Three months ago (17-MAR-2015), Israeli’s re-elected Prime Minister Netanyahu (Likud). If you were following the polls in January, it looked like Isaac Herzog (Labor/ Zionist Union) was likely to unseat Netanyahu. There were a few things that resulted in quite a bit of press during first quarter of 2015, namely active support of Isaac Herzog by US White House, significant controversy around Prime Minister Netanyahu speaking on Congress on 03-MAR-2015 regarding the pending P5+1 Nuclear Deal with Iran, and deep concern regarding continued Middle East instability (Gaza, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Iran…).
From an American perspective, I have heard many friends state that they felt PM Netanyahu won because the Israeli public bought into fear and distrust tactics. Such notions would directly relate to the last of the three items I listed. Personally, I feel most Israeli’s decision between the two front runners was not directly influenced by the Middle East’s instability. I feel that PM Netanyahu won because of President Obama’s open support for Isaac Herzog and Herzog’s trust in President Obama to do the right thing in terms of Israel’s interest as related to the Iranian Nuclear Deal/ Negotiations. The impending Nuclear Deal is the one subject that is on most everyone’s mind, especially Israelis.
Most Israelis do not have faith in the deal being negotiated, nor that the negotiators are committed to stopping Iran’s march towards a weaponized nuclear program. Therefore, voting for a PM candidate that was quoted as being supportive of the President Obama’s Nuclear Deal probably resulted in great pause for many Israelis to re-evaluate who they would vote for. I feel if President Obama’s negotiations with Iran did not shift to a policy of containment and was firm in positioning, then the election shift would have been less likely. Also I feel if Herzog was outwardly critical of the nuclear deal being brokered, he might have lessened his direct association with President Obama.
In the end, Isaac Herzog hitched his wagon to the wrong horse.