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Forget everything you thought you knew about Israeli elections

Picture Credit: Knesset Israel

By Yehuda Shlezinger | Israel HaYom
December 25, 2020

With a pandemic upon us, we can bid farewell to talk of evacuating settlements and one state for two peoples and say goodbye to disputes over public transportation on Shabbat. Instead let us welcome a new agenda, one that focuses on medical workers and scientists, small businesses, individual freedoms, and the fairly simple campaign promise of a return to normalcy.

The word “historic” tends to get thrown around quite a bit lately. The historic peace accords, historic flights to the United Arab Emirates, the historic US recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, the historic US decision to move its embassy to Jerusalem.

Well, you can now add another item to the list: the historic election campaign.

No, there’s nothing historic about Israel going to an election. After all, that’s become something of a routine over the last two years. It’s because this election campaign will change everything we thought we knew about Israeli elections.

Up until now, things were fairly simple. It was Right versus Left, the Likud’s Menachem Begin versus Labor’s Shimon Peres.

All that is about to change. It will be the Right versus the Right, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu versus New Hope leader Gideon Sa’ar and Yamina party head Naftali Bennett. The kinds of slogans used by the Likud in each of the previous elections, “Gantz. Left. Weak,” comes to mind, are irrelevant when you are contending with right-wing hawks like Bennett, Sa’ar, and Bezalel Smotrich, whose Tkuma party is a member of Yamina.

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