Like most of the international media, Arab newspapers and television networks tuned in to the results of Tuesday's Knesset election
in an attempt to understand the bottom line – what is the next Israeli parliament going to be like?
"Center-Left parties are becoming stronger, as the Netanyahu alliance is only slightly ahead," an Al-Jazeera headline read. Hezbollah's
Al-Manar wrote there was only "A meager majority for Netanyahu in Israel's Knesset elections," referring to the fact that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's
Likud gained considerably fewer Knesset seats than it currently held.
"Netanyahu's win was not an easy one, which means he will have limited power when negotiating with his future partners in the coalition."
The new-to-politics Yair Lapid
roused the curiosity of the Arab media worldwide. Al-Manar stressed that the fact that Lapid's party won the second largest number of Knesset seats was "a surprise for everyone," and the United Arab Emirates' Al-Arabiya network called Lapid "The anchorman who made Netanyahu's victory taste like defeat."
Lebanon's Al-Akhbar newspaper also led with "Netanyahu's defeat," following with "The Right failed to achieve a parliamentary majority to form a government and the last word would be of Yesh Atid," Lapid's party.
In an attempt to delineate the still unfathomable Yair Lapid and his stance of diplomatic issues, Al-Jazeera cited a past Lapid statement, in which he said "We're not looking for a happy marriage with the Palestinians, but rather an amicable divorce."
'Death of the two-state solution and the peace process'
Though celebrating the fact that Netanyahu did not gain as many votes as was predicted, many in the Arab media did not disregard the fact that he effectively won and will be leading Israel's next government.
The London-based Al-Quds Al-Arabi's editorial opened with "Farewell Oslo Accords
and two-state solution,"
stressing that the race in this election was "between the radical and racist Right and the even more radical and racist Right, led by Naftali Bennett,
who represents the settlers."
Race 'between radical, racist Right and even more radical, racist Right' (Palestinian caricature)
The results, the paper added, "Were a pivotal turning point in the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict, signifying the death of the two-state solution and the peace process.
"The government about to be born will be a government of war. First of all, war against the Palestinians. Then, a regional war brought about under the pretext of the Iranian nuclear danger and the Gazan Hamas
and Lebanese Hezbollah threats."
'Next government – government of war' (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)
The Jordanian Addustour Newspaper attributed the political stalemate expected of Netanyahu's government to domestic affairs, saying that "The diplomatic issues and the conflict with the Palestinians took a back seat to other, more pressing issues for the Israeli voter, mostly economic issues."
Palestinian journalist Tawfiq Abu Shumar, writing in a European website dedicated to the study of the Arab world, also noted the focus on social and economic issues within Israeli society.
He argued that "The most significant outcome of this election is that the voters have made it clear that Israeli politicians can no longer use Israel's military defense as an excuse to dismiss all other issues. Neither the issue of Iran's
nuclear threat, nor the Palestinian demographics, nor terrorists are key issues. The day-to-day problems overcame the myth of the existential threat to the State of Israel.
"This," he continued, "is manifested in the rise of the party of Yair Lapid, who was one of the initiators of the revolution against social injustice and economic tyranny in Israel."
According to Abu-Shumar, the fact that many of the leaders in this election were journalists points to a transition in Israeli society, a society that has historically anointed military generals and defense officials. Shumar drew attention to the fact that Lapid has media background rather than a military one, as does Yachimoch, thus implying to the fact that Israeli society might be turning less militant.
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