Professor Kaplan: Right-Wing Moves Helped Re-elect Netanyahu in Israel

Friday, March 20, 2015
Photo of Eran Kaplan

J WEEKLY -- Israel native Eran Kaplan, Rhoda and Richard Goldman Chair in Israeli Studies at San Francisco State University, observed that Likud won by taking seats away from the Jewish Home, another right-wing party.

The professor, who held an election-day viewing party with his students, also noted that while the right-wing parties won roughly the same percentage of the vote as in 2013, the difference this time was that Likud took a bigger share of that vote. That gives Netanyahu leverage to form the cabinet he wants.

“The main campaign on the left and center was to change the government and get rid of Netanyahu,” Kaplan said. “They ran on very little else.”

Kaplan believes Netanyahu might have made his life more difficult when he “took a turn to the right” with his inflammatory rhetoric late in the campaign — warning voters about increased Arab-Israeli turnout, promising new construction in eastern Jerusalem and proclaiming there would be no two-state solution on his watch.

“It’s poking the eye of the Obama administration,” Kaplan said. “We don’t know what kind of pressures he will feel from international community, but I know [the turn right] paid dividends for his party.”