Israeli citizens are about to vote in national elections for the second time in six months. But has anything changed since April? Why is no one talking about the occupation? And are we really about to see the end of the Netanyahu era? +972 writers talk about why these elections matter.
Israeli voters will head to the polls for the second time in six months on Tuesday. It has been a short but brutish campaign, in which the racism, rabble-rousing, and mudslinging that have come to dominate Israeli election cycles seem more extreme than ever.
Benjamin Netanyahu, embattled and paranoid, has issued fraudulent warnings about Palestinians “stealing” the upcoming elections, and claimed last week that Arabs want to “annihilate us all” (his office insists this message was released due to a staffing error) — all part of efforts to suppress the Palestinian vote. Otzma Yehudit, the Kahanist party that is running independently after making it into the Knesset in April as part of the United Right list, has had a last-minute bump in support that threatens to carry them over the electoral threshold.
Right-wing activists, among them Likud supporters, have physically assaulted center-left and left-wing activists at campaign rallies. The Blue and White party has become even more indistinguishable from the Likud than it was last time round. And, as has happened in the last few election cycles, the specter of formal West Bank annexation has crept closer than ever, driven — as has become his habit — by a calculating prime minister intent on not being outflanked from the right.
I spoke to several +972 writers in order to get their thoughts on what is, and isn’t, at stake in the upcoming election. All agreed that one of the biggest questions of the second election round of 2019 is whether anything has materially changed since April, or whether it’s just more of the same — albeit worse.
Samah Salaime is unequivocal that the hard-fought reunion of the Joint List has changed the electoral landscape: “Arab voters are on the map again,” she says. Relatedly, Joint List leader Ayman Odeh’s...Read More