Just when we thought we were coming to the end of election season, the politicians in Israel seem to be pulling us back in! Although nothing is final, the most recent developments indicate that as American electoral campaigns wind down on November 4th, Israel’s great political race will just be getting underway.
The news from Friday suggests that Kadima leader, Foreign Minister Tzipp Livni, has struck out in her efforts to form a new government, and that Israelis will be heading to the polls in early 2009. This comes after the ultra-orthodox Mizrahi (Sephardi) Shas party, a member of the current caretaker government, announced that it had made a “final” decision not to join a government led by Livni.
Shas based its decision on Livni’s reported unwillingness to approve almost three hundred million dollars in additional transfer payments to large families (a prime Shas constituency). She also seems to have rejected a key Shas demand that she pledge in writing not to negotiate with the Palestinians about the future of Jerusalem.
Of course, nothing in Israeli politics is final until it absolutely is, and several election-averting scenarios still exist.
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