5 of last 7 elections took place after IDF ops

Left-wing politicians accuse PM, Barak of political maneuvering.

By
November 15, 2012 15:37
2 minute read.
Ehud Barak and Binyamin Netanyahu.

Barak and Netanyahu strut to presser for idf op 390. (photo credit: Ariel Harmoni / GPO)

 
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Operation Pillar of Defense began only 69 days before the January 22, 2013 election, making it the fifth election out of the last seven to take place months after an IDF operation.

Left-wing activists and politicians accused Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak of launching the attack on Gaza on Wednesday in order to win the electorate's approval.

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However, recent history shows that such actions hurt a sitting government as often as it helps it get reelected.

Operation Grapes of Wrath was launched on April 11, 1996, when Shimon Peres was prime minister. In an attempt to stop Hezbollah from shelling northern Israel, the IDF launched over 1,000 air raids. The military operation ended 16 days later, with a ceasefire.

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On May 29, 1996, Israel held its first direct vote for prime minister, and Netanyahu was elected as premier for the first time, though Labor was the largest party in the Knesset with 34 seats.

The 1999 and 2001 elections were not held shortly after a military operation.

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On June 22, 2002, the IDF launched Operation Determined Path during the Second Intifada, which was meant to reach the objectives of Operation Defensive Shield (March 2002) that had not been achieved in the West Bank, and lasted about one month.

An election was held seven months later, on January 28, 2003. Israelis once again voted only for a party, and prime minister Ariel Sharon was reelected with the Likud remaining the largest party in the Knesset.

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The IDF launched Operation Lightning Strike in February 2006, in response to rocket fire from Gaza, six months after Israel disengaged from the area. Four senior Hamas figures were assassinated in the operation, which involved air and artillery strikes.

In March 2006, Sharon's Kadima party won the election with 29 seats, and Ehud Olmert became prime minister.

Operation Cast Lead began in December 27, 2008 in response to rockets from Gaza and following Hamas' refusal to continue a six-month ceasefire. Cast Lead combined airstrikes, naval operations and a ground invasion and ended in a unilateral ceasefire by Israel, three weeks later.

Less than a month after Operation Cast Lead ended, on February 10, 2009, Kadima was elected the largest party in the Knesset, but the right-wing bloc was larger than the Left, and Netanyahu became prime minister.

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