January 20, 2013
A BOERING ELECTION:The untried colors of Bennett : Had the campaign lasted any longer, there's no telling how much more support Netanyahu would have lost (DAVID HOROVITZ, January 20, 2013, Times of Israel)
The Likud held a not terribly impressive 27 seats in the outgoing Knesset. Avigdor Liberman's Yisrael Beytenu held 15. But far from raising their joint total beyond 42 in these elections, the polls show the two parties, running together as Likud-Beytenu, can expect no more than 34-38 seats. The Netanyahu-Liberman alliance seems to have alienated many of the Likud's traditional and Orthodox voters, who are switching in droves to Naftali Bennett's Jewish Home party. And pro-settlement voters are switching to Bennett too, concerned that Netanyahu is not reliably committed to expanding settlements -- which is somewhat ironic, given President Barack Obama's reported assessment that Netanyahu's insistent settlement-building plans will come to spell an existential threat to Israel.In these final weeks of the campaign, while Netanyahu limps toward the finish line, the momentum is emphatically with Jewish Home -- boosted, not harmed, by Bennett's assessment that an IDF order to dismantle settlements is fundamentally illegal; and undeterred by US-born Jewish Home prospective MK Jeremy Gimpel's documented relish for the theoretical prospect of a new Jewish temple replacing a "blown up" Dome of the Rock atop the Temple Mount.
Posted by Orrin Judd at January 20, 2013 9:20 AM