The Hidden Agenda of the 2009 Elections

in Israel Studies Review
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In the Knesset elections of 2009, what lay in the balance were not only significant programmatic differences between the main parties but the center of gravity of the party system and the direction from which the country is to be governed. Nevertheless, the three major rivals conducted a valance competition appropriate for situations in which the parties are ideologically close, and no questions of magnitude hang in the balance. This resulted from an unspoken agreement about the use of "tacit issues": rewards of the competition that are understood by stalwarts, and toward the attainment of which the rivals direct their e orts, but that are not spelled out to the wider public. Consequently, the campaign was among the shortest and least substantive in the country's history, but its outcome may determine the ideological direction of the country, the shape and steering capacity of its government, and the fate of the party system for a long time to come.

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