The ideological left in Israel has been in free-fall for two decades, and now Labor and Meretz combined have a grand total of 11 seats.
A milestone passed this weekend with no fanfare and hardly anyone taking notice. It was the 20th anniversary of the last time a left-wing party won a general election in Israel.
Ehud Barak’s One Israel, a combination of Labor and smaller parties, won with 26 seats, with Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud receiving 19. At the time, there were direct elections for prime minister, and Barak won with 56.08% to Netanyahu’s 43.92%.
But Barak’s tenure as the country’s 10th prime minister was short-lived, and the Likud reared back into power two years later in 2001 under Ariel Sharon. In the two decades since, no left-wing party has won an election in Israel. The historic Labor Party has been in decline ever since, with the exception of 2015, when it surged to 24 seats under the name Zionist Union. Similarly, Meretz, which received 10 seats in the 1999 election, never returned to those glory days.
The ideological Left in Israel has been in free-fall for two decades; in the April 9 election, Labor and Meretz together garnered a grand total of only 11 seats. Continue reading