graphic: Washington Note

THE ISRAELI elections are on January 22 and there’s a consensus running through the discussion on what’s at stake. Analysts across the board are saying they’re about nothing.

The tweet above is a quote from a conference call I was on last week conducted by the Israel Policy Forum, with Alon Pinkas, who is a diplomat and was Consul general of Israel in the United States, sharing his analysis on the upcoming elections.

Daniel Levy, who is instrumental reading on all things Middle East, on the upcoming elections:

Indeed, with all the personal rivalries, splits, mergers, and divisions within the four major tribes, it’s remarkable how little this campaign has been about the serious issues facing Israel. There is precious little substantive policy debate, even by Israeli and general Western standards. Iran, for instance, has barely featured at all in this campaign season. The race has also not really been about the Palestinians. Bennett may have produced a plan for annexing 60 percent of the occupied West Bank and formalizing an apartheid system, but in election rallies, ads, and interviews, his party emphasizes social issues, military service, and his version of Jewish values, de-emphasizing not only his annexation plan but also the settler radicalism of his list.

This theme of “don’t mention the Palestinians” is also a driving motif for the centrist leaders of the Labor Party and Yesh Atid (a new party led by TV personality Yair Lapid), with their focus on domestic issues. Only Tzipi Livni, who broke from Kadima to found her own Hatnuah Party, and the left-wing Meretz Party emphasize the two-state option and the conflict, but Livni’s prescriptions convey a decidedly stale feel.

More tweets from the call with Alon Pinkas are below.