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Why Did the Israeli Left Drive Itself from Power?


So another Israeli coalition has crashed, necessitating new elections. This one lasted only 18 months.

The main distinguishing feature of this coalition was that it didn’t include ultra-Orthodox parties. Just about all Israelis on the left and center, and many on the right, see these parties as problematic. They demand welfare transfers and funding for seminaries that do not teach secular subjects, and they push strict religious laws that, for example, make it severely difficult to convert to Judaism.

But—at least ca. 2012—a coalition without ultra-Orthodox parties meant including two parties, Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid (There Is a Future) and Tzipi Livni’s Hatnuah (The Movement) that, while touting themselves as “centrist,” were leftist in essence. It was those two party leaders, Lapid and Livni, whom Benjamin Netanyahu, prime minister from the right-of-center Likud Party, fired yesterday, putting a final end to the coalition.