Dan Diker on Israel’s elections

Dan Diker is a foreign policy analyst with the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He writes from Jerusalem on Israel’s elections:

Perhaps Power Line can help CNN radio get its arms around Israeli politics. I heard a report last night that indicated they may need some assistance. ( (I overheard CNN while commenting from Jerusalem on northwest Florida’s talk radio station 1330 AM WEBY.) CNN reported at 4:30 p.m. Central time that If Tzippy Livni’s Kadima Party ends up taking the greatest number of mandates she will likely be Israel’s next Prime Minister, and CNN emphasized, “the first woman since Golda Meir to take the post.” Well, it may sound like good “top of the hour” headline news, but its simply inaccurate and misleading.

Israel boasts — many say suffers from — a parliamentary political system that is based on ruling coalitions. Therefore, enthusiasm over Kadima Party’s 28 seats is out of place. It means simply that approximately 23 percent of the Israeli electorate voted Kadima/ Livni, while 77 percent did not.

The real headline news of yesterday’s elections is the remarkable revival of conservative Likud Party led by Israel’s version of a card carrying “Republican,” Benjamin Netanyahu. The Likud in leading with its security first and freer market economic policies, has managed to climb out of the deep dark hole of its near fatal 12 seats in the current Knesset to 27– and perhaps as many as 29 seats by the final tally that will include soldiers-and-surplus votes.

The other political note from to take down is the landslide victory for Israel’s political right bloc that has skyrocketed from 50 to 64 seats and maybe as many as 66 in tomorrow’s final tally. That nearly 30 percent growth is a statement by the Israel public that Israel wants a Prime Minister — in all likelihood Mr. Netanyahu — who will protect Israel’s vital interests such as defensible borders in the West Bank and a United Jerusalem under Israeli sovereignty even if those positions do not endear him to the Palestinians, some in Europe, and the US State Department.

The Israeli public’s nod to the conservative Likud and the right of center bloc is an expression of the Israeli public’s sense of confidence and national self respect that were severely undermined by the “concessions for terror” policies of the Sharon and Olmert governments.

Jerusalem Post editor David Horovitz has a similar reading of Israel’s election results.

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