Israeli Election Watch: Poll says Kadima gaining, smoking pot for Holocaust survivors

  • The center Kadima Party is gaining on Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud, according to new poll data. But the right-wing block has grown, according to a new Ha’aretz-Dialog poll published Thursday. And the 22 percent of voters who are still undecided will likely determine the Feb. 10 elections’ outcome.
  • Not to dwell on the seemingly mismatched partnership between the Holocaust Survivor’s Party and the Grown-Up Green Leaf (pro-legalization of cannibas) Party, but it seems that the Jerusalem Post shares my fascination with the new team (and so does JTA’s Ron Kampeas).
  • A second Jerusalem Post article about legal challenges to two parties’ campaign ads also devotes several column inches to the case against the other Green Leaf party’s ad featuring its leader, Gil Kopetch, smoking a joint over the grave of David Ben Gurion.
  • It seems the British press can’t get enough of Bibi Netanyahu. An article in Thursday’s Telegraph reports that the front-runner to be the next Israeli prime minister predicted that al-Qaida will blow up the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, where Jesus Christ is said to be buried. At the same time, the Financial Times of London looks at the Netanyahu/Likud campaign’s focus on security
  • Ha’aretz columnist Ari Shavit says the rise of the right stems from the Israeli voters’ disappointment with the center: "The real reason many Israelis will vote for the right in 2009 is their deep disappointment with the center — the center’s leadership, party and cynicism. Disappointment with the fact that the center did not turn its moderate-hard approach into a comprehensive worldview from which it derives a clear policy."
  •  Shavit also presents an in-depth interview with Livni, saying: "Friendly polls say she is slightly behind Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu; less friendly polls show a wide gap. The public is drowsy; Kadima is paralyzed. However, the foreign minister seems not to have heard the bad news. She is fighting like a lion, fighting with momentum, fighting with a smile on her lips and with spirits high. The Livni story is unique in the annals of Israeli politics. Never before has a woman risen so rapidly to such a high position almost without resistance. Never before has a politician enjoyed such broad popularity without having experience, unusual achievements or charisma."
  • For those who have never been able to figure out just exactly how the Knesset seats are allocated after the final votes have been tallied, The Jerusalem Post offers an understandable explanation, and reports on which parties are likely to share votes the day after.   
  • Arab-Israeli politicians are calling election day the "day of revenge for the Zionist parties" as they put out the call to their constituency to vote, Ynet reports
  • Ynet also reports on the divided Haredi parties’ race to with the votes of the fervently Orthodox, in particular the battle over Ashenazi votes.

Recommended from JTA