Mideast experts to discuss Israeli election prospects

Crown and Schusterman Centers sponsoring panel Jan. 16

From left, Dr. Hussein Ibish and professors Yehudah Mirsky, Shai Feldman and Ilan Troen.

With much of their neighborhood in turmoil, Israeli voters are about to elect their next government.

The campaign, which ends with the January 22 balloting, has not attracted much attention in the Western media, perhaps because of the widely held assumption from the outset that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would triumph easily.

Netanyahu is still expected to form the next government, but some surprises have occurred, particularly the emergence of a charismatic former aide to Netanyahu who is well to the Right of the prime minister and, according to recent public opinion surveys, is drawing strength away from Netanyahu’s center-Right coalition.

This and other developments have set off broad speculation about whether Netanyahu will move to the Right or the center in forming the next government.

A panel of Brandeis experts and guests will discuss the campaign and potential impacts of the results on Israel, the Palestinians, the Arab world and the West at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 16, in Rapaporte Treasure Hall.

The event is sponsored by the Crown Center for Middle East Studies and the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies. It will be moderated by Schusterman Center Director Ilan Troen, the Stoll family Chair in Israel Studies.

Panelists are Professor of Politics Shai Feldman, the Judith and Sidney Swartz Director of the Crown Center; Dr. Hussein Ibish, Senior Fellow, the American Task Force on Palestine and Executive Director of the Hala Salaam Maksoud Foundation for Arab-American Leadership; and Dr. Yehudah Mirsky, Associate Professor of the Practice of Near Eastern and Judaic Studies at Brandeis. 

Feldman likened recent developments on Netanyahu’s political Right to the changes that have shaken the Republican party, where Tea Party activists have replaced more moderate conservatives like Indiana Sen. Richard Lugar.

The fragmentation in the political center and Left and the greater organization and commitment of the Right seem to assure a Right-wing majority, he said, but a government of the Right would place Netanyahu and Likud oddly as the most moderate element in the coalition.

Troen said the discussion would “explore the current moment and try to give some sense what we might expect – the prospects for Israel and the implications for the Palestinians, for the Arab world and for the West in general.

Categories: International Affairs

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