At the start of the week, when the Gaza War was just a notion of the far-right government, most Israeli opposition figures were speaking out against the idea, insisting it was unnecessary and poorly timed. What a difference a few days makes.
Today, unless you count the handful of Arab MPs as real opposition, Israel’s political spectrum from left to right is solidly pro-war, with everyone, even those warning against the idea just days ago, cheering the conflict as a matter of course.
This of course is standard not only in Israel but many countries, where the nominally dovish parties quickly jump on the bandwagon for any war to avoid looking “unpatriotic.” With this war looking particularly politically cynical, seemingly more about boosting the ruling bloc’s election chances than anything on the ground, experts were still warning that to not support a war would be “political suicide.” So, as always, they switched to the pro-war side.
How much of an impact it is going to have on the election remains to be seen. Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who in last week’s polls was completely out of parliament, is now talking about wanting 13 seats in the election, and it doesn’t seem farfetched. For the center-left groups that were running “against” Prime Minister Netanyahu but are now appearing on TV to cheer his war, a muddied message could cost them significant support, as it did to the Israeli left in the 2009 election, which also came just two months after a Gaza War.