Israeli ultranationalists instrumentally compare Palestinians to the Islamic State, in order to create a strategy of terror and tension driving voters to vote them during the elections that will be held on 17 March 2015. But the election campaign is still dominated by the unsolved social and economic problems.
Anat Roth, member of The Jewish Home, the religious Zionist political party of ultranationalist Minister of Economy Naftali Bennett, has circulated a video of herself dressed as “ISIS hostage”, posing on her knees in a orange tracksuit in occasion of the Jewish holiday Purim. Behind her, a woman disguised as a Palestinian with a red-and-white keffiyeh, flaunts a long knife. “This is what we will get without The Jewish Home”, says the writing under the image. Some have condemned, while others have warmly approved the gruesome staging.
This is just the ultimate exhibit of Israel’s rhetoric and pathetic media offensive in view of the national election scheduled for March 17.
The cheap and false comparison between the Palestinians to the cutthroats of the Islamic State has as only aim that of generating panic among Israelis, warning what lurks behind the corner if the left-wing is elected: Israel is at risk if this election will not produce a right-wing government, strong, the only one able to ensure security. This is the strategy: to win elections by focusing on fear. On Tuesday, Netanyahu addressed the US Congress announcing a doomsday scenario for Israel if agreement is reached on the Iranian nuclear program. The oratorical skills displayed and the image of Mr. Security that challenges Barack Obama, gave the prime minister the needed impetus to try to win the election, after weeks that the polls have placed his party, Likud, behind The Zionist Union, centrist list led by labourist Isaac Herzog and former minister Tzipi Livni. Two days ago a survey of Channel 10 gave the Likud to 23 seats (on the 120-seat total seats of the Knesset), two more than in the previous one. 23 are also the seats of The Zionist Union.
In this climate, the attack made two days ago in Jerusalem by a Palestinian man who has launched his car against a tram stop wounding five soldiers, ends indirectly to benefit the electoral strategy of the right. For the most ardent nationalist Israelis this wouldn’t be, as the Palestinians explain, a reaction to decades of military occupation and the denial of fundamental rights, rather it is the proof of the constant terrorist threat that would pose to the country. Hence the need to get back to a coalition government with an iron fist. Instrumentally used is also the vote of the PLO whose Central Council called for an end of the security cooperation between the PA and Israel. It is a “recommendation” and everyone knows that President Abbas will not suspend the coordination with the Israeli security services. According to Israeli right-wing, that decision would lead to towards a new Palestinian Intifada and the seizure of power by Hamas in the West Bank, in short, a “catastrophe.”
The strategy of fear is bearing fruit. However there are still 10 days before the elections and analysts expect that the protest of many Israelis in economic difficulty, will shake the ambitions of Netanyahu. Upon returning on Wednesday in Tel Aviv, the Prime Minister was greeted by a new type of indignados: the Israeli homeless. “I cannot afford a house, I live in squatter camps – told fifty-year-old Yoav Kaminer – I only ask for a roof and personal respect. I have been a soldier for five years and I fought for this country, today I do not longer recognize Israel”.
Housing prices remain the major problem for the Israelis, four years from the demonstrations that occurred in the streets of Tel Aviv, hundreds of thousands of indignados demand a new economic policy. Netanyahu in recent years has built houses, but not in Israel, built only in illegal Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. If confirmed, the right-wing government plans to build 279,000 new homes, 63,000 of which, however, are still for settlers (48thousand in East Jerusalem and 15 thousand in the West Bank). Several Israelis are now calling for a Prime Minister more attentive to social problems and less to the colonies, to Iran’s nuclear and so on, says Baruch Cohen, another indignados: “A dignified life for all must be the real theme of the election campaign and not Iran, Hezbollah or Netanyahu if he goes or does not go to talk to the Congress. We need to focus on those who do not have a home. ”