The Globe interprets a strong showing of political newcomer Yair Lapid and his Yesh Atid party in Israel’s recent election as a victory of Tel Aviv and its young, tech-savvy workforce, labeled the cellphone-only generation, over ultra-religious voters in Jerusalem (“A new political generation emerges in Israeli vote,” Editorial, Jan. 25). It considers this shift in the center of gravity as far healthier than a victory by a coalition of religious and hard-line parties, and offers a measure of hope. The editorial touts this interpretation as more useful than the traditional American way of looking at things where the “left” appears to have gained ground at the expense of the “right.”
But are these views correct?
While Lapid still favors a two-state solution, the success of his party primarily expressed voters’ endorsement of campaign platforms addressing improving the economy, creating more affordable housing, and eliminating special subsidies. These themes clearly resonated with the Israeli public, especially the middle class, and could just as easily have mobilized the American middle class electorate — the constituency that helped return President Obama for a second term.
Although most Israelis endorse and wish for peace with the Palestinians, they recognize there currently is no viable leadership on the other side to join them at the negotiating table. For once, a measure of hope must come from the Palestinians. Until their governing body eliminates Hamas-Fatah gridlock and speaks with one voice — one committed to ending incitement and the goal of eliminating Israel as a Jewish state — then the anticipated measure of hope will prove to be a mirage.