Victory for Benjamin Netanyahu
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing Likud party has defied forecasts and attained almost 24 percent of the vote in the country's parliamentary elections. This result should allow him to remain in office. The PM has come out on top through a policy of fear-mongering and will further isolate his country, some commentators write. Others point out that Palestinians still prefer him to his challenger Isaac Herzog.
Israel isolating itself further
Benjamin Netanyahu's surprisingly clear electoral victory is a panic reaction, the news portal Spiegel Online believes: "In recent weeks Netanyahu has been consistently pursuing a policy he's got down to a fine art: fear-mongering. A policy that induces voters to forget all the other unsolved problems and accept unquestioningly every blunder on the part of his government by stressing the existential threats at hand. ... To mobilise a few undecided marginal right-wing voters he made racist remarks on election day about 'hordes' of Israeli Arabs storming the polling stations. The previous evening he had publicly rejected the two-state solution with the remark that if he were re-elected there would be no Palestinian state. That puts him in direct conflict with the international community. ... Apart from the danger of the growing rifts in Israeli society, this also risks subjecting Israel to further international isolation."
Global perspectives: Rather Netanyahu than Herzog
Despite his hard line approach Palestinians prefer Benjamin Netanyahu to Isaac Herzog, the Qatai news broadcaster Al Jazeera believes: "Paradoxically, while all Palestinians agree on Netanyahu's terrible record, many prefer Netanyahu to Herzog because as they see it, he exposes the true face of Israel while the latter blurs Israel's real intentions while improving its standing in the West. As for the worst of all plausible scenarios, a national unity government between Netanyahu and Herzog is guaranteed to continue the diplomatic deadlock and deepen Israel's belligerence, while at the same time improve its international standing."
Beacon of democracy in Middle East? Think again
Israel discriminates and oppresses a large part of its non-Jewish population and can hardly be held up as a role model for democracy in the region, the left-liberal daily The Independent criticises: "A state that exerts its control over a people by means of a decades-old illegal occupation is not a democracy. And neither is a state that declares itself only for Jews and ignores the rights of the indigenous non-Jewish people. Israel doesn't belong to all its citizens and those under its control. It is an ethnocratic, settler colonial state that flouts international law on a daily basis by oppressing the Palestinians in varying states of occupation. And it does so with European and American complicity. The shining beacon of democracy in the Middle East? Far from it."
The promised land of inequality
Although Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wisely left economic issues out of his election campaign, Israel has become a land of inequality, economist Paul Krugman comments in the left-liberal daily La Repubblica: "Israel has experienced a dramatic widening of income disparities. ... According to Luxembourg Income Study data, the share of Israel's population living on less than half the country's median income ... more than doubled, to 20.5 percent from 10.2 percent, between 1992 and 2010. ... There is an extreme concentration of wealth and power among a tiny group of people at the top. ... In short, the political economy of the promised land is now characterized by harshness at the bottom and at least soft corruption at the top."