What will the election in Israel bring?
Israel will elect a new parliament tomorrow, Tuesday, for the fourth time in two years. Once again, coalition-building looks set to be a difficult process. According to the polls, Netanyahu's national conservative Likud will again emerge as the strongest party, but his partners from the right-wing religious end of the spectrum are losing popularity. Commentators discuss his campaign and what changes the election might bring.
Success against Covid politically exploited
Netanyahu has made the vaccination campaign the centrepiece of his election campaign, observes Nadav Eyal, chief international correspondent for Israel's Channel 13 television station, in a guest article for Corriere della Sera:
“In the Likud ads he shows the deserted streets of European cities, the closed shops and the gloomy atmosphere in comparison with the streets of Tel Aviv with its clubs, which are open almost without restrictions in Israel. As always with Netanyahu, he alone takes the credit. ... The first and obvious conclusion is that Covid is being used by politicians to conceal deep-seated problems - in Israel's case, political corruption. ... But far more important is the tribalism. Despite the global upheavals caused by the virus, the old 20th century-style politics is still there.”
Arab voters will tip the scales
Netanyahu has begun to woo Arab voters in recent days. Former military diplomat Laurenţiu Sfinteş explains why in Adevărul:
“Until recently, Netanyahu had avoided any contact with politicians in this community. ... As a result, there's been a strong turnout of Arab voters, with most of their votes going to the parties of the 'Joint List' [an alliance spanning socialist and liberal to Islamic-conservative parties]. ... With the 15 seats it won in the previous election, the electoral alliance was the third-strongest force in the Knesset. It's the nodal point between the potential centre-right or centre-left coalitions.”
Netanyahu's resignation the only long-term solution
For La Vanguardia, the main reason for the country's political instability is to be found at the top:
“The Israelis will vote tomorrow for the fourth time in two years. The first three elections failed to produce a stable government and everything points to the country remaining trapped in this electoral limbo as long as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu doesn't resign. ... Netanyahu is clinging to power because he is seeking a parliamentary majority to push through an immunity law tailor-made for himself, such is the extent to which his personal interests encroach on the collective well-being of Israel. In 2008, his predecessor Ehud Olmert resigned under pressure from his colleagues when he was being investigated for corruption, precisely in order to avoid a situation like this.”
No end to the gridlock
There will be no progress in the Israel-Palestine conflict, The Irish Times fears:
“To the distress of their friends and allies around the world, once again an Israeli election will unroll in which the plight of the Palestinians is almost entirely sidelined. Although the change in the US administration may well now stay a re-elected Netanyahu's hand over his more extravagant ambitions, like the now-deferred plans for annexation of the West Bank, the prospects of any positive initiatives arising out of tomorrow's voting remain dim.”