Foreign Policy Continues to Take Back Seat in Israeli Election

Left-Center to Far-Right, Few Differences Seen in Likely Policies

by Jason Ditz, January 08, 2013

Members of the foreign press in Israel attended what was expected to be a high-profile foreign policy debate ahead of the January 22 election. What they got was a collection of politicians across the spectrum who concede that there will be little difference in any of their actual policies.

On the surface, the foreign policy differences are great. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is uniquely bent on attacking Iran as soon as possible, while Naftali Bennett, leader of Jewish Home, is the only major candidate opposed to Palestinian statehood on general principle.

And Bennett did try to press the issue of Palestinians never being allowed a state, insisting a Hobbesian state of permanent war for 200 years would result from ever yielding to Palestinian ambitions. But in the end, even he insisted on focusing on domestic issues, even though it was supposed to be a foreign policy debate.

Everyone else insisted Bennett’s position was unlikely to be materially different from their own, with the far-right firebrand likely to give lip-service to statehood to placate the international community, while the rest might be a little more sincere in theory but no less interested in getting a deal done in practice.

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