March 13, 2015

The Israeli election, explained

It's the final week of campaigning before Israel's March 17 election — and no one knows for sure how it's going to turn out.

Israeli polls can be unreliable, and in the Israeli system, getting the most votes doesn't guarantee that your party's leader gets to lead the new government. So far, though, polls show a very tight race between incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-leaning Likud Party and the lead opposition faction, the center-left Zionist Union made up of Isaac Herzog's Labor Party and Tzipi Livni's much smaller Hatnua.

The big issues in the election are, of course, security — on which Netanyahu has centered much of his campaign, in large part by emphasizing his opposition to Iran — and the economy, on which the left seems to have more of an advantage. But issues alone will not determine the Israeli election: you've got to understand that the present state of Israeli politics, and the somewhat peculiar structure of the country's electoral system, give the Israeli right a real structural advantage.

Read the full article at Vox.


  • Ilan Goldenberg

    Former Senior Fellow and Director, Middle East Security Program

    Ilan Goldenberg is the former 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 expe...

  • Nicholas Heras

    Former Fellow, Middle East Security Program

    Nicholas A. Heras is a former Fellow at the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), working in the Middle East Security Program. His work focused on the analysis of complex...