Writing yesterday morning, with most but not all of the ballots counted and the results not yet final, Liel Leibovitz examines the results of Israel’s recent election:
Blue and White, the center-left party, . . . has failed miserably—in April or now—to propose a solid agenda or a sweeping vision for Israel’s future. At its best, it reminded Israelis that it was the only credible alternative to Benjamin Netanyahu, while implicitly promising to pursue all of the policies that had worked so well for him. . . . In his years in office, Netanyahu was responsible for real and impressive achievements, from forging strong diplomatic ties with India, Brazil, and other nations formerly reluctant to embrace the Jewish state, to keeping Israelis safe and their economy booming.
The Joint List, [a collection of Arab parties that appears to have come in third and is thus] the biggest winner of this election cycle, is as diverse as the Israeli Arab population it represents: some of its candidates are committed Communists, others are Islamists, and more yet are hard-edged nationalists, which makes it hard to pin down on any one side of the political spectrum. Nor is the party really a member of any bloc, as it’s highly unlikely that any mainstream Zionist politician would ever agree to form a coalition with a fiercely anti-Zionist Arab party. . . .
When Israelis vote, they vote because what’s at stake . . . is life and death. The issues Israelis face today are the same they faced yesterday, beginning with Iran, Hizballah, and Hamas. The left continues to offer no real alternatives, nor is it ready to reckon with the spectacular failure of the Oslo Accords. If you want to understand Israeli society, consider the following number: 103. That, most likely, is the number of Knesset seats, out of a possible 120, that will go to parties . . . that support more or less the same military, diplomatic, and economic agendas. Israelis stand united even if their politicians do not.