When Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to undermine his strongest election challenger, Benny Gantz, he calls him a “Leftist”.
Israel was founded by the left, which dominated politics in the early years of the state. In 1992 it took 61 of the 120 seats in the Knesset, or parliament.
Nearly 30 years on, the left is forecast to take only around 25 seats in Tuesday’s election.
The left has been reeling after a series of setbacks – the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in 1995, the failure of his 1993 and 1995 Oslo accords to deliver peace with the Palestinians, many rounds of failed negotiations and years of bloodshed that have made both sides bitter and mistrustful.
Now, only 12 percent of Jewish Israelis identify themselves as left-wing, according to the Israel Democracy Institute. It was around double that a decade-and-a-half ago. Fifty-six percent now describe themselves as right-wing, up from 40 percent over the same period, and the amount who say they are centrists is little changed at 26.5 percent.
Benny Gantz’s Kahol Lavan party is neck and neck with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud ahead of Tuesday’s election, though the right-wing bloc still leads overall, a poll published Friday by the daily Yedioth Ahronoth shows.
The leftist’s dilemma is pretty strange this time around: People who oppose the occupation, anti-Arab racism and the criminalization of left-wing organizations with all their hearts are debating between Meretz, which ought to be their political home – and ultimately their strategic choice as well, since if Meretz doesn’t make it into the Knesset, the pipe dreams of a revolution will evaporate with it,
Itzik Shmuli reached the first place in the Labor Party’s primary on Monday ahead of the April 9 election, followed by Stav Shaffir, Shelly Yacimovich, Amir Peretz and Merav Michaeli.
Turnout among the Arab community could dip below 50 percent on April 9. It’s like ‘a soccer game in which the Jewish right and center-left are the two teams and the Arabs are the ball. Everybody’s kicking us and neither team wants us’ says one expert
Meretz chair Tamar Zandberg said the two parties had a “historical opportunity to build a large left-wing party against the Likud-Kahanist government. Unfortunately, Gabbay claimed he didn’t see the big chance and that there’s a procedural difficulty within the Labor Party.
Lawmaker Tzipi Livni announced in February she is retiring from politics and that her party, Hatnuah, won’t run in the April 9 election in order to prevent the center-left bloc from losing votes.
What Avi Gabbay did to Tzipi Livni on Tuesday was reminiscent of ISIS. He slit her throat in front of the cameras after several minutes of verbal torture. Those present at the Zionist Union faction meeting had a tough time dealing with what they were seeing.