could afford to specialize for markets, and compete for middle-income and upper-income product demand globally. (The most famous example in marketing circles being Ford’s targeted campaigns in East Africa, which led its cars to in general, be associated with wealth and power. Native consultants had provided expertise needed to help the company fully understand the market, and of course, to maximize the use of product placement.) With a growing global middle class, especially in Africa, India, and to a lesser extent, even China, these effects would be known after the war eventually ended. High quality, American cars, planes, boats, locomotives, tractors, toys, clothes, medical equipment, and appliances succeeded in these markets because American companies fundamentally understood the needs of the developing world and the developed world as well. With the advancement of developing nations came opportunities for new markets.
Most foreign competitors disliked this “American abstraction”, and general cultural barriers prevented this successful concept from spreading outside of the US. As a result, US firms became the best in the developed world with handling the increasingly globalized world.
The successful reconstruction post-WW3 and America’s disengagement from the Great Southern War left the US industry intact while other nations were still recovering into the 21st century and just trying to win over domestic markets. In addition, for heavy industrial goods or technologically advanced goods, US schools trained better engineers and craftsmen, and US cities, factories, and markets, had simply far greater capacity to produce at quality and volume than in war-oriented economies or destroyed ones. Meanwhile, rising labor costs in nearby markets (Mexico and Canada) and trade barriers meant that cheaper labor overseas was hard to find. The Great Southern War spooked many firms considering the idea to outsource overseas, although Africa would benefit from this in certain industries. Meanwhile, the rise of many economies in the 1980s pre-war had equivalently forced Americans firms to radically change their attitudes and focus on customer needs instead of remaining complacent. In addition, new theories about the role of labor unions, including the notion that unions should prioritize preparing their workers for the world of work in order to gain leverage in the fight for worker's rights, while not fully yet developed, were emerging. After the crisis 1994, Labor and Management increasingly focused on promoting stability to promote mutual success, though there are exceptions to this rule. While the cultural changes were brewing, most of the associated changes still remained in Academia for the moment.
In addition, there was a huge amount of new demand created by the post-war baby boom. In particular, the US toy industry succeeded well It was also bought by safety concerns with foreign toys. Moreover, a movement towards “green toys”-those with wood as opposed to plastic-helped American manufacturers, rather than foreign firms, as it was cheaper to log (and then replant) in the USA than to import from overseas. This was often not the case with plastic, due to environmental protections designed to minimize threats to public health (and thus rising costs to AmCare).
Moreover, one of Bundy’s failures, his inability to pass the Kristol-Whitman Act [A/N: Sonny-Bono Act] which extended copyright failed. Championed by many major large corporations as part of a move to keep many of its older properties under their control, this led to many of both Disney and Warner’s first works to enter the public domain. While this hurt major American corporations, (with the notorious exception of Disney), the rise of “the commons of ideas” (Paul Krugman NY Post 1999) led to an enormous growth of creativity from smaller artists and creators who drew upon the public domain for inspiration. Warner Brothers, Turner, etc. suffered as they were pushed out, but the Disney Corporation, through its Talent Evaluation arm, used this explosion in craft artistic expression as a way to identify hidden talent. Numerous writers and artists began independently and were then “scooped up” by Disney. Many of them would begin work on Disney’s “B-Projects”, namely direct to VHS products, that were incredibly financially successful, as Disney agreed to pay below-market rates in return for creative freedom and the ability to use the Disney brand. Some began fearing Disney was becoming a monopoly in the entertainment industry.
The secure American industrial base, NASA innovations and tech sponsorship, future changes to tax law, and cultural pride in the sciences also made Americans great innovators.
American technological innovations include the ability to develop far more energy efficient cars, and lighter cars which employed fewer materials, these cars would be more cost-efficient for developing world consumers. Steel had become very expensive due to the steel crisis of 1995-96. Gas had increased in price, but not as much. Fuel efficiency became the way to cut the “expected lifetime cost” of vehicles, as American Marketers would note.
Moreover, certain states took the lead established by Governor James Traficant and developed no-speed-limit highways, on the model of the German Autobahn, in flatter areas. (This idea had been popularized by World War Three veterans who had experienced the utility of the original Autobahn on the front.) These gave US firms a domestic market that demanded superior performance.
