The World Today for October 31, 2022
NEED TO KNOW
When Israeli voters cast their ballots for parliament on Nov. 1, they will arguably be making the most important political choice in a generation, argued Times of Israel columnist David Horovitz recently. Specifically, Horovitz rang alarm bells about the far-right Religious Zionism party, which aims, he contended, to gut the independence of the judicial system and give excessive power to whoever has a majority in parliament.
Religious Zionism’s proposal, for example, would likely help former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu elude the three charges of fraud and breach of trust he is currently facing in Israeli courts, Horovitz claimed.
The upcoming Israeli election – the fifth since 2019, as i24 News reported – is undoubtedly about Netanyahu. Serving as prime minister from 1996 to 1999 and from 2009 to 2021, he barely hung on to power for years until his popularity took a blow when he was indicted on fraud charges. The opposition managed to cobble together a coalition to oust him last year.
As the Washington Post explained, the new government collapsed due to infighting – they really only agreed on getting rid of Netanyahu – and now polls say that Netanyahu and his fellow conservatives are running neck and neck with their rivals.
A major factor that could affect the election is turnout among Arab voters, who comprise a fifth of Israel’s population, added the Guardian. Arab voters are key to keeping moderate Prime Minister Yair Lapid in office, according to Foreign Policy magazine.
The politics of personality don’t include other extremely important issues.
New Palestinian resistance groups like the Jenin Brigades and Lion’s Den have shifted Palestinians’ resistance to Israeli policies in the occupied territories of the West Bank and Gaza, Middle East Eye reported. The groups call for direct violence against Israeli troops and settlers and criticize Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who cooperates with Israel and recently called off elections he was expected to lose. They appear to be preparing for a new, full-scale “intifada,” or uprising against Israeli influence, noted Agence France-Presse.
Domestic tension within Israel is also rising. TikTok star Hadar Muchtar, 21, for instance, launched her political movement, Youth on Fire, to urge her fellow young citizens to vote on Nov. 1. Disaffection among young people over the rising cost of living in the Jewish state is central to her project. As Al-Monitor wrote, rent and transportation are 40 percent more expensive in Israel than in the 19-nation Eurozone.
Netanyahu evidently didn’t address those issues well while in power. His rivals evidently couldn’t do so. Both sides will have to deal with the dissatisfaction they’ve fostered.
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