Israel election: Does the left stand a chance?

Written By: Daniele Pagani WION
New Delhi, Delhi, India Published: Apr 07, 2019, 11:55 AM(IST)

File photo. Photograph:( AFP )

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The founding father of the state of Israel and its first prime minister -- David Ben Gurion -- was from the centre-left labour party

With Israeli going to the polls on the April 9, the focus is on Benjamin Netanyahu and his archrival Benny Gantz. But what happened to the once powerful Israeli leftwing parties?.

Do they stand a chance?

Israel has had a right-wing prime minister for 11 years in a row now. But, when the new state was carved out from the complexity of West Asia in 1948, the left wing dominated the political arena. 

The founding father of the state of Israel and its first prime minister -- David Ben Gurion -- was from the centre-left labour party.

In 1992, the left bloc won 61 out of 120 seats in the Israel legislature but today, the glorious past of the Israeli left seems to be over. So much so that when prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants to discredit his adversaries, he labels them as left-wingers. 

Recent research found out that only 12 per cent Israelis see themselves as left-leaning, while 56 per cent declared themselves as right-wingers. 

Some labour party members say that the word left has become like a curse in Israel while some avoid the word when defining their political views. 

Many believe that the decline of the once influential left-wing started after prime minister Ehud Barak from the labour party failed to secure a peace accord with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. Israelis have come to consider the labour as an inefficient party, which spent energy walking on the road to nowhere.

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