"Hardline," "Far-Right-Wing Government" on Rise in Israel

Isabel Kershner takes the political temperature in Jerusalem after the incursion into Gaza, and seems displeased with the results.

As the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas enters its second week, reporter Isabel Kershner takes the political temperature in Jerusalem, in a liberally slanted fashion, in Tuesday's "Gaza War Gives Bigger Lift to Israel's Right Than to Those in Power." The original online headline, still visible at the top of the link Tuesday afternoon, was harsher: "Gaza War Strengthens Israel Hard-Liners, Not Those in Power."

Kershner doesn't seem terribly pleased about the benefits accruing to Israel's conservative party Likud; her story contained three ideological labels to describe Benjamin Netanyahu's party, including the highly unflattering descriptor, "far-right-wing government." (A Nexis search indicates the Times has never used the phrase "far-left-wing government.")

With two weeks to go before the Israeli elections, the politicians who seem to have benefited the most from the military offensive against Hamas in Gaza are those who were not involved in planning or carrying out the war.

That is not because Israelis have regrets or have become faint-hearted about the casualties and destruction in Gaza. To the contrary, there appears to have been a shift further to the right, reflecting a feeling among many voters that an even tougher approach may now be required.

Recent polls indicate that Likud, Benjamin Netanyahu's right-wing opposition party, has retained and even increased its lead. The other party that appears to have gained the most ground is the nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu, led by Avigdor Lieberman.


The Likud leader is presenting himself first as a champion of security, and then as a good steward of the economy. Mr. Netanyahu also talks of advancing practical arrangements with the Palestinians and says that if elected he will try to form as broad a governing coalition as possible, partly to appeal to the Israeli mainstream and partly to allay international fears about the upheavals a far-right-wing government could bring.