There’s a new Israeli Likud Party in town and it ain’t the same as the old Likud. The recent party primary has resulted in a purge of the most moderate personalities in Likud and a strong step to the pro-settler far-right. As the Ottomans & Zionists blog (one of my new favorites) puts it:
If there was any doubt left that Likud is first and foremost a settler party, it has just been erased.
What does this mean for Israel’s foreign policy? As O&Z points out in that post the Likudniks on the outs were also seen as some of Netanyahu’s strongest opponents on attacking Iran.
Israel’s defense minister Ehud Barak announced yesterday that he won’t run for the Knesset in January. And no one doubts that he’ll be back at some point.
As expected, former opposition leader Tzipi Livni is throwing her hat into the ring for next year’s election with the creation of a new party that’s apparently goes by the very Prince-like name of “The Movement Headed by Tzipi Livni.” Brent Sasley says this is bad news for the Israeli center-left, because her new party – rather than Livni joining forces with one of the existing center-left parties – will split the anti-Netanyahu vote and work in his favor.
Some great analysis here on Livni’s first day on the campaign trail from Anshel Pfeffer at Ha’aretz, including some background on the Livni party logo:
Behind Livni during the press conference were freshly printed banners with the new party’s logo, in white on a navy-blue background with an emphasizing red period. This is the graphic signature of advertizing guru Reuven Adler, Ariel Sharon’s loyal advisor. Adler designed this logo seven years ago for Sharon’s new party, Kadima, and he has adapted it now for Livni. He had no time to come up with a new style but there is no coincidence here. Livni and her team are trying to recreate the original exhilaration felt in Israel following Sharon’s breaking with Likud and striking out for the center-ground. At the height of that excitement, polls were giving Kadima an incredible 50-plus Knesset seats. And then Sharon had his stroke, and Kadima started its decline. Livni knows she is no Sharon, but her campaign still believes that the yearning for a new style of party politics is still around. Trying to evoke those feelings could be a double-edged sword. It could take voters back to Kadima’s hopeful beginning; it may, however, remind them of its less glorious end.
And meanwhile, in Egypt tonight.