Preliminary thoughts on the Israeli election

With 95 percent of votes counted in Israel, it looks like Kadima will win 29 Knesset seats. Labor is next with 20. Likud appears to have won only 12 seats. Turnout is said to have been low.

Kadima’s showing isn’t very impressive, but with the help of Labor it may well be able to put together a center-left coalition that can govern without the help of the Arab parties.

I suspect that Labor is the real winner (along with the Palestinians who are celebrating Likud’s defeat). Kadima’s policy with respect to the Palestinians probably will be to Labor’s liking — i.e. soft. And in exchange for Labor’s support, Kadima may well have to move away from free market economic policies. Thus, the coalition may prove to be center-left in name only, as a party that remains highly unpopular drives the country leftward.

It’s interesting, but not heartening, to compare these fragmented election results, in the context of low voter turnout, to the crystal clear Palestinian election results. A people who knows what it wants has a big advantage over a people who is unclear. And when the former wants destruction of the latter, things become scary.

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