Americans also developed computerized modeling for cost-controls which allowed American firms to handle supply chain costs. While these computers were too expensive for home use, many businesses could afford them given the lifetime cost reductions.
Boeing also cooperated with another Japanese Mitsubishi to build upon Jet Bomber designs for 1990s to develop QSST which would enter service later in the 2000s. This was chosen over Vickers, angering the UK. Many point to this as the first move toward the US and away from the UK by Japan after Churchill’s unlucky visit.
Coming soon, the next innovation in luxury travel.
3D Printing had advanced leaps and bounds thanks to NASA investments, being used back on earth to simplify the manufacturing process of parts, as well as models for patents and manufacturing.
Astronauts on the International Moon Base’s 3rd expedition testing out an experimental 3D printer
In an interesting step, the office culture itself would change. Open concepts, designed to bring in more creative thought and healthier employees, became fashionable. Many office-based companies decided to improve the health of their employees by having a gym, lounge or an indoor garden inside the office building and create a more healthy, less stressed working lifestyle.
Cubicles became a thing of the past, as people shared an “open concept” table that encouraged discussion, often fueled by the small coffee machine on one end of the table. Most workers used the General Electric WritePad (picture below), connected to the printer in the center of the large table
“Dave”, a short story written in a broadsheet promoting the new, “sanitized”, post-war environment that became popular post war.
Dave liked his spot, right next to the coffee machine, with his Red-White pad, marking his spot. Sitting across from him was Marianne. If only he were a little taller and without his war scar, they might have been more than just tablemates. Than again, if she were a little thinner, she would probably be modeling in Cuba, not reviewing consumer trends for back-to-school equipment here in Cleveland. That’s what they all craved; more. But what did “more” mean…
Anyways, he found that according to the “walk sheet”, it was now time for him to take the hallowed journey to the mystical place they called “The Speciality Room”. The “gut” of the office. As he walked past the fields of open desks...Row L...Row K ...Row J…...Row A...he finally got in. While not a huge room, it was pretty large and full of all sorts of devices. The lucky few quarterly report editors and special project managers would set up temporary camp here, although in his eyes it looked like they did nothing at all as they leaned in their chairs, drank coffee, and looked bewildered at some spreadsheets. First things first, Dave fed his morning’s work, a report of marketing’s most recent focus group on colored pencils, through “the Cube” This new machine would correct for grammar mistakes and spit out already edited documents from what one put inside. It was ludicrously expensive but incredibly convenient. Dave knew he wasn’t even supposed to use it for something as small as this morning's work, but simply didn’t care. But then again, if this report was as good as it looked as he skimmed it over, he could be promoted, and all of that staring from the “GutMonkeys” wouldn't matter. And hey, Marriane might notice him. He waddled over to the fax machine, dialed up the fax phone to find the right number.
Overseas Business-The DeLorean
One of the biggest turnarounds in American business was the story of the DeLorean company, the car company famous for its sleek look and innovative design. Facing troubles from its beginning during the economic malaise of the 1970s, the company struggled to release its first car, the DMC-12 for several years. When it was finally released in 1981, its price was double its target MSRP of $12,000 and marred by safety and design issues. The company’s main factory in Dunmurry, a suburb in the Belfast metro, was still affected by sporadic attacks by Irish paramilitaries, even after the end of the Troubles with Operation Bombardier. Even ignoring these issues, workers in the Northern Irish factory often went on strike for better privileges, slowing down production for weeks. His company hemorrhaging money, all his advisers were advising him to get out of the business and cut his losses while he could. However, John DeLorean was not undeterred. One thing he realized was that the DeLorean’s unconventional characteristics and futuristic aesthetic had made it a hit among those consumers that did buy. First, redesigns to the car itself were needed. While the DMC-12’s design was set in stone, a redesigned car, the DMC-13, would mark a complete upheaval of the company.
One Malcolm Bricklin was brought on as an adviser. Bricklin, like DeLorean, had been contemplating the idea of starting his own car company, and had ideas for the right direction for the company. First, the company’s DMC-13 model would aim for the semi-luxury market. The car was given a sleeker look, and problems with the manufacture of the steel frame were partially solved. Later versions would have an aluminum frame, as they were easier to work with, and lighter. The engines, notoriously slow to accelerate, were re-invented to be more like the engines of sports cars like the Porsche 911.
