Jewish Right To Israel

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Monday, January 14, 2013

Barry Rubin on Understanding The Israeli Election

Barry Rubin offers advice on Understanding Israel's January 22 Election:The Israeli election set for January 22 and the coverage thereof is very strange in several respects. It is a contest in which his opponents seek to beat Prime Minister Benjamin (“Bibi”) Netanyahu, of the Likud party, in a remarkably inept manner and in which international understanding of the issues is at the low level we’ve become used to seeing.

Here's a simple way to understand the situation.
The far right -parties and the moderate left -parties are each likely to get roughly the same number of seats that they received in the 1999 election. The difference is that in 1999 the rightist parties divided their vote among three parties and today have largely united into one. The moderate left in 1999 gave their votes mainly to one party and now are dividing it among four.

Rubin discusses some of the themes pushed by those running against Netanyahu -- and why they won't work:
  • Bibi is for the rich.
  • Bibi will get you killed.
  • Bibi doesn’t want your vote.
  • Livni’s ad
  • The choice of photograph by former Prime Minister Tsipi Livni
For that matter, he even offers Labor the proper theme they should be running on in order to garner the greatest number of votes they can.

Netanyahu is expected to win, handily

The response from the international stage is to interpret Netanyahu's victory as the death knell for the two-state solution peace process.

To this convenient interpretation, Rubin responds:
Yet Netanyahu’s impending victory has nothing to do with any shift on that issue. Rather, it is due to the fact that the prime minister has done a reasonably good job, the economy is okay, terrorism is low, he’s kept out of trouble, and has shown he can be trusted to preserve security. Moreover, there is no very attractive figure, unity, or single impressive party on the other side. Given this situation, Netanyahu’s victory--meaning his party will come in first and he will form the next government--is a no-brainer.
Read the whole thing.

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