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Israeli Voters Are Shattering Several Myths

With hours to go, some election surprises

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Yair Lapid(AP)

As the polling in Israel continues, there are some real surprises that have upended much of the conventional wisdom about the Israeli elections.

Among the myths seemingly being laid to waste:

Myth #1: Israelis are disaffected and checked out.
Counterpoint: The voter turnout in Israel is the highest since 1999 (when Netanyahu was thrown out of office). The most recent numbers released by the Elections Committee show that almost 64% of Israelis have voted. The total may eclipse 70% by the end of the day.

Myth #2: The Israeli electorate is swerving to the right.
Counterpoint: The high voter turnout has done surprising things for what was supposed to be a country-wide rightward lurch. Among the main beneficiaries are center-left parties, who appear to be performing pretty well.

Myth #3: Naftali Bennett and The Jewish Home party were Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s biggest threat.
Counterpoint: As Bibi fretted that he was going to be flanked from the right by Naftali Bennett, so far it seems as Yesh Atid, led by Yair Lapid, is performing extraordinarily well and may well become the country’s second-largest party. Considering that Netanyahu campaigned largely on security to fend off Bennett’s surge, Yair Lapid and, to some extent, the Labor Party are reaping the benefits from a focus on the economic issues that the J14 tent protests brought to the surface in the summer of 2011.

Myth #4: The Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu superparty juggernaut was invincible.
Counterpoint: While the party will be the biggest, it has slipped significantly in the polls. There are reports, which may ultimately amount to spin, that panic has set in and Likud-Beiteinu meetings have devolved into bickering matches over who is to blame for the poor showing.

More to come.

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So all the hand wringing by the pundits — that Israel is lurching to the right, that democracy in
Israel is failing, that the country is being taken over by the Haredi — was all for naught. These results reflect a plurality of thoughts, perspectives, political persuasions and priorities. I do wish the pundits would understand Israel for what it is, not for what they project it to be. Israel is a thriving Democracy, with all the pain points associated with that form of government. Israel is not politically monolithic, insanely ideological, Nazi, made up of warmongers or any of the other lies used to smear her.

I’m curious to see how this is written about now. Will it be spun to make Israel once again look bad?

I will now proceed to hold my breath until Remnick, Goldberg and the other “experts” on Israel will finally realize chatting with their buddies in Haaretz does not actually give them a good understanding of what’s going on in Israel.

Myth #5: Israeli voters will always elect a national hero they can trust- the Israeli’s are tired of being taken for granted by the traditional politicians who think they can win an election without having a debate, or those who play their so called experience as a way to stop new blood. Lapid’s answer to them was “you have experience is mismanaging the country!”.Lapid is Israel’s Obama, Harper, Blair…The


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Israeli Voters Are Shattering Several Myths

With hours to go, some election surprises

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