DeLorean, ever the showman, was able to get product placement deals with various media companies. With the help of cameos in several James Bond movies, Miami Vice, and most famously in Back to the Future, the DMC-12 model would capture the public opinion. While a hard decision, the plant in Belfast was closed down, as it became clear that the models there had been subpar. This was despite the protests of the British government, willing to subsidize the plant, to make it a symbol to represent the rebuilding of Northern Ireland. DeLoreans would largely be manufactured in its Los Angeles plant.
"The Delorean is Back Baby"-From a 1999 commercial
I'm planning on doing a worlda map of the world currently in the TL. But I need to know what exactly Brazil's borders look like (I mean Amazons is independent, and weren't the Communists in the north crushed as well along with the Republicans?). Any other things I need to look at since I already did the new nations in former Russia.
Next, on NDCR:
What if anything have these people been up to in this world? (Forgive me if any have been actually mentioned):
Samuel L. Jackson
I'll answer the ones I can, someone else can pick up the rest.
Al Gore us a senator from Tennessee. He ran for President a couple times but as of 1999 is the leader of the Democrats in the Senate.
Pat Robertson was a Democesticr senator from Virginia until he was defeated by Republican Pat Buchanan in 1994
Jeff Sessions is serving as a federal judge, appointed by Reagan
Tim Kaine will show up in an update pretty soon, actually
Steve Jobs is TTL's 80's version of Elon Musk. His company, Exacutech was the first private space company to se reusable rockets. More on this here:
Ann Richards is a member of the Texas Democratic Party and the former Lt. Governor of the state. She tried to be elected senator from Texas in 1982 but was defeated in the Democratic primaries by Kent Hance because of her liberal views and her support for abortion. More about the 1982 TX senate elections here:
Ben Carson's career is the same as IOTL and he's a staunch supporter of the Republican party's more Reaganite, Liberty Conservative wing.
Roy Moore is a conservative, almost reactionary, Alabaman Democrat. He is currently serving as a Circuit Judge for the sixteenth circuit court of Alabama.
Doug Jones is an Alabaman Democrat and a member of the growing whole-life faction. He is currently serving as US attorney for the northern district of Alabama.
Bill Gates still works at IBM.
About Samuel L. Jackson and Williem Dafoe, we have not written anything about both of them yet, if you have ideas for pop culture, feel free to make ideas!
Israel in the 1990s - the Netanyahu period and the years of serenity
"Our economy is a thin man carrying a fat man and this fat man must lose weight" - PM Netanyahu on a speech before energy investors in Ofira, 1993
In the 1990s, the State of Israel passed through the crossroads of transition from a security-focused consciousness to the postwar state of mind. On the waves of change, Yoni Netanyahu was elected with a clear mandate to change the never-ending security preoccupation with economic-focused policies and civilian issues he wanted. His party was elected to lead the country with the support of traditional Gahal constituencies, such as middle-class voters, the residents of the low-income development towns, as well as new groups of interest such as WWIII veterans. The youthful Netanyahu seemed eager to implement his liberty conservative agenda, ordering every ministry to cut into at least one of its biggest regulatory burdens in the West, a move supported by most of Shinui’s MK’s and voters and even a couple of pro-business Mapai MK’s. The fields where red tape was reduced the most were the sectors of retail and manufacturing, leading to a small business boom and a decrease in the unemployment rate. In a move led by finance minister Yitzhak Modai and Economy and Trade Minister Michael Eitan, (a former Gahal member and noted free-marketeer who switched parties to Shinui because of his dovish tendencies), the agriculture ministry was reformed: Instead of caps on agricultural production, water subsidies and tariffs on agricultural exports, direct subsidies and deregulation were instituted and the production caps were eliminated. In order to deal with the shortage of workers, they also worked with foreign minister Begin to close a deal with neighboring Jordan. They would allow Jordanian workers to get passage permits so they could cross the border and work as guest workers in the country, which would lead to the mutual opening of the border three years later. These successful economic liberalisation policies led to the decrease of food prices and the intensification of Netanyahu’s government policy.
