Benjamin Netanyahu left few cartridges in his opponents' arsenals. He has made Israel richer and safer; he used military force without being sucked into war; he has improved relations with hostile neighbors and world leaders and was elected prime minister from 1996 to 1999 and from 2009 to today.
Voters from conservative religious, Russian-speaking immigrants and Mizrahi (Jews from the Arab world) remain his solid base of Likud. They are the nemesis of the leftist élite. Big families from traditional, conservative societies of the Arab world.
Labor has the highest number of votes in 28 of the 33 richest cities, while the Likud enjoys a very high majority in the lower-middle economy classes; In 64 of these 77 cities, the first is the Likud.
The secret of Netanyahu's success lies in places such as Kiryat Malachi, the “city of angels”, a stronghold of the conservatism of large families. The sons of “Israel hashniah”, the second Israel, which did not establish the state, but became its strength, those of the refugee camps of tents and DDT sprinkled on the new arrivals, the youths relegated to the army to the humblest jobs, while the élite like Shimon Peres climbed the Ministry of Defense. The right-wing revisionists, the religious Jews, the Mizrahi Jews who emigrated from the Arab lands, the petty bourgeoisie of the new cities, all were neglected and hated by the old Israeli establishment.
Labor has the highest number of votes in 28 of the 33 richest cities, while the Likud enjoys a very high majority in the lower-middle economy classes; In 64 of these 77 cities, the first is the Likud. Netanyahu wins in Judea and Samaria, but also on the outskirts of the Green Line, in places such as Sderot (42.8), Ashkelon (39.8), Or Yehuda (40.5), Ramle (39.8), Tiberias (44.5) and Kiryat Shmona (39.9).
In this last city Peres and his ministers were whistled at loudly when they visited the city, while Netanyahu was hailed as a hero. These are the cities under Hamas and Hezbollah threats and most of them are cities inhabited by Jews from the Arab world. Netanyahu has 40 percent of the votes in peripheral cities such as Beersheba and Ashdod.
The centrist coalition is strong in the coastal megalopolis from Tel Aviv to Haifa. It is the “white tribe” of Ashkenazi Jews whose families have been in the country longer, they are secular, connected, educated, globalized, with higher incomes. In Kfar Shamriyahu, the richest city in Israel, left-wing parties have 75 percent. It is an amorphous group of Jews of Ashkenazi origin who live north of Tel Aviv and deeply despise the religious Jews.
The poor in Israel are less socialist than the rich.
The right-wing Likud was once the party of the educated bourgeoisie. Today it is voted for by the lower economic class, which feels excluded and oppressed by the élite. The majority of the Israeli left is made up of senior state officials, middle-senior pensioners, professors, professionals, whose careers and lives have always been based on state institutions. They grew up in the world of Ben Gurion, while Israeli society was changing.
But the majority of the Ashkenazis do vote for Netanyahu. Like those who have a shop, or are an entrepreneur. The left is voted for by old pensioners in nursing homes raised in a socialist society. The immigrants vote on the right. The young people, those who arrived thirty years ago, also vote right. The poor in Israel are less socialist than the rich.
The ideological consensus is vastly for the right. The strong ideas are that there is no option for peace with the Palestinians; an aggressive foreign policy towards Iran; economically in favor of the free market and less welfare; a cultural traditionalism. The Left would turn Israel into a multicultural society.
In Israel during the 1990s there was a strong attempt by the old elite to say “we have arrived at peace and we have to pay a price”. The Israelis tried for ten years, until Ariel Sharon. Then they woke up. There will be no “peace”.
The Left tried to commit suicide. And it lost all credibility.