Netanyahu's win — a step back to Israel's 19th century?

Published March 18th, 2015 - 03:31 GMT

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's impressive victory in Tuesday's elections can be explained by going back to the early days of the state. 

The Ashkenazi immigrants from Eastern Europe were seen as having an unfair advantage over their Sephardic counterparts from North Africa and the Middle East. The people who are called "the second Israel" have complained since then that the "elites" in the Israeli Left, the media and academia have discriminated against them. 

The "second Israel" did not like the way the media seemed to be deposing of Netanyahu and bringing to power the Left under the leadership of Zionist Union leaders Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni, who were raised not far from each other in North Tel Aviv and are both the children of former Knesset members.

The Zionist Union inadvertently played into Netanyahu's hands with a campaign of "anyone but Bibi."

Zionist Union campaign strategist Reuven Adler, who joined the campaign late, said Wednesday morning that he was against that strategy from the start. By contrast Likud strategist Aron Shaviv got the Israeli Right correct. He sent Netanyahu to give countless interviews — it made him look like he was panicking (and he was), but the public got the message. 

Many who considered staying home, or voting for one of the Likud's satellite parties, hurried to the polling stations to cast ballots for Likud. People who have not voted in years — or at least not for Likud — felt the need to save Israel from the Left, Iran and from a hostile international community

On Monday, Shaviv revealed a poll that for the first time, less than 50 percent of the public thought Netanyahu would form the next government. Shaviv said at the time that if it gets closer to 40 percent the Likud will win the election. 

In Netanyahu's appeal to the "second Israel" he succeeded, and because of that, he won a fourth term. 


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