By Haviv Rettig Gur
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seen at a cornerstone laying ceremony for a new neighborhood in the southern Israeli town of Sderot. January 28, 2015. (Photo credit: Kobi Gideon / GPO)
Recent conflicts in Lebanon and Gaza ended inconclusively, to public dismay. A repeat during an election campaign could have decisive political consequences
The northern border is teetering on the edge of a new Lebanon war, with the most dramatic escalation in cross-border fire since the Second Lebanon War in 2006.
In the midst of the crisis, and in the throes of an election campaign, the conventional wisdom among political pundits suggests that a war favors the right-wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu over his most serious challenger, the center-left Zionist Camp list led by Labor’s Isaac Herzog.
Neither left nor right wants to be seen as electioneering while IDF troops and border towns take fire, but both Netanyahu’s Likud and the Zionist Camp have campaigned on national security. Herzog, together with Hatnua leader Tzipi Livni, who jointly leads the parties’ shared list, have railed against Netanyahu’s handling of the summer war in Gaza, and charged that Netanyahu’s failure to advance peace with the Palestinians has left Israel unable to form critical alliances with other regional powers.
Likud, meanwhile, has argued that a Herzog-Livni government, if elected, would surrender the defensive highlands of the West Bank to Palestinian terror groups and would be too sensitive to international pressure to ensure Israeli deterrence on other fronts.
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