By Benjamin Schuman-Stoler
Israel votes for a new leader today.
A super duper quick review:
Benjamin Netanyahu (left) and his Likud party still lead in the most recent polls, but Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni of Kadima can catch him. Defense Minister Ehud Barak (Labor), who was running third for most of the race, has fallen into fourth behind nationalist Avigdor Lieberman of Yisrael Beitenu (whom we wrote about last week).
Because Netanyahu’s strongest campaign point has been a call for aggressive national defense, the emergence of the hawkish Lieberman threatens to take just enough votes to give the election to Livni.
ITM readers, we at Moment are curious: Who would you vote for in today’s election?
By Jeremy Gillick
Two years ago, Ha’aretz correspondent Lily Galili profiled the right wing Israeli politician and founder of the Yisrael Beiteinu (“Israel is our Home”) Party, Avigdor Lieberman, for Moment.
Having served as Transportation Minister under Ariel Sharon, and having subsequently been fired in 2004 for opposing the withdrawal from Gaza, Lieberman “re-emerged,” Galili wrote in early 2007, “as a strange hybrid of an Israeli version of Jean-Marie Le Pen (the infamous French extreme right-winger) and respectable statesman.” Indeed, it was recently revealed that Lieberman was at one point a member of Rabbi Meir Kahane’s Kach Party, which was banned from Israeli elections in the late 1980s for inciting racism against Arabs.
Now, with Israeli elections just days away, Lieberman and his nationalist party are poised to make huge gains. Polls indicate that Yisrael Beitenu could win as many as 16 seats in Israel’s 120-member Knesset–potentially even more than Israel’s founding left-leaning Labor Party. And Benjamin Netanyahu, whose right-wing Likud Party is expected to beat out Kadima, the centrist one, has promised to give Lieberman a prominent post if he succeeds in forming a coalition. Continue reading
Posted in Archives from the past..., Events, History, Politics
Tagged Ariel Sharon, Avigdor Lieberman, Benjamin Netanyahu, Ehud Barak, Jean-Marie Le Pen, Kach, Kadima, Kahane, Moment Magazine, Olmert, Tzipi Livni, Yisrael Beitenu
You have no doubt heard that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, embattled in a corruption investigation and still taking heat from the 2006 Lebanon War, announced he will step down yesterday.
What do you think? Is this a good thing for Israel? Who should take Olmert’s place? The leading replacement candidates are Kadima’s own Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, as well as Defense Minister Ehud Barak (Labor) and Benyamin Netanyahu (Likud).
Who will step in?
(Stay tuned. We are working on republishing our profile of Olmert from the June 2006 issue.)
Israel will get a radar system to bolster her short-range missile defenses, according to CNN.com and Ha’aretz. Says the latter:
Signaling willingness to focus on defensive measures, [Israeli Defense Minister Ehud] Barak said he had secured the Pentagon’s agreement to post a powerful radar, known as the forward-based X-band, in Israel “before the new (U.S.) administration arrives” in January.
Built by Raytheon Co, the system has been described by U.S. officials as capable of tracking an object the size of a baseball from about 2,900 miles (4,700 km) away. It would let the Arrow engage an Iranian Shehab-3 ballistic missile about halfway through what would be its 11-minute flight to Israel. Continue reading