Opinion

Traitors, Trump, Annexation and Arabs: Key Reads on Israel's High-stakes Elections

If you're angry, confused, repelled or fascinated by the election campaign that's the fight of Netanyahu's life, and the potential birth of a new political era - these op-eds will shed light, and heat

A Likud party election campaign billboard depicting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu above a billboard depicting Kachol Lavan leader Benny Gantz. Petah Tikva, Israel April 7, 2019
\ NIR ELIAS/ REUTERS

The 2019 elections in Israel have been called unprecedented, a last chance to save Israel's democracy, a last chance to buttress liberal institutions and the rule of law, a referendum on Benjamin Netanyahu's swerve to the autocratic right, on his corruption and deliberate racism, on his West Bank annexation trial balloon, on his political marriage to Donald Trump and his engagement to Vladimir Putin.

Is it the end of an era – the Netanyahu Epoch – or another chapter in the career of Israel's most canny and longest-lasting premier? Can Netanyahu out-troll his accusers?

Can Netanyahu provide a poll-busting template for his populist right-wing 'brothers' in Europe and the Americas? Has he found a permanent formula for delegitimizing, and ultimately disenfranchising, the human rights, anti-occupation narratives of an already-subdued and unpopular left?

Has his strong-arm style and his longevity finally triggered the birth of a substantial, sustainable centrist camp in Israel's wildly fractious political culture?

The verdict of Israeli citizens and of history await. In the meantime, if you're angry, confused, repelled or fascinated by an election campaign that's both energized and disillusioned Israelis and pundits in equal measure, here are key Haaretz op-eds to expand and clarify the issues in this high stakes election.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaking to journalists in Jerusalem on February 3, 2019; former Israeli chief of staff Benny Gantz in Tel Aviv on January 29, 2019
AFP

Netanyahu? Gantz? Who Would American Jews Vote for in Israel’s Elections? | Opinion | Jonathan S. Tobin

Despite what Trump may think, U.S. Jews can't vote in Israel's elections. But if they could, the political chasm between them and most Israelis would be laid bare for all to see

Annexing the West Bank: Take Netanyahu's Pre-election Stunt Seriously | Opinion | Victor Kattan

Annexation would be disastrous for the Palestinians. It would also be enormously damaging for Israel. But Netanyahu knows his base has moved rightwards, and Trump will back him anyway

Only Five Arab Women Have Ever Served in Israel's Knesset. And It's Not Getting Any Better | Opinion | Anwar Mhajne

Arab women’s political activism still faces major obstacles, from discrimination to deep social conservatism. For local elections that's changing – but not in the legislature governing our lives

How Israel's Resurgent Right Wing Killed Politics, Silenced the Left, and Pushes Autocracy - or Theocracy | Opinion | Hagar Shezaf

In Israel's Orwellian elections, national 'unity' means no Arabs, self-censorship is rife, 'freedom' is vague and fear is a core political asset

An Israeli Arab woman walks past a campaign poster showing Israeli-Arab candidates in Kfar Manda, 16 kilometres northwest of the city of Nazareth. April 4, 2019
AFP

Leftists, Flock to the Polls in Droves | Opinion | Haaretz Editorial

The recognition that every vote counts is particularly true for this race, with its dramatic implications for Israel’s future

Israel's Last Election Before It Becomes an Illiberal Democracy | Opinion | Steven Klein 

Preserving Israel’s democratic institutions, independent judiciary and free press must take precedence above all else. Including peace with the Palestinians

Netanyahu Deserves to Win the Election. And We Israelis Deserve Him  | Opinion | Anshel Pfeffer 

Outside Israel, there's disbelief at Netanyahu's success when he’s so corrupt, divisive, racist, rejectionist and autocratic. But he's delivered, on his own terms, and Israeli voters have serially failed to demand better

Netanyahu and Erdogan Agree: Their Political Foes Are Traitors and Terrorists | Opinion | Louis Fishman

Facing elections, both leaders are playing from the same ethno-nationalist political playbook

A Netanyahu supporter wearing a Donald Trump mask with a sign reading in Hebrew "guardian of Israel" and a portrait of Netanyahu. Mahane Yehuda market, Jerusalem. April 7, 2019
AFP

Trump Just Boosted Netanyahu – but Handed Putin an Even More Priceless Gift | Opinion | Evan Gottesman and Abe Silberstein

Why Trump's electioneering Golan Heights move is so risky, transparent and foolish

It’s a Grave Mistake to Entrust American Evangelicals With Israel’s Future  | Opinion | Eric H. Yoffie 

Netanyahu thinks evangelicals are more reliable guarantors of U.S. support than liberal American Jews and fractious, inclusive groups like AIPAC. He’s wrong: the fury many U.S. Jews feel is directed against him, not Israel

Netanyahu Now Endorses Jewish Fascism | Opinion | Etan Nechin 

Netanyahu lost his moral compass years ago, but his electoral deal with Israel's most extreme racists is a moment of crisis, and a test, for American Jews

Non-Jews Are About to Lose the Right to Vote in Israel | Opinion | Samuel Heilman

The Israeli right is not so subtly moving toward an atmosphere of disenfranchising non-Jewish voters

Esther Solomon is the Opinion Editor of Haaretz English. Twitter: @EstherSolomon