Several privatisations also took place during the Netanyahu 1st term: when the Knesset committee allocation had begun, Netanyahu pushed for the creation of a sub-committee for privatisation efforts, which was eventually founded and chaired by Economy and Trade Minister Eitan. They decided to privatize some key money-wasting public companies and factories such as Israel Chemicals, Bezeq (telecommunications), El-Al (airlines), Zim (shipping services), Israel Railways and many more.
The Israel Electricity Company (IEC), considered as corrupt and too-big from the start of the Netanyahu government, resisted to the privatisation process and their union, considered to be the strongest in the country, decided to strike. Such a move would have nearly crippled the nation. In December 1994, they announced the beginning of a massive strike to protest such a move.
Unfortunately this ended up to be a public relations disaster as it happened at almost the absolute worst time. During the winter of 1994/1995, one of the harshest the country knew, many homes were left without power. Netanyahu’s chief of staff, former journalist Ya'akov Ahimeir, endlessly attacked the electrical workers’ union to the press, portraying them as selfish and overpaid, and opposed to innovation. Netanyahu’s government authorized the IEC board to allow electrical engineers from the engineering military corps to get the power stations back to work. After four days of constant power outages because of the lack in maintenance, the union leaders gave up. The company’s board and union, now humiliated from the defeat, agreed to the compromise offered to them by the government. As Finance Minister Modai put it: “Sell the power stations, and keep the infrastructure ready to be fired if you even dare to strike again”.
The companies were privatized under the British system, which served to make the middle class stronger and to make the revenues from capital gains tax larger. To stimulate the market even more, Netanyahu and Modai decided to use the revenues from the privatisations to lower corporate taxes from 38% to 28%. This caused a massive investment boom from major foreign companies. As expected, several international firms started doing business in Israel for the first time, such as McDonald’s, KFC and Starbucks. (KFC later dropped out of the Israeli market after it failed to find a kosher substitute for its chicken recipe).
October 1993: The first McDonald’s restaurant in Israel opened in Ramat Gan Ayalon mall.
Netanyahu and Gahal’s liberty conservatives, along with the support of Shinui, wanted to go further and privatize some public military industries such as IMI Systems and Rafael, (weapons and advanced military tech respectively). It was a move that was supported by most US businesses, most vocally by the Jewish-American, liberty conservative casino-magnate Sheldon Adelson. However, it was opposed by populists on both sides of the isle because “putting the defense of the country in the hands of investors is simply too dangerous”, as said by the new and vocal Mapai MP Shelly Yachimovich.
December 1996: Jordanian king Hussein, Israeli President and former PM Rabin and US UN ambassador Clinton signing the Transjordan Cooperation Agreement (TJCA) on the white house lawn. This event was seen as a successful example of the “economic peace” policies that were implemented by the Israeli government in order to strengthen economic cooperation with moderate Arab nations like Jordan and Egypt.
At 1994, In a speech at Haifa University, foreign minister Begin declared the government's intention to support the Aliyah efforts of Russian and Ethiopian Jews to Israel: Embassies in the Ex-Soviet states were opened and used to connect between the jews to the Israeli government and the Mossad had infiltrated the Russian Turkic States and the Russian Republic of Siberia, which didn't permit their Jewish population to leave, in order to smuggle the remaining Jewish populations out of the country. The defence ministry also gave the Mossad an order to hunt down the former Israeli Azmi Bishara, a Palestinian Christian which shocked the nation by collaborating with the Syrian army during their occupation of the Galilee, and alleged to have ordered a massacre in Kibbutz Amiad as a collective punishment for the actions of IDF guerilla fighters left behind the enemy lines. He would be known as the Israeli Quisling. He escaped to Dagestan after the war had ended via a route through Syria and the Caucasus. He was captured by Mossad forces in an isolated village near the FRR border and was executed immediately.
