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The Israeli Elections

Monday, February 9, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

The Jerusalem Post’s Shmuel Rosner is all but telegraphing an upset in tomorrow’s Israeli elections, which would mean that Benjamin Nentanyahu would not be returning in triumph to lead Israel through the potentially wobbly years of American partnership under Barack Obama. Like many American conservatives with only a passing familiarity with Israeli politics, I had assumed that America’s big lurch left would mean that Israelis would lean right to make sure there is a countervailing force should President Obama’s “open hand” diplomacy become appeasement by another name.

But as Rosner points out, the left-right thing doesn’t work so well in the Jewish State, and the rise of the Israel Beiteinu party under Avigdor Lieberman has greatly complicated Nentanyahu’s campaign, splitting the conservative vote and making possible the return of a Kadima-led government strengthened by the defection of left-wing voters from Labor as a means of stopping Nentanyahu.

The splitting of the conservative vote combined with strategic voting on the left could produce the stunner that Rosner is hinting at, and disappoint America’s national security conservatives who are counting on a Prime Minister Netanyahu to push President Obama towards realism about Iran.

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