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Game-Changer: Netanyahu-Lieberman Pact Turns Israeli Politics Upside-Down

•, by Jason Ditz

In the most recent polls, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party was set to win by far the most seats in the next election. Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu Party was polling in the top 4, depending on source, and at times it was suggested they could finish as high as second place.

So the combined Likud-Beiteinu voting list with Netanyahu at #1 and Lieberman at #2 should be unstoppable, right?
 Perhaps not, though that’s certainly the theory that the party leadership is going with. The far-right Likud merging with the even more far-right Beiteinu, however, changes the political landscape considerably, and has everyone scrambling.

Though the secular far-right seems sewn up now, the merger threatens Likud’s claim to be on the “moderate” side of Israel’s far-right political spectrum, and Netanyahu can no longer seem like the sane choice simply by comparison with the ever-bellicose Lieberman when they are sharing a ticket and Lieberman is now seen as the “heir apparent” for Likud.

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