Three months ago, I would have told you that the Right will sweep the elections. But this election cycle has shown that people are looking for an alternative, and that the Left still has a lot of work to do.
Regardless of the results of Tuesday’s election, these last few months have signaled a positive change: a question mark, a reminder of summer 2011, a leftward turn.
When elections were announced three months ago, no one truly understood what they were about or why they were even necessary. Only few doubted that the next Knesset would look significantly different from the previous one, and it seemed that, one way or another, Benjamin Netanyahu would remain the prime minister. A Channel 10 poll published around that time showed that Likud would win 22 seats, Jewish Home would get 17, while both Yisrael Beiteinu and Kahlon would receive 12. All in all, a total of 63 seats for the Right, and that’s before taking into account the ultra-Orthodox parties.
A wave of splits and unifications (Zionist Camp, Shas-Yachad, Yachad-Otzma Yehudit, The Joint List), Yisrael Beiteinu’s corruption scandal and the party primaries created a feeling of uncertainty, especially after delaying the launch of the campaigns, which got off to a start with bizarre videos and weak billboards.
The Right incites, the Left offers hope
But things are looking differently as we approach the finish line. Netanyahu may very well be declared Israel’s next prime minister, whether in a Right/ultra-Orthodox coalition or in a unity government with Zionist Camp. But this is no longer the only option. Likud is feeling the heat, and the entire right-wing camp is now putting out negative messages that offer no hope: the Iranian threat, refusing peace, incitement against Palestinian citizens of Israel (whose very democratic right to vote is seen as a threat, by the prime minister) and zero social justice. According to the polls, Bibi is no longer King, while Bennett — the rising star of the last few years — has been dealt a blow over his party’s outwardly homophobic platform and Liberman is coming close to not passing the election threshold that he himself called for.
It seems that the other parties, however, are making hopeful gains. The rise of Yair Lapid and Moshe Kahlon — both of whom are running on an economic ticket — is a sign...Read More