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Israeli right wing shift could be due to millennial vote

A shift in the voting demographic could be one of the reasons that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party – and several smaller right-wing and religious parties – won a majority of the votes: Younger Israelis tend to identify and vote conservative.

As opposed to Americans of the millennial generation who are considered more liberal, Israelis millennials are growing up right wing. And this new generation of voters are more conservative than their parents.

Tamar Hermann, co-editor of the annual Israeli Democracy Index and a professor of political science, explained that the generation who grew up during suicide bombings and the many failed peace talks with the Palestinians, is jaded. They have also fought in the army which has hardened their position.

“They were born after the Oslo (failed peace) process started, they were exposed to the bloodshed during the second intifada, they are coming right after military service,” Hermann told JTA.

Dahlia Scheindlin, an Israeli political analyst and a public opinion expert, said another factor was the disengagement from Gaza when 8,000 Jews were uprooted and resettled in Israel and Palestinians were given full power there.

“The general narrative is, we gave up this land, they sent rockets in return,” Scheindlin said. “The national religious have considered it a national trauma ever since then.”

Another factor moving Israel right of center is the higher birth rate of ultra-Orthodox Jews and religious Zionists, all of whom are generally more conservative in their voting.

After last week’s elections, negotiations are underway between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and several right-wing parties that gained seats in the Knesset as they jockey to join forces in forming a government.

The parties must first present their recommendation for prime minister to President Reuven Rivlin. Netanyahu will then set out to form a government, the exact setup of which will be decided in the coming month. Netanyahu will cobble together a coalition of his party and these smaller ones, engaging in deals for cabinet posts in exchange for support in the coalition. That is, unless he decides to reach out to the center/right Blue and White party, that won 34 seats, and form a national unity government with them and two smaller parties. Rumors have surfaced and were quickly denied that both Likud and Blue and White are considering this. I hope so!

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