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Kadima’s Nosedive

Another Israeli poll has come out, and both the centrist Kadima and leftist Labor parties have taken another hit. According to the study conducted by the Geocartography Institute (a respectable pollster), if the elections were held today, Likud would take 37 seats, compared with Kadima’s 25 — a decisive lead in the battle for Israel’s 120-seat parliament. More stunning still is the implosion of Labor, which is down to 7 seats — making the former ruling party into the seventh-largest party in the Knesset.

How to explain the sudden dive? Pretty simple: Israel has finally, fully, entered the global financial crisis. In the past two weeks, Israel’s stock market has been slammed, layoffs have been announced, the government began floating emergency bailouts and a safety net for pension funds, and the central bank cut the prime lending rate another half-point, for the second time in a month, to the lowest rate in Israeli history, of 2.5 percent. Of all the major parties’ leaders, Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu is widely perceived as being the most competent on economics. Add this to the other considerations I mentioned in my last post on the subject, and voila! — the return of the Israeli Right.

The elections are February 10, so there is still much time.



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