Monday, February 2, 2009

Right-wing party may surpass Labor to become 3rd-Largest in Israel Knesset

The nationalist Israel Beiteinu (Israel Our Home) party has seen a rise in its poll numbers and may gain as many as 16 Knesset seats in this months elections. It is entirely possible that the center-right Likud could win 35-40 seats, meaning that these two parties could form a coalition government (requiring 60 of 120 seats) with the addition of one or two small parties and completely exclude Labor and the "centrist" Kadima.

Thus it is possible that Israel may soon have a government that is serious about confronting Iran and its local tentacles of Hezbollah and Hamas. From the Jerusalem Post article:

"The Israeli voter is tired of politicians telling everyone what to do but not how to do it," Ayalon said. "We have a very clear message, and yes, there are some who call us racist or fascist, but it's simply untrue. What we're saying is that every citizen of this country should pledge allegiance to it, just like American citizens pledge allegiance to the flag, or new immigrants to America pledge an oath of allegiance before receiving citizenship. Our litmus test is not based on race or ethnicity, but loyalty to the state."

Ayalon agreed that his party had received a boost from the images seen during Operation Cast Lead, but insisted that the problems his party aimed to address had been around for much longer.

"There are some who say that we are going to radicalize the Arab population," he said. "I say, they don't need us to radicalize them. They've been radicalizing themselves for the last 30 years, and we are not going to shy away from that. I think Israelis, regular Israelis, respect that, and we will continue to insist that Israel has the right to request solidarity from its citizens, especially in a time of war."

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