Feb 5 2009
After a decade or so of liberal politicians running, or should I say ruining Israel, a strict conservative is starting to gain support.
Though it’s unlikely that he will beat Netanyahu in the election on Tuesday, far-right Yisrael Beiteinu (Our Home is Israel), led by Netanyahu’s Russian-speaking former aide Avigdor Lieberman, was on 18 or 19 seats. Just a month ago the party, which channels anti-Arab anger, was scoring around the same 11 seats it secured in a 2006 election. One of his most controversial issues is his belief that all Arabs should be epelled from Israel. (Something that should have been done in 1948 when the Arabs expelled nearly one million Jews from Arab countries and stole all their land and property).
Pollsters say Israelis have been turning to the right because of security worries after the war in the Gaza Strip and frustration with stalled peace talks with the Palestinians.
While Likud, which Netanyahu led as prime minister in the late 1990s, also backed the war, the main shift in votes has been to Lieberman, who has widened his appeal beyond his fellow million immigrants from the former Soviet Union to other Israelis keen to see a hard line taken against the Palestinians.
“If I am not mistaken, this will be the most right-wing election in the country’s history,” one of the country’s top columnists, Nahum Barnea, wrote in Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper.
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