The problems of the Israeli left

There are many problems of the Israeli left and, as reported in Haaretz, a new think tank called Molad is hoping to do something about it.

Comments by Molad officials Avner Inbar and Assaf Sharon highlight the longer-term shifts in both Israeli voting behavior and partisan alignments:

The right has increased its strength by a negligible figure of 4 percent in 20 years, but the left has dropped a whopping 20 percent. “The public,” says Assaf Sharon, “hasn’t moved to the right. It simply fled from the left.”

“The right in Israel operates as a united bloc,” says Inbar. “Anyone who votes for Lieberman or Shas knows that he or she is voting for a government to be headed by Netanyahu.”

In contrast, the left does not present a clear agenda, and lacks the structure of a cohesive political camp.

The point about prospective post-electoral alignments being understood by the electorate (and conveyed by the parties themselves) is important in such a fragmented system. The broader “right” camp, which includes the religious parties, is indeed more cohesive than the “left”. But it is less clear to me the extent to which this is a tactical problem–as Inbar seems to be implying–and the extent to which it is more structural. That is, the “left”, even when it was being led by the actually rather right-leaning Kadima, and even when Kadima won the most seats, as in 2009, is just not well positioned to attract coalition partners out of the diverse partisan agents of different Israeli voting blocs–especially with respect to the religious parties. ((Kadima led the government both before and after the 2006 election, but at that time, unlike in 2009, it was not pretending to be the leader of a center-left camp. It was smack in the center, and made up largely of ex-Likud MKs.))

Well, the article does say that Molad sees this as a ten-year project…

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