The new Olim received much-needed help as welfare benefits and education in the Hebrew language from the ministry of Aliyah absorption, (managed by a well known ex-refusenik that had escaped to Israel before WWIII named Anatoli “Natan” Sharansky), after they landed in Israel. He oversaw the process of their successful integration into the Israeli society. The ex-soviet jews were for the most part highly educated, mostly in STEM fields, though some musicians and athletes were also migrating too. They helped greatly to develop the high-science industry and to found the small but growing Israeli Space Program, managed by IAF chaired by the decorated fighter pilot and ace during WWIII, colonel Ilan Ramon. Many of them settled in the coastal city of Yamit (around the site of OTL Al-Arish, Egypt) which became a world renowned hub of technology in the country. Because of it’s educated population and isolated location, it fitted as the perfect location for the new Israeli spaceport Oron, named after the hebrew name for the planet Uranus. With the launch of Israel’s first satellite in 1997, it proved that even small countries could have a presence in space.
Although being in the opposition, Shinui successfully implemented some sections of their platform, mostly cultural changes. When Netanyahu assembled his ministry, he surprised many with his decision to appoint Tommy Lapid, the leader of Shinui to the position of justice minister. Two years into his term, they were still surprised by the move. Netanyahu was relatively socially liberal and had good personal relations with Lapid and many Gahal MK’s were influenced by the policies of the American Stephen Clark Rockefeller and the Rockefeller Republicans. They adopted a more live-and-let-live approach to social affairs. In an effort led by Shinui member Shulamit Aloni, homosexuality was finally decriminalized with the support of Shinui and liberal MK’s from Gahal and Mapai. It would be a radically progressive move. The remnants of the National Religious Party resisted along with some communonationalist Gahal members, but the bill still passed. Woman rights did also improve: in a supreme court decision, it was decided that army can’t discriminate a soldier on a base of biological sex. This historic decision was acted because of Alice Miller, an aeronautics student who wanted and could meet the physical requirements to join the airforce and her request was denied because of her being a woman. Mapai MK Ezer Weizman, himself a former pilot and ace, infamously said “Listen Meidelle (a derogatory name for a woman in Yiddish), Have you ever seen a man knitting socks? Have you ever seen a woman be a surgeon or even an orchestra conductor? Women can not withstand the pressures of being combat pilots. Their dainty hearts can’t take it.” Weizman was one of the populist, pseudo-Wallacite communonationalists of his party, favouring strong welfare system and unions along with cultural and religious traditionalism. These policies were founded independently of Wallacite communonationalism, but still somewhat influenced by them. His vocal opposition to this change had brought many of Gahal’s communonationalist faction, (now a minority within the party as PM Netanyahu made efforts to bring the party closer ideologically to American style Liberty Conservatism), to consider supporting Mapai or becoming independents.
Netanyahu proved himself to be a competent and strong PM during his first term, but the 1996 elections fast approached and he hadn't fulfilled yet his main campaign promise: large-scale land reform. This would have to be done in order to allow citizens and tenants to own their own land and let investors to build in under-developed regions, mostly on the Negev and Sinai deserts. 93% out of this soil was owned by the government through the unwieldy, bureaucratic Israel Land Administration (ILA). This made it difficult to build major construction projects. The prices of apartments and stores, mainly in the large and populous Tel Aviv metropolitan area, soared as the post-war baby boom led many young couples to start searching for inexpensive apartments. Netanyahu wanted to dismantle, or at least reform and narrow the scope of the ILA. He also wanted to reform the existing building and zoning laws to make it easier to build higher and cheaper, but he knew that his own party communonationalist wing, not to mention the other parties, wouldn’t let him do it without major backlash. It could even put his own coalition’s stability at risk. He had to forge a plan in order to reduce the opposition to his ambitious and sweeping plan.
As the 1996 Knesset elections came closer, each party started their own primary election to choose who would lead the party: Shinui elected in a unanimous vote, the current leader and party founder, Tommy Lapid. Lapid was liked by left-wing, Tel Aviv-based voters, as well by secular Gahal voters who supported his anti-religious coercion, socially liberal policies and collaboration with the Netanyahu government as Justice Minister while half-heartedly supporting Gahal’s fiscal policies.
