Israel's 2006 Elections: With a Whimper, Not a Bang
The Arab parties (9 seats), for better or worse, would not be part of this national conversation. The Likud and the merged National Religious Party-National Union failed to present a scenario whereby Israel could hold on to the territories and still maintain its Jewish and democratic character.
The ultra-Orthodox parties, as always, would accommodate everyone else's chief priority (defense and security) in exchange for consideration of their's: funding for their growing networks of institutions and a rolling-back of Netanyahu's welfare cuts.
Kadima would not be the magic bullet that would, at a stroke, redraw Israel's borders and ensure the country's future for the foreseeable future, but real change seemed to be on the horizon. For years there had been a silent consensus in favor of leaving most, if not all, of Judea and Samaria, but it never found expression as an electoral mandate. Now it had. Not in dewy-eyed hopes for a New Middle East, but as a necessary excision that would enable Israel to meet the multiple and unending challenges--military, diplomatic, economic, and cultural--that lay ahead.
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