A new party tries to end Bibi’s reign

Ex-general Gabi Ashkenazi’s appeal to right-wing voters could make the difference in the latest attempt by a center-left coalition to retake Israel’s government.

Israel’s election campaign began in earnest yesterday, 47 days before the polls open, when former IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and MK Yair Lapid merged their parties to form the Blue and White Party. The political map has organized into what seems like the natural order of things in Israeli politics: A large right-wing party, Likud, a large left-wing party, Blue and White, and their satellites on each side.

Of course, Blue and White will tell you, as Gantz’s party’s jingle goes, “there is no right or left, just Israel before all.” And they have a mishmash of ideologies on their list, from former Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon and several other strong opponents of a Palestinian state, to Avi Nissenkorn, the chairman of the Histadrut Labor Union and others who are solidly on the left.

But this is the fourth election in a row in which it was basically the Bibi camp versus the anyone-but-Bibi camp, which is to its left. Continue reading

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