Mapai, still electing their leaders by a closed party-center voting, chose former speaker of the Knesset, MK Shevah Weiss, a Polish-born Holocaust survivor who joined Mapai as a young municipal council member in Haifa, a strong bastion of the party. He became noted as “the MK from Warsaw” because of his vocal support for the liberation of the Polish people during WWIII, and his 1994 tour in Auschwitz and all of Poland to commemorate the Holocaust. While he was there, in a speech before Israeli and Polish soldiers, his speech became iconic in Israel as he spoke while Israeli jets flew over the camp in an air show as he yelled out, “We stand with you Poland!” Meanwhile, Netanyahu supported candidates who supported liberty conservative agenda and distanced himself from the communonationalist wing of his party.
The most interesting pre-election situation was in the crumbling National Religious party: as all three of their seats were projected to be taken by other parties. The young Sephardi Rabbi and member of the Bat-Yam city council, Aryeh Deri, tried to get elected to the Knesset from his constituency with his unique policy. He ran with an ultra-communonationalist, religious-interests based platform containing massive increasing of welfare payments, establishing a family planning program similar to America’s own CaseyCare, price controls on basic foodstuffs (which Netanyahu’s government ended as part of the agricultural reforms), and governmental support for the Yeshiva talmudic schools and traditional values. He received huge support from the growing ultra-orthodox community in Bat-Yam, the burgeoning community of Russian emigrés from the post soviet Aliyah, and from disappointed Gahal communonationalists. He was projected to win his seat by 15 points rather comfortably. But then, a new story broke out and changed almost everything: his former Yeshiva school principal revealed that Deri received $150,000 worth in bribes from his predecessor, but despite these allegations, Deri continued his campaign. The rumors later turned out to be true, however, as the former principal confessed that he offered the money in return for favors and perks for himself. As a result, the Central Election Committee barred Deri from running for office. Large protests erupted all over the country by ultra-orthodox Israelis that felt the government was really conspiring against them and their interests. They chanted the slogan “He’s innocent!” in the streets, and some made songs calling for the government to overturn their decision. [A/N: This happened OTL too.] Later, Deri was found guilty in court and sentenced to five years in prison by the supreme court.
September 1996: Haredi Jews protesting against the Central Election Committee decision.
Back on the campaign trail, Netanyahu portrayed himself and his government as one that had maximized growth and created and jobs, as well as fitting itself to the new challenges that Israel faced in the new global order. He also campaigned on the issue of the promised land reform and promoted his related bill, containing the implementation of right-to-buy on public lands policies, massive land privatisation in high-demand zones in and around the big metropolitan areas of Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa, allowing foundation of private farms and community settlements and funding for infrastructure in rural areas, nicknamed by him as the “national pioneership initiative” (NPI for short) in order to attract some communontionalist support. Shevah Weiss and Mapai ran with a traditional campaign of workers rights, job security and national security but their campaign was considered rather dull by most political pundits as their message was outdated and boring. Shinui relied on their support of multi-partisanship and balancing both parties, as well promoting traditional progressive values as women’s and gay rights. The campaign trail was remarkably civil and no insults were made, instead focusing the campaign on positive messages. As election day got closer and closer, the Gahal cabinet and candidates seem relaxed and confident in victory, which helped them to achieve strong performances among their constituents and win the elections with bigger margins as Shinui gained a few seats too. The main loser of the election was Mapai, losing 4 seats because of their boring campaigning style. Party senior MK Binyamin “Fuad” Ben-Eliezer told the press in later interview that his party failure to reach new audiences and target the disappointed Gahal communonationalists cost them the election.
Although Netanyahu kept his domestic ministers team as it was, the foreign policy team changed: Foreign Minister Begin, who was tired of serving in such an important position, decided to become a backbencher again. Defense minister David Levi, the leader of the Gahal communonationalist faction, was replaced with WWIII general Rafael Eitan by Netanyahu because of doctrinal differences. He was, however, kept as deputy PM, and some policy concessions were made to appease the Levi and the party's communonationalist faction. Foreign Minister Begin was replaced by Justice Minister and Shinui leader Lapid as a sign of goodwill in continuing the multi-partisan relationship between both parties. Netanyahu, now with a stronger, more disciplined majority was ready to implement the NPI and do what his administration failed to do in their previous term. Although losing the election, Shevah Weiss continued to serve in his position as Knesset Mapai leader until he was appointed by PM Netanyahu to be ambassador to Poland. After serving five years in Ma'asiahu prison for white-collar crimes, Aryeh Deri was released and he founded his own Yeshiva. He started to adopt some Freyist positions and rhetoric because of his personal story of “redemption”. However, he never came back to politics, instead focused on his private life.
