Israeli Right Sees Opening in Political Chaos
Posted on Aug 1, 2008
As if the situation in the Middle East couldn’t get any worse, this week’s news that scandal-plagued Prime Minister Ehud Olmert will resign has been seized upon by right-wing Israeli politicians, who believe the parliamentary chaos caused by Olmert’s departure will open the door for a return to hard-line, ultranationalist government.
Israel’s ultra nationalist parties yesterday [Thursday] seized on Ehud Olmert’s decision to stand aside as prime minister to push for an early election, which would most likely return the hawkish Likud leader, Binyamin Netanyahu, to the helm.
While Olmert’s decision has thrown Kadima, his centrist party, and the nation into turmoil, Israel’s rightwing parties appeared to galvanise in calling for an end to the coalition government.
Netanyahu, a former prime minister who was also dogged by corruption allegations but nevertheless has led the polls as a potential prime minister for months, said: “This government has reached an end. National responsibility requires a return to the people and new elections.”
From loyalty tests to racially influenced settlement strategies, the Israeli right, embodied in politicians like Avigdor Lieberman, is organizing ahead of Olmert’s planned resignation in September.