Israeli Voters Shift Towards Center

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Today’s Top Stories

1. Israel’s center-left parties made surprising gains in yesterday’s elections. For general overview of what happened and what’s next, see the Times of Israel, Jerusalem Post, YNet and The Media Line. More on the elections below.

2. A Palestinian study suggests Gaza’s population expand into the Sinai. The Jerusalem Post adds:

Unconfirmed reports published in a number of Egyptian newspapers recently claimed that Hamas has been planning to settle Palestinians in Sinai and declare a Palestinian state there. Many Egyptians have strongly come out against the alleged plan, calling on their government to prevent Palestinians from moving to Sinai.

3. Israeli diplomat to Hurriyet: Turkey blew an opportunity to mediate during November’s Gaza conflict:

The Turkish government could have played a mediating role but it refused to do so. The situation itself invited Turkey to play a major role, not at the expense of Egypt,” Yigal Palmor, Foreign Ministry spokesman, recently told daily Hürriyet.

“Parallel to Egypt it was so obvious that Turkey had a role to play, but they chose not to do so. They only talked to the Egyptians and Hamas, but they never talked to us. This was a great lost opportunity,” he added.

4. See HonestReporting’s response to the elections:  The Media, Not Israeli Voters, Take the Hardline. Mainstream media expectations confounded as Israeli electorate moves towards the center. And your post-election coverage isn’t complete without The Israel Election Drinking Game.

Israel’s Election

Emerging as the new “kingmaker,” Yair Lapid’s basking in Big Media’s attention. I preferred CNN‘s look at Lapid’s rise.

The Times of Israel lists the 120 people who made the cut for the next Knesset. And YNet looks at some possible coalition scenarios as well as the Knesset’s 53 new members.

Israeli-Arab leaders lamented low turnout. In a deadlocked Knesset, Arab parties would’ve tipped the scales, but voters opted not to participate. Don’t tell me Israeli democracy is incapable of representing the Arab community. YNet quotes Ahmed Tibi:

“I have no doubt that we will continue to lead the Arab sector,” MK Tibi said. “But if the voter turnout in the Arab sector had gone up by 10% we could have toppled the Right’s rule and push Netanyahu and Lieberman from leadership. This was a missed opportunity.”

Tibi added that he was “Very disappointed by the fact that Netanyahu will stay in power because some chose to boycott the elections.”

Dan Senor made some waves with this tweet on President Obama’s recent comments:

Dan Senor

Because of the election results, Israeli stocks traded in the US tumbled while Israeli stocks traded in Tel Aviv gained.

While a Washington Post staff-ed called on the White House to “re-set” its relationship with Netanyahu, Tom Friedman offered a peace plan of his own that “breaks the rules.”

For more commentary/analysis, see Aaron David Miller, Christian Science Monitor, Christiane Amanpour’s CNN interview with David Remnick, David Horovitz, Herb Keinon, Benny Avni, The Atlantic, Reuters, and Jennifer Rubin.

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