Now, with a bigger majority, Netanyahu knew that he got his chance to reform the too-socialist, too-bureaucratic, development-killing ILA, but he also knew that the Gahal regime would not last forever. Netanyahu understood that he had to gain a national consensus, with multiparty support. Gahal’s ministry and coalition, headed by construction and housing minister Shmuel Plato-Sharon, wrote a big legislation piece that included several bills:
Right-to-Buy Initiative: Similar to the British equivalent program, it gave both public housing and public land tenants large discounts on purchasing public property that they used to lease from the government. At the same time it allowed farmers and factory owners whose land was leased to them by the government to buy it with reduced, (in some places almost free), costs. This bill was the most important and popular part of the NPI.
Community Settlement Initiative: Allowing the foundation by and for, a group of people based on common purchase of land from the government, and common decisions on the acceptance of new people to live in the community. It was meant to foster the jewish populating efforts of the western Galilee region, which had an Arab majority back then.
Quick and Cheap Housing Act: Ordered the ILA to sell unused lands in and around most big metropolitan areas to the highest bidder. Was meant to reduce the costs of building.
Peripheral Infrastructure Renovation and Improvement Plan: Widened the network of roads and railways in the peripheral areas of the country.
Suez Region Development Initiative: Allowed the building new cities on the coast of the Suez Bay and Canal, and allowed private contractors to build private ports in them. This act was meant to foster trading with Egypt as economic peace initiative.
ILA Narrowing Act: Banned the ILA from attempting to refuse to sell land to a private contractor unless otherwise provided by the Ministry of Construction and Housing. This bill was seen as extremely important by Finance Minister Modai as a lynchpin in efforts to preserve the nature of the reform.
Veterans Land Compensation Act: Entitled each Yom Kippur War and WWIII veteran to a 2,000 square meter plot of land in a low-demand area of their choice, similar to what was done to the legendary military unit veterans “101st Unit” during the 50’s. This act passed almost unanimously, with multiparty support.
Gahal’s Knesset majority leader and the PM's brother, Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu, successfully convinced Shinui's centrist wing, headed by Lapid and Mapai kibbutz-based MK’s to promote the interests of the agricultural settlement-based faction to support the bill in return for adding riders to the current package:
Municipalities Land Allocation Act: Ordered the ILA to transfer public lands in cities and villages such as public gardens, schools, hospitals, etc to the respective municipalities.
Southern Deserts Conservation Act: Orders the foundation of huge natural parks to protect parts of the Negev and Sinai deserts, especially the unique cratered lands of the Negev. This move was supported by Shinui’s left-wing as it was created in purpose to protect the environment from the negative consequences of the so-called “Desert Boom”.
Bedouin Tribes Land Ownership Regulation Act: Allows the Bedouin tribes in the south of the country to buy their ancestral land as a whole tribe or as private persons. The bill also regulated the level of public services and infrastructure they’re entitled to as residents of Israel.
The craters of the Negev, a unique natural phenomenon of Israel
This package of bills, known as New Pioneership Initiative, was signed in 1998 and was widely popular. The affected members of the general public, as a whole, was happy to finally control their lands as their own property. Construction and Housing Minister Sharon, himself a former immigrant from France and a businessman, celebrated rather bizarrely the passing of the bill. He reportedly asked his former firm to fund the building of cheap apartments for young couples in Tel Aviv metropolitan area to celebrate his party's achievement. When during an unrelated Knesset debate, several Knesset members mocked him for the action, he famously told them with his thick french accent “what do you for country”, imitating JFK's words and got mocked around the country for his poor hebrew grammar skills. When the government started to implement the ambitious plans, the money from the deals started to flow and this new situation allowed the government to pay off some war deficits. Sharon himself took it with humor, even named his biography with this sentence.
“What Do You For Country?”
