Jewish Journal


December 13, 2012

If it’s us vs them, it’s Bibi time



Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Mazal Tov! Today’s graph breaks a record. For the first time, the Likud- Right-Religious bloc touches the 70 mandates bar. (The exact estimates are 69.5 mandates and 50.5 mandates for the Right-Religious and the Center-Left blocs, respectively). And what’s more depressing for the Center-Left bloc is that the event occurs a week after the parties and their candidates registered, and no more changes are allowed before Election Day. The clock is ticking, and we are exactly six weeks away from the election. On the bright side (for the center-left), the election campaign just begun and who knows what else is going to happen?

Our new Poll Trend tracker (Prof. Camil Fuchs is, as always, the brains behind the numbers) is based on all polls published over the past week. Take a look at the Likud-Right-Religious bloc and the Center-Left bloc. The graph is followed by some comments:


This week’s figures emphasize again a self-evident truth - one that has been repeatedly proven In Israel: whenever the agenda shifts to one of “us against the world”, or focuses on the conflict with the Arab world (in deeds or words), Israeli support for the right-wing bloc grows. This week was one in which the issue of construction in E-1 was front and center, and the uproar as the world rallied against plans to build in this area made the headlines. Yesterday, Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman gave the perfect example of the us-against-them agenda by invoking old suspicions concerning European criticism of Israel. These will have impact on next week’s graph, as well as the effect of Khaled Meshal’s visit to Gaza and his vitriolic speeches there. The threat of Syria possibly edging toward use of chemical weapons might not have a direct impact on Israel, but is also a stark reminder for Israelis of the complications and dangers of the Middle East – and danger, in Israel, means more power to the right.

Some parties were hoping this cycle to ride on a wave of Israeli interest in social issues, but these seem to have been cast aside, yet again. The Labor Party still enjoys relative more support on the left-of-center than other parties, but its focus on social issues – or as some would define it: its total lack of interest in other issues – is becoming problematic. Labor leader Yacimovich lost former defense minister Amir Peretz for that very reason (it is reasonable to argue that this was Peretz’ excuse, not his reason – but she handed him such an excuse to be used convincingly). And her total concentration on social issues makes her much less of a candidate for the Prime Minister’s Office than her main left-of-center rival, Tzipi Livni.

(Key: 1 - National Union and Jewish Home together)

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