|The low turnout and Netanyahu’s photo finish||
The most important point in Israel’s recent parliamentary election was not the final result but the low turnout. Israeli officials usually try to downplay the significance of the turnout because they are concerned it would show the world how unpopular the Zionist regime is among its own citizens.
Less than 30 percent of eligible voters participated in the recent election, creating a serious crisis of legitimacy for the Zionist regime. The low turnout was mostly due to the deteriorating security and economic situation in Israel. The settlers are seriously concerned about the increasing vulnerability of the regime to numerous security threats, which has intensified in the wake of political developments in the Arab world.
Israel’s economy has also suffered many setbacks over the past few years, especially after its attacks on Gaza in 2008 and 2012. Governments around the world have begun to boycott Israeli products, such as medical equipment, medicine, and pesticides, which has created financial problems for Netanyahu’s government and put more economic pressure on the settlers. These were major factors behind the low turnout in the recent Knesset election.
Israel has always been ruled by a coalition government, but this time Netanyahu is facing a much tougher task since he will be forced to put together a coalition of parties with completely different views. This will certainly have a serious impact on Israel’s approach to security and foreign policy.
In light of the political developments in the Arab world, especially the rise of Islamists in Egypt and other countries, Israel is expected to redefine its strategic position in the region. Egypt, which served Israel more than any other state in the region under former dictator Hosni Mubarak, has now become a problem for Israeli officials due to the rise of the Islamists in Cairo. This has also boosted the morale of resistance groups in the region, especially Hamas, which is based in Gaza.
Given Netanyahu’s badly weakened position, he is expected to change his regional policies. Otherwise, he and his coalition government will face more and more difficulties in the future.
Jafar Qannadbashi is an expert on Africa and the Middle East based in Tehran.
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