As the situation on the world stage had begun to heat, the Israeli public opinion became closer and closer to supporting the French-led Concordat over the Concordat. A bipartisan movement, led by deputy PM David Levy, Mapai senior MK Colette Avital and Minister Sharon, all of them fluent french speakers were supportive of their efforts as they felt closer to them culturally, and felt themselves threatened by the rhetoric of the Entebbe Pact leaders. However, Gahal liberty conservatives and Shinui members wanted to stay neutral as they would have rather pursued closer relations with the US and a more dovish approach to foreign affairs. Although PM Netanyahu’s support for neutrality won the debate, he agreed to sell military equipment surpluses to the Concordat. From that, many of the lesser-developed nations in the concordat received shipments of Tavor and Galil rifles, and especially, the famous Uzi. Lavi (Lion) fighter jets were sent to Croatia to maintain the front in Serbia. Lavi fighters became famous in Europe for being cheaper but still almost as capable than their American equivalents. IDF commanders used this as an opportunity to replace its old, somewhat-outdated, native military hardware with American models.
As 1998 came ahead, and the consequences of the reform started to carry weight, this new situation made S&P to raise Israel’s credit rating to A+, which made the interest on the war debt smaller. Netanyahu and his economic policy team, headed by economist Yaron Brook, advised him to use the new extra money to cut income taxes across the board and reduce the number of tax brackets. The tax code was considered very progressive, with 8 brackets from 10% to 50%. It had many loopholes and options for deductions based on one’s geographical location, profession, military experience and much more. Netanyahu, Modai and Brook decided on a reduction of both tax brackets and rates to 5 brackets, stretching from 5% to 45% and eliminating several frivolous loopholes and deductions. The liberty conservative dominant wing of Gahal were ever-supportive of the plan, but the 6 communonationalist MKs of the party, led by deputy PM David Levy, were angry as the plan, which included elimination of deductions for living in rural areas or having more than 4 children, hit their base especially hard. Levy, both an MK from the rural region of Beit-She’an valley and an observant jew with 12 children, was already disappointed about the direction that his party had taken during the last 6 years. The feeling among his constituents, opposed to the tax reform, were similar. Netanyahu was quite disappointed by this turn of events as he was only 4 MK’s shorter of majority. Despite this, he thought that he could rely on centrist Shinui MK’s support for his plan, and decided to ignore Levy’s opposition. However, their leader, Tommy Lapid, had other plans: He felt the disappointment of the left-wing of his party, and feared they would depose him out of his leadership. Because of that, he decided to oppose the tax plan, announcing such on TV, only 5 hours before the Knesset vote. Gahal Knesset leadership decided to cancel the vote. This move would infamously be called, “The dirty trick”, by the media. Netanyahu, infuriated and feeling betrayed, decided to fire Levy from his position as deputy PM and got several communonationalist Gahal members stripped from their committee positions as well.
Levy had enough of the party, feeling that it wasn’t the party he joined in his youth anymore. He didn’t leave the party, the party left him. He secretly negotiated with fellow Gahal communonationalists in order to get himself and his own faction to kickstart a new populist party. During the hot summer nights of July 1998, Levy and his loyal faction members called a press conference and declared that they’re founding a new populist communonationalist party named “Gesher”, (meaning “bridge” in hebrew as they wanted to “bridge between the people of Israel”). Netanyahu lost 4 members of his own party, and was now one seat short of knesset majority. For the first time in more than 10 years, Israel had a minority government.
Great chapter about Israel. Very interesting.
This (badly edited) picture shows how Yoni Netanyahu looks ITTL as prime minister.
This is the most comprehensive and detailed update I've written so far. what do you think?
Great look at how Israel's been doing since WWIII.
Better-edited images of Netanyahu (I used the same face for both pictures because there are few pictures of it):
Prime Minister Netanyahu announces at a press conference his intention to begin implementation of the NPI. (February 1997)
Prime Minister Yoni Netanyahu speaking at the AIPAC 1994 Policy Conference. Even after the end of World War III, American support for Israel remained a consensus among supporters of active American foreign policy and among Jewish politicians from the three major parties. President Bundi, despite his support for reducing US security involvement around the world, supported a close economic relationship with the State of Israel, which opened for investment but continued its policy of curtailing security assistance. (March 1994)
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