Conclusion: Cannibalism counterproductive - Analysis

The lesson that can be learned from the election is the one that none of the active politicians wanted to hear: Next time, listen to Ehud Barak.

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April 10, 2019 02:01
1 minute read.
Conclusion: Cannibalism counterproductive - Analysis

Former Prime Minister and Labor party leader Ehud Barak talks to journalists at The Israel Project in Jerusalem. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

After an election in which it seemed that every former IDF general was being pursued by a political party, it is extremely ironic that the only general who no one wanted proved to be prophetic.

Former prime minister Ehud Barak said constantly before and during the election that the way to emerge victorious was to woo voters from one political bloc to another.

That strategy was the exact opposite of what was done by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Blue and White leader Benny Gantz, especially in the last days ahead of the election and all day on Election Day.

The result of that decision to ignore Barak’s advice, according to two of the three inconclusive exit polls Tuesday night, was that the breakdown of the Center-Right and Center-Left remained the same as it has been for many years.

Netanyahu and Gantz each tried desperately to win voters away from their satellite parties in their political bloc. They did virtually nothing to woo voters away from their actual competition in the race – each other.

If anything, Netanyahu seemed to be trying to scare away Center-Left voters by announcing the Saturday night before the election that he would annex even isolated settlements if he won another term.

The only politician Gantz mentioned in his final address to top activists in his party on Monday was Labor leader Avi Gabbay, whom he said “knows he should not stand in the way of a political upheaval.”

If anyone actually worked on wooing voters from one camp to another, it was Gabbay, with his campaign that accused Netanyahu of being racist (against Sephardi Jews, not Arabs like US Congressman Beto O’Rourke).

That campaign was intended to impact the Likud’s traditional Sephardi electorate. But based on the exit polls, it clearly did not make them move to Gabbay.

Perhaps it ironically saved Kulanu, the party Gabbay left with a slamming door.

The lesson that can be learned from the election is the one that none of the active politicians wanted to hear: Next time, listen to Ehud Barak.


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