Israelis elect a new parliament

Roughly six million Israelis are called on to elect a new parliament today, Tuesday. Polls put PM Benjamin Netanyahu and former army chief Benny Gantz neck and neck. Netanyahu has stated that if he is re-elected he will annex parts of the West Bank. What are his chances of another term?

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Berlingske (DK) /

Dangerous fantasies

With Netanyahu peace will never be restored in the region, Berlingske believes:

“Israel's prime minister stands for an uncompromising stance on the Palestinians. ... That any faith in peace has been lost is understandable, but also tragic. ... Sooner or later a leading Israeli politician will once more dare to negotiate with the Palestinians. ... Netanyahu has stressed that he won't tolerate a Palestinian state and on Saturday he raised the stakes by showing himself open to the idea of Israel annexing settlements in the Occupied West Bank. With this he was fishing for votes on the ultra-nationalist extreme. ... These febrile fantasies are dangerous. ... Ultimately the best guarantee for the country's security would be to make peace with the Palestinians”

Le Monde (FR) /

Bibi the populist

Le Monde explains why Netanyahu promised voters he would annex the West Bank:

“Words are not just soap bubbles, above all when they're pronounced by such a cunning and experienced leader as Benjamin Netanyahu. The words he pronounced on TV on April 6, three days before the elections, mark a personal turning point and paint a bleak picture of the country's future. ... Netanyahu's words confirm his headlong flight into populism and identitarianism. Fighting to survive and facing corruption investigations, 'Bibi' has organised a despicable political polarisation in Israel.”

Mérce (HU) /

Corrupt but indispensable

The Israelis vote for Netanyahu despite his bad image, political commentator Gábor Györi writes in Mérce:

“In Israel, like in Hungary, one section of society is fully aware of the corruption, Netanyahu's anti-democratic stance and the growing ideological, material and social division. It's even possible that they don't agree with the right's dominant nationalist ideology. But 'Bibi', as Netanyahu is known, has managed to make himself socially indispensable - as an imperfect giant among dwarves.”