"Elections in Israel: Between Right and extreme Right," was the headline of Arabic newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat's top story on Tuesday.
Israel's general elections have generated much interest in the Arab world, where it seems to have already been decided that, no matter what the results are, right-wing Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman is the big winner, at least conceptually.
"Under unprecedented security measure, over five million voters - 15% Arabs, 81.8% Jews and 4% non-Jewish Russians - arrive at the polling stations today," Asharq Al-Awsat, Tuesday edition read.
"The race is between the Right, whose candidate is Tzipi Livni and her party Kadima, and the extreme Right, represented by Likud Chairman Benjamin Netanyahu, and even more extreme candidates like Yisrael Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman."
The paper reported that according to recent polls in Israel, the Right will win in elections. Leading pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat also estimated the next Israeli government will be a right-wing one.
"Estimates say the Right will win; Lieberman is the key to forming a government… Despite recent polls that show the rightist bloc will win with an absolute majority (66 out of 120 mandates), a very tight race has been noted between the rightist Likud party headed by Benjamin Netanyahu and the 'centralist' Kadima party headed by Tzipi Livni," Al-Hayat read.
"This came after Likud lost many mandates to the extreme rightist party Yisrael Beiteinu headed by Avigdor Lieberman, whose election campaign focused on incitement against Arabs."
Illustration of Israeli F-16 dropping ballots on ruins in Gaza (Photo: Al-Hayat)
Another pan-Arab daily, Al-Quds Al-Arabi, featured an article saying, "Elections in Israel: Estimates say right-wing parties that refuse to retreat to 1967 borders and object the right of return – will win."
'Focus on Gaza tragedy; not elections'Meanwhile, Egypt state newspaper Al-Ahram declared that "Netanyahu is afraid of Lieberman, and Livni is looking for a victory in the final stretch".
Syrian journalism has branded Israel's elections in similar terms – "Which new extremist will be elected?" asked Omar Jaftali of the Tishreen daily on Tuesday.
"Elections in Israel today will reveal which extremist will lead Israel into the next phase, especially when the front runners are terrorists whose hands are stained in the blood of Palestinian children, and after they stressed this over and over in their election campaigns.
"Each of the political parties struggling against each other in the Israeli political arena is trying to prove it can kill more and complete the Zionist plan that effects the entire region…and this is the main problem," the article continued.
"It is inconceivable that the attention of the world and some of the Arabs is aimed at the elections in Israel instead of dealing with the tragedy in Gaza and its consequences… The Arabs cannot rely on an external source to deal with their problems, but can only count on themselves."