Facing the consequences of the election

The results from last week’s Knesset election show a country that is virtually evenly split between center-right and center-left (the center-right has a very slight margin,) with the balance of power held by two religious parties. The latter are politically and socially conservative but primarily focused on their own communal interests. If they join Prime Minister Netanyahu’s next coalition, as they are likely to do, the governing center-right-religious bloc will have a majority of some 56%. It will have even more if Yesh Atid, a vaguely left-leaning center party, also joins the coalition.

The reality beneath the numbers is less clear-cut. While it is probably correct to say that the bulk of the center-right is united on the issue of a Palestinian state (they’re opposed to it,) there is no pro-Palestine state consensus on the center-left. Both Zionist Union and Yesh Atid have been nebulous when it comes to the Palestinians, preferring hackneyed and imprecise statements (e.g. “Jerusalem is Israel’s eternal capital”) to taking a clear stand. It’s probably fair to assume that close to half of the center-left voters do not accept the internationally-defined basis of an agreement with the Palestinians (’67 borders with land swaps, Jerusalem as the capital of both states etc.,) meaning that only a quarter of Israeli voters actually support the establishment of a Palestinian state. Continue reading