The Israeli Election: A Vote for Internal Change

(Jerusalem Post) Herb Keinon - The Israeli electorate went to the polls Tuesday and sent their leaders an unmistakable message: Change. Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett, political novices, are the country's poster boys for change - and they did astonishingly well. The old guard took it on the chin. However, the results show that the change the country is looking for is not necessarily a change in external policy, but changes within. A vote for a dramatic change in the country's diplomatic/security direction would have meant a torrent of voters for Livni, or Meretz, or even Kadima, all of which championed a different diplomatic position. Lapid, Shelly Yacimovich and Bennett ran primarily on domestic matters: a more equitable distribution of the army and tax burdens, the cost-of-living issue, and inculcating Jewish and Zionist values. Voter turnout was over 66%, compared to 57.5% in the recent U.S. elections. This engaged and concerned electorate is supremely aware of the external challenges it faces: from Iran, which calls for the country's destruction, to an Egypt with a president who calls Jews the descendants of apes and pigs, to an imploding Syria, to a Palestinian Authority that has done nothing to show it is interested in an end-of-conflict agreement. But Israelis do not feel they can necessarily impact those issues. They realize that there are actors on the other side whom they are not going to be able to influence. The results bespeak a nation that has accepted the things it cannot change, and is now focusing on what it believes it can.

2013-01-23 00:00:00

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