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Israelís center-left parties fail to unite
Washington Post ^ | 1/17/13

Posted on 01/18/2013 4:12:53 AM PST by Evil Slayer

JERUSALEM — Less than a week before Israel’s parliamentary elections, a fractured array of centrist parties has failed to join forces and offer a coherent alternative to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Divided by personal rivalries and the lack of a shared agenda, Netanyahu’s centrist challengers remain at odds, and two have even signaled more readiness to join a future coalition under his leadership than unite with each other.

While Netanyahu has focused on what he portrays as his ability to defend Israel militarily and diplomatically, his centrist opponents are trying to steer the campaign to other issues, targeting potential voters with ideas such as social and economic change and diplomatic initiatives toward the Palestinians.

Yet public opinion polls indicate that the parties appealing to ­center-left voters — who make up 38 percent of the Jewish Israeli electorate, according to a recent survey — have not succeeded in altering the balance of political power.

“One of the mysteries of Israeli politics is a very robust center that doesn’t manage to get together,” said Shmuel Sandler, a political scientist at Bar-Ilan University. “They have different agendas.”

The result, polls suggest, is that the next parliament will look much like the outgoing one, with right-wing parties and their ultra-Orthodox allies enjoying a solid majority and a collection of center-left factions not having enough seats to form a governing coalition. That is likely to produce another hawkish Israeli government wary of concessions to the Palestinians and focused on what it sees as broader regional threats, such as the Iranian nuclear program.

Turnout a ‘major factor’

Polls show a stable trend in which the right-religious bloc, headed by Netanyahu’s ticket, will control more than half the seats in the 120-member parliament. About 20 percent of voters say they are still undecided, but pollsters say they

(Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Israel; News/Current Events
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1 posted on 01/18/2013 4:13:11 AM PST by Evil Slayer
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