March 17, 2015

Israel Elections: Centrist Politics Gains Momentum Against Netanyahu Amid Focus On Social And Economic Issues

Featuring Ilan Goldenberg

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made headlines on the eve of his country’s tightly contested elections with an apparent disavowal of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, vowing that if he is re-elected there will be no Palestinian state. While Netanyahu’s statement is a commentary on the current state of negotiations, it is also testament to the dire political straits he and his right-wing Likud party find themselves in as centrist parties gain momentum.

The last polls released before Tuesday's vote showed the center-left Zionist Union bloc with a clear lead over Likud, with surveys by two of Israel’s leading newspapers predicting that the party would secure afour- to five-seat advantage in the country’s 120-seat Knesset. The expected success of the centrist appeal is a reflection of the Israeli public’s growing emphasis on social and economic concerns over the security issues that the prime minister has made a cornerstone of his campaign, experts said.

While Netanyahu has primarily emphasized the threat of a deal with Iran over its nuclear program, Israeli voters have been far more concerned with housing prices and the cost of living. The two issues dominated a recent debate among party leaders, with Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog pledging to make 300,000 apartments available while subsidizing housing ownership.

Read the full article at International Business Times.

  • Ilan Goldenberg

    Senior Fellow and Director, Middle East Security Program

    Ilan Goldenberg is Senior Fellow and Director of the Middle East Security Program at the Center for a New American Security. He is a foreign policy and defense expert with ext...