Herzog and Bibi’s political interests and the fragmented Knesset that is likely to emerge after the elections might force Likud and Labor into a power-sharing deal. Avigdor Liberman and President Rivlin already support the idea. The Israeli Labor Party, which will participate in the upcoming election under the banner of “The Zionist Camp,” held its primaries this week. Former party leader Shelly Yachimovich won second place (first place is reserved for party leader Isaac Herzog); Stav Shafir and Itizik Shmuli, two of the leaders of 2011’s social protest movement, were elected in top places. Altogether the list leans a bit…Read More... | 15 Comments
Netanyahu has more paths to the Prime Minister's Office than Herzog, but also more party leaders who oppose him personally. Seventy-one days ahead of Israel’s general elections, two major stories are dominating the political news cycle: the showdown between Shas’s former leaders – Aryeh Deri and Eli Yishai – and the corruption affair involving senior politicians from Avigdor Liberman’s Israel Beitenu party. Both Shas and Liberman lost some ground in last week’s polls, while Yishai’s newly formed party is coming close to passing the Knesset threashold, currently at 4 seats (3.25 percent of the votes). Netanyahu’s Likud party held its…Read More... | 17 Comments
Turns out most Israelis support the establishment of a Palestinian state - until they read the fine print. There is a natural obsession with short-term, immediate details of the situation in Israel and Palestine: where is the siren or rocket or bomb? How many bodies are piling up in Gaza? Israelis’ memory at present seems to go back only a few weeks, to the murder of three teens that they believe set off this cycle. But for Palestinians, there was life before the Israeli kids were murdered, and it wasn’t good. Many are seething under a reality of no prospects,…Read More... | 5 Comments
The last polls ahead of Tuesday’s election have been published. Netanyahu’s Likud-Beitenu joint ticket could lose as many as eight seats, but the right-wing coalition he is projected to lead is still strong. Meretz is trending up, while Livni is losing support. We have updated out Poll Tracker with the surveys published over the weekend. Election laws forbid publishing polls in the days immediately prior to the vote, so this is likely the last round of numbers we will see from the various polling firms, at least publicly (the parties continue to conduct internal polls sometimes). This pie represents the…Read More... | 5 Comments
Two new election polls came out yesterday, both telling roughly the same story: the Likud-Beitenu party is losing some voters to the National Religious Party and to Otzma Le'Israel, an extreme faction led by former Kahane man Michael Ben-Ari. Both parties are identified with the settler movement (though settlers are well represented in Likud as well). According to the last poll, the National Religious Party (Habayit Hayehudi) will be the Knesset's third largest party following the elections. NRP has enjoyed new momentum since electing Naftali Bennet as its leader. Bennet, former chief of staff for Netanyahu, has launched a successful viral campaign…Read More... | 15 Comments
Underneath a new Knesset election poll published today by Haaretz, there was a surprising disclaimer: "due to lack of time, the Arab parties weren't surveyed." The reference is to the three non-Zionist and mostly Palestinian Knesset parties: Ra'am-Ta'al, Balad and Hadash, which were nowhere to be found in the charts Haaretz published. Together, they have 11 Knesset seats, including one held by a Jewish member of Hadash. Some polls published in the Israeli media tend to group those parties into one entry, titled "Arab parties." At other times, they ignore them completely. Often pollsters do include Palestinian citizens in their surveys…Read More... | 10 Comments
I would like to address some of the responses to my previous post ("It's all about the blocs: Understanding Israeli election polls"), since they raise an important issue regarding the difference between an analysis of ideology and political behavior. Several readers challenged my use of the right vs. left division of the entire political system in Israel, claiming it to be simplistic and not matching the ideology of some of the parties. Several examples were made, mostly regarding what I called the center-left bloc. As "Kolumn9" rightly noted, Kadima is an offspring of the Likud, and ideologically could just the…Read More... | 13 Comments
The first couple of polls since the announcing of the new elections are out. Here are the numbers: Maariv (Teleseker): Likud 29; Kadima 7; Israel Beitenu 15; Yesh Atid (Yair Lapid) 11; Labor 19; Shas 10; United Torah Judaism 6; The Jewish Home 8; Meretz 4; Ra'am-Ta'al 3; Hadash 3; Balad 4; Atzmaut (Ehud Barak) 2. Haaretz (Rafi Smith): Likud 29; Kadima 6; Israel Beitenu 13; Yesh Atid (Yair Lapid) 17; Labor 17; Shas 10; United Torah Judaism 5; The Jewish Home 5; Meretz 4; Ra'am-Ta'al 5; Hadash 4; Balad 2; Atzmaut (Ehud Barak) 0. > Click here for 972's Knesset poll…Read More... | 7 Comments
The political parties, along with media, will sell a story of a tight battle, but the Likud-led majority is as stable as it was four years ago. A quick breakdown of the upcoming elections, expected to take place in roughly ninety days. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu announced Tuesday evening his intention to hold early elections in roughly three months. Elections were due to take place in November 2013 in any case, but Netanyahu estimates that he will have trouble passing next year's budget in the current Knesset. The following is an excerpt from Netanyahu's statement tonight: Today, I finished a round of…Read More... | 14 Comments
Despite a recent rise in the polls, Labor's leader seems determined to follow failed policies of former party leaders. As the Labor Party under Shelly Yachimovich rises in the polls, many observers are wondering whether the journalist-turned-politician could be the leader that the center-left camp is searching for, one that could challenge Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the ideological and electoral front. Labor is now polling 25 seats. A similar result in the general election would be the party's best since 1999, when Ehud Barak led it. Yachimovich differs from Netanyahu on her economic views, and she was so far…Read More... | 33 Comments
After only 70 days, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's mega-coalition shrank back to 66 members of Knesset yesterday. Kadima, the Knesset's biggest party, decided to leave the government over the failure to reach an agreement on national draft reform. A few takeaways: 1. The entire maneuver that resulted in the national unity government was a mistake by the prime minister, who had been about to announce elections on September 4, and win them easily. Currently, elections are scheduled to take place in October 2013, but common wisdom says they will happen six to nine months from now, in the winter or spring…Read More... | 7 Comments
The secret to understanding Israeli political behavior lies in the widespread (and fundamentally evident) notion that any change to the status quo is likely to bring more harm than good. Even passionate advocates of Israeli policy wonder at times – often in private, but sometimes also in public – why the Israeli government doesn't show a bit more urgency in pursuing a way out of the West Bank. Israel, the saying goes, is faced with two options: A two-state solution and a one-state solution. The first option involves removing most of the settlements from the West Bank (but not necessarily…Read More... | 64 Comments
Since the shift in the American policy, to one which is much more hospitable to Netanyahu and his government, every time the prime minister returns from Washington, his numbers jump. The last poll (from Haaretz) sees the Likud with 37 seats, which means a very easy job assembling the next government. Yet note this: Despite personal support for Netanyahu, a clear majority of the public - 58 percent! - believes that Israel should not strike Iran's nuclear facilities on its own, even if the United States decides to avoid military action. In a country where military operations usually get very…Read More... | 7 Comments
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The latest news and analysis on the election campaign.
The Beaten Path
Travel writer and tour guide Yuval Ben-Ami deconstructs the Holy Land's tourist trail.
On the challenges facing a growing population of asylum seekers and refugees in Israel.
Children under occupation
The effects of occupation on minors.
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