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Issues of the Day Israel's 2015 Elections: A Birdseye View

Our week here in Israel was dominated by the parliamentary elections. Voter turnout was high. Twenty-five percent of the electorate voted for Benyamin Netanyahu's Likud party, which means 75% did not. A good many of the latter were voters from parties aligned with him on the right, and about 10% for the Haredim (ultra-religious) parties. The extreme right did not get a seat in the Knesset.


At least half the electorate voted for what Bibi chose to demonize as the “Left” and “Arab” parties, which is just a demagogic way of saying his political opponents since the majority of us voted for centrist or social democratic parties, Zionist Union, Yesh Atid, and Meretz, which are solidly patriotic. That movement has grown in strength. The Arab parties, forced to unite in the face of a rightist attempt to diminish their power, also grew stronger. 


Bibi is a fine politician and very media savvy. Fear-mongering is his strongest tool. Again, he succeeded not because he offers solutions to the country's significant problems, but solely by manipulating public opinion and political chicanery.


It is regrettable that Israel's strongest politicians, like those in much of the world,  perpetuate such spin and obfuscation in order to maintain their grip at the top. It is not enough that we have real security threats including an extremely high cost of living, serious housing shortages, a disabled educational system, a healthcare system that is underfunded and a widening socioeconomic gap between the one percent at the top and the rest of us. On top of all this, we have an intolerable burden in terms of a negligent government led by a man whose chief concern is remaining at the pinnacle of power.


One would have thought that after three terms in office, this administration would have been thrown out. Eventually, it will be.


Progressive-minded Israel, those of us who advocate a defensible and just solution to the conflict with the Palestinians, neighborly relations with the Arab world, a society with equal rights and opportunities for all, and cooperation as an equal among the nations, remains strong.


We will redouble our efforts to effect change.

© Yosef Gotlieb, . All rights reserved