Powered by Max Banner Ads
The pundits in Israel, the United States and the West Bank have pretty much forecast the winner of Tuesday’s Israeli national elections. Benjamin Netanyahu’s right-wing political coalition with former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman- Likud Beitenu – will prevail, CNN reports. Polls show that Netanyahu’s party will get the most seats of any party in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, and his bloc will be the core of the predominantly Jewish state’s new government. The powerful bloc will attract a mainstream Israeli in a country many say is moving rightward. They are anxious over anti-Israel Hamas adherents next door in Gaza, the chaos in nearby Syria and Egypt, and the nuclear machinations of their No. 1 foe – Iran. When Netanyahu declares “we are living in a dangerous neighborhood,” that’s a deeply felt message resonating for a critical mass of Israeli Jews, from the Negev to Netanya. But issues have emerged front and center in the race: one, most prominently, is economic anxiety. That’s a ready-made cause for centrists and the left and a threat to the rise of the right in a one-time socialist country morphing capitalist. Israel is wrestling with a USD 4 billion budget shortfall; in fact, the election was called because of a failure to adopt a 2013 budget. Frustrated citizens who took to the Tel Aviv streets in 2011 to protest the country’s high cost of living and lack of affordable housing will bring their pocketbooks to the polls.Netanyahu’s Likud-Beitenu is the product of a coalition —an uneasy alliance – between Netanyahu’s Likud and Lieberman’s even more right-wing Yisrael Beitenu. Along with its vigilance on security, Likud-Beitenu is supportive of West Bank Jewish settlements, whose presence is reviled by Palestinians and many Israelis as well as obstacles to a peace agreement. Polls are saying the coalition will get 30-some seats, the most of all the parties signed up to participate.