Ground Truth Briefing | Analyzing Israel's Elections | Wilson Center

Ground Truth Briefing | Analyzing Israel's Elections

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On April 9 Israelis went to the polls in what may well be one of the most consequential and complicated elections in the nation’s history.

In this Ground Truth Briefing, four veteran analysts and journalists of the Israeli scene discuss the election results and their impact on Israel’s politics, foreign policy, the U.S.-Israeli relationship and the pursuit of peace.

Selected Quotes

David Horovitz 

On the Trump Peace Plan and PM Netnyahu’s statements about annexation: “The way I think it could indeed play out, it already is playing out, Trump’s people will unveil the deal...and Netanyahu will accept it with reservations. Abbas of course will reject it. And Netanyahu will then say I have no one to deal with. The question then becomes the degree to which he moves ahead with annexing, and which settlements and the degree to which he gets support from the American administration for that.”

Natan Sachs 

On why Netanyahu continues to win: “It’s worth remembering campaigns often matter less than we think, a lot more structural...There is clearly a structural advantage to the right wing. If you look at data of how people define themselves now in Israel, Right, Left, and Center...among the Jewish population in Israel, there is a very clear majority for the right wing. A very small percentage, about 16 I believe, call themselves left wing... It’s because the doctrine of the Left has lost credibility among the Israeli voters”.

Dana Weiss 

On what the election was about: “Today left and right is not about the conflict, it is about the nature of Israel. Will it stay democratic, what will happen to the rule of law, will it be more Jewish or will it be more Israeli and democratic. These are the core issues and this is to divide...It was the Likud with over a million, and with a tie the new Blue and White, which is always the newcomer, the new party of the camp that wants to feel more Israeli than Jewish, that wants to keep Israel a democracy and keep the rule of law consistent. And not see a possibility where it will be breached to help the prime minister maintain his office. This is what these elections were about.”

David Halbfinger 

On the fight between PM Netnayahu, the right, and the Supreme Court: “Somebody else alluded to the fight over the Supreme Court and the judiciary as personal to Netanyahu. One thing I picked up on fairly recently, was it’s not just about Netanyahu. There is a real fundamental belief and push on the right that the Supreme Court in Israel, which we know is very liberal...They feel  it has overreached, it has been overreaching, and that it needs to be brought back in under control...this is brewing into a really amazing constitutional crisis in a country that of course has no constitution.”





  • David Halbfinger

    Jerusalem Bureau Chief, The New York Times; winner of the Overseas Press Club's 2019 Kim Wall Award for best international reporting using creative and dynamic digital storytelling techniques
  • David Horovitz

    Founding Editor of The Times of Israel, a current affairs website based in Jerusalem and former Editor-in-Chief of The Jerusalem Post
  • Natan Sachs

    Director, Center for Middle East Policy, the Brookings Institution; Fellow - Foreign Policy, Center for Middle East Policy, the Brookings Institution
  • Dana Weiss

    Chief Political Analyst; Anchor, Saturday News with Dana Weiss, Channel 2 News