The 17th Knesset Elections: A Drive to Normalcy and Separation
This report looks at major trends shown by Israel’s March 2006 elections, despite the lowest voter turnout in the country’s history (fueled by disgust at corruption). Most important, the resounding defeat of the Likud and the Right in favor of the “center” confirmed a shift in political culture away from the Greater Israel ideology and permanent preemptive war against terrorism (i.e., the Palestinians) and the emergence of a broad consensus on unilateral separation (not peace), seen as the guarantor of security and normalcy. Also discussed are the early hopes raised by Amir Peretz’s election as Labor party head (and his subsequent domestication), the return of a certain discourse of social justice after years of uncontested neo-liberalism, and the durability of the “community” or ethnic vote. The letter ends with a look at coalition politics in Israel and the formation of the new government.
MICHEL WARSCHAWSKI is the founder and co-chair of the Israeli-Palestinian Alternative