Wednesday, March 18, 2015

After electoral trouncing, what future for the Israeli left?

A lot of lessons can be gleaned from Tuesday’s results. Some of them might be uncomfortable

By Haviv Rettig Gur, The Times of Israel

A lot of groups are licking their wounds after Likud’s trouncing of the Labor-led Zionist Union on Tuesday.

The Israeli left, to be sure, did better than it has done in almost a generation. It rallied around the Labor party, energized the base, sent thousands of volunteers to “get out the vote.”

And it lost. Spectacularly.

In the process, politicians, pundits, pollsters and analysts learned some important lessons – not just in humility, but also in the changing face of the Israeli electorate.

The right learned that Likud is its great indispensable party, the big tent to which it rallies in times of danger. That ethos of underlying unity among the usually bickering factions of the right headed off on Tuesday the left’s most potent challenge in almost two decades. It won’t be forgotten anytime soon.

We all learned that the right knows how to get out the vote. Or, at least, that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does. His method was simple: talk incessantly about the turnout of the enemy – the left, the Arabs, the shadowy foreign funding behind it all. It wasn’t exactly a noble or honest final few days in Likud’s campaign, but it worked.

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