Is Israel About to Have the Most Conservative Government in its History?

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam. He is completing a book on the international challenges America faces in the 21st century.


Pre-election surprises and unexpected turns and twists are the norm in Israeli politicians. Things change all the time and nothing is truly set.

Israel’s Foreign Minister Lieberman who heads the Yisrael Beiteinu party that has merged with Netanyahu’s Likud has just been indicted. This might have been serious business in another country, but the Israeli judiciary is controlled by the hard left and such indictments are fairly routine. Most top Israeli leaders have either been indicted or investigated for something. That atmosphere leads to a contempt for the judicial system.

The charges against Lieberman are routine and not all that serious, which means that there is a good chance that despite his temporary resignation, he isn’t going anywhere. No one has taken the trouble to fake rape charges against him, as was done to Israel’s former president, so the left hasn’t gone nuclear on Lieberman yet. And even a tabloid-ridden public might be suspicious of so many sexual assault charges against top political figures in so few years. Unlike filing abuse of power and economic accusations, these start to look suspect.

The bigger news though is the latest poll shows that Bayit Yehudi, the new conservative alternative to the Likud, moving up to 16 seats. With Kadima toast and Labor at 17, an actual conservative party might become the second or third largest party in the country, and be the big partner in a Likud coalition government.

To understand what this means, imagine if the Tea Party ran as a third party and took 10 percent of Congress. That’s even bigger news in Israel where no single party has a dominant majority of seats.

The Likud Israel Beiteinu alliance only scores 35 seats in the latest poll, or a third of the Knesset. Bayit Yehudi and Likud/IB together however will form the core of a coalition with a choice of partners from religious to secular. Netanyahu will still be in the driver’s seat, but a lot of the driving will be done by Bayit Yehudi.

Israeli conservatives have run alternative parties before, but their influence has been limited and was declining in recent years. If these numbers hold, then a gamechanger has taken place, likely because of the Hamas and Palestinian Authority shelling of major cities.

Hamas may have given Israel its most conservative government in history. But it’s not the only party responsible for this mess.

Netanyahu and Lieberman made the poor decision of merging parties in response to the threat of a leftist superparty. But the left never fielded such a party. Instead its parties are busy fighting each other. Labor has become a viable opposition leader, but it’s handicapped by Livni’s own private party, which scores seven seats. It’s technically called Hatnuah, but most people are referring to it as the Tzipi Livni Party, which tells you something, and it features a roundup of experienced political losers.

Yesh Atid, the left’s fake third party that was supposed to break out this election, is doing well enough with 12 seats, but it clearly has not broken out, because the election is coming down to security, even as the left feinted toward the economy.

Take all that together and Israel may be headed for the most conservative government in its history. But of course all this could change by next week.

Welcome to Israeli politics.

  • κατεργάζομαι

    "In every generation, there are always a few who understand.
    Always understand… even if you remain among the few."
    ~ Rabbi Meir Kahane

    "The land of Israel belongs to God, and He has decided to give it to the Jewish nation,
    in accordance with the covenant sealed on Mount Sinai, a covenant that no other nation
    was willing to undertake.

    " After a long exile, we've returned home. We bear no malice toward anyone
    and seek no harm to anyone. But we will not surrender any portion of our land to foreign powers,
    and if foreigners rise up against us to destroy us, we will fight against them and,
    with God's help, we will destroy them."
    ~Martin Wasserman

  • κατεργάζομαι

    RE: "Is Israel About to Have the Most Conservative Government in its History?"

    It would answer my fervent prayers for Netanyahu's Godly Wisdom and the Likud.

    When the Palestine Liberation Organization's (PLO) was formed in 1964, its primary goal was to destroy Israel. After the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, their goal became two-tracked:

    Either (1) destroy Israel outright (the same pre-1967 goal) or
    (2) the creation of an Arab-Palestinian state to be used as a launching pad from which to destroy Israel. Different strategies – same ultimate goal… a state not along side Israel, but IN PLACE OF Israel.

    The so-called "Palestinian People" have spoken loud and clear.
    They want Hamas to lead them.

    For the first time in history, people have used the democratic process to elect a known terrorist organization as its government.

    It's really that simple!

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Israeli's know it is becoming show time and leftist ideation that has made it a worse situation
    than otherwise would be still wants to surface, it would want to surface from Israeli's ruins.
    Leftism is a thorough going disease and a pox on a Nation but it in the end must be pushed
    aside if not plowed under and sanity take over where survival is at stake. That Israeli citizens
    take the side of the enemy is abhorent and must not be tolerated, no excuses, no appology,
    no backing down, no compromise, no nonsense, hard times, hard solutions………..William

  • Arlie

    As long as the young conservative lions are schooled in the wisdom of the prophets of Israel, God Bless them and keep them. May Israel stay strong and ever vibrant.

  • bob e

    this is very exciting..good luck fellas'..god bless ya'

  • yitz

    A lot can happen in a week's time, especially here in Israel. Bennett latest remarks has given Likud ammunition to chop him down to size – let's see what happens THIS week!