Two Worlds in One on Israeli Election


I’ve noted before how it seems that people on opposing sides of political issues can be said literally to inhabit different worlds.  Here’s a good example.

From an AP story by Josef Federman, with the headline used in the Providence Journal:

Netanyahu emerges with slight edge after tight race

JERUSALEM — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared to have fended off a strong challenge from the country’s opposition leader in parliamentary elections Tuesday, emerging from an acrimonious campaign in a slightly better position to form Israel’s next government.

The article goes on to describe how “an upstart centrist party led by a former Netanyahu ally-turned-rival” could swing the government either way.

Now, here’s John Podhoretz in the New York Post, under the headline, “Netanyahu gambles his career and scores breathtaking victory“:

Although Netanyahu’s Likud Party only won about half the number of seats needed to secure a majority in Israel’s parliament, it did so much better than anyone (including Bibi) expected that he seems to have triumphed in the goal he had set for himself last December when he broke up the government he had formed in 2013 and called new elections.

He did that because he wanted to strengthen his own hand and rid himself of two hostile coalition partners at the same time. This was a risky strategy, and it looked for quite a while like a disastrous one.

In Podhoretz’s view, Netanyahu’s “path to forming a new government is clear and should be relatively easy, especially compared to last time.”  Quite a different understanding of Israeli politics.

Honestly, I don’t know enough to know which is correct, although I trust Podhoretz more than I trust the AP.  The thing that stands out for me, though, is Federman’s line that Netanyahu is “in a slightly better position to form Israel’s next government.”  On first read, it looks like he menas “in a slightly better position” than his opposition, but in light of Podhoretz’s explanation, it looks more like “a slightly better position” than he was in before the election.

That suggests that the two writers aren’t actually living in two different worlds, but the AP guy may very well be trying to enable his readers to do so.

  • Nick

    The AP has it right. Netanyahu beat expectations (most polls had his party coming in second, 4-5 seats behind Herzog’s), but his gains came mostly at the expense of the other conservative parties, and his likely partners in the religious parties actually lost seats. The coalition he forms this time is no more likely to be stable than the last one, but at least he kept his job.

  • Warrington Faust

    “a thousand words”

  • Warrington Faust

    In an earlier post on the Senate letter to the Iranians, I suggested there might be something I did not know in the background. It was suggested that Obama might go to the UN to end run the Senate. Well, here it is:

    • George from Warwick

      That was Yours Truly who passed along that UN·SC rumor

      I also noted that because the proposed deal was so obviously harmful to the interests of both the US & Israel, it should sail right through the UN

  • Max

    Irony is the President’s mouthpiece calling Netanyahu divisive.