Cite: Sandler and Frisch, 2009 Knesset Elections from a Foreign Affairs Perspective


Sandler, Shmuel and Hillel Frisch. "The 2009 Knesset Elections: A Foreign Affairs Perspective." Israel Affairs 16,1 (2010): 1-13.



Israel’s general elections in 2009 yielded three major outcomes: 1) the replacement of the bi-polar system that characterized Israeli electoral politics between 1977 and 2003 in which most parties are aligned to one of the two principal parties by a more flexible multi-party system. 2) The nearly total collapse of the Labor party and the Zionist left; for the first time since the 1920s, the Labor party was no longer a major political player, and 3). Kadima’s electoral relative success, despite scandals haunting it since 2006. Kadima has basically superseded Labor without necessarily adopting its ideology. We argue (contrary to Henry Kissinger’s quip that Israel never had a foreign policy but only a domestic policy) that primarily external factors and processes – chiefly the failure of the Oslo process in the 1990s – yielded these three outcomes.




Keywords: Israeli elections; foreign affairs; Kadima; Labour; Likud; bi-polar party system; multi-polar party system

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