American conservatives who view Israeli elections on September 17th as a simple “yes” or “no” on Prime Minister Netanyahu, will miss the underlying good news about the electorate. Polling shows complete collapse of the Israeli left; the secular, socialist Labor Party that dominated the first 30 years of Israel’s modern history will barely win 5% of the new Knesset.
All left leaning parties, including the “Joint List” that represents Israeli Arabs, draw a combined total of only a fourth of the voters. Even the centrist “Blue and White” Party that is challenging Netanyahu’s Likud for national leadership, is decidedly conservative by historic standards, led by former generals. Despite the distracting headlines about Netanyahu and corruption charges against him, the Israeli public shows growing commitment to free markets, religiosity and a strong security policy.
Whatever the final results, the voters have undeniably moved to the right.