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Netanyahu's Move to Right Leaves Opening for Olmert at Center

Netanyahu may lead the largest party following Likud's merger with Yisrael Beitenu, but not necessarily the most popular. Alon Pinkas writes that Ehud Olmert could lead a centrist bloc that poses a real challenge to the new alliance.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman hold a joint news conference in Jerusalem October 25, 2012. Netanyahu said on Thursday he was merging his Likud party with that of his ultra-nationalist coalition ally Lieberman in a hard-right tack ahead of Israel's Jan. 22 election.

This was supposed to be a Seinfeld election in Israel: no real agenda, no real visions, no big narratives except for "Iran" and all those urgent issues that the political system conveniently defers to the next generation.

But these elections are in fact historic for one reason: the first time ever not dealing with Israel's relations with the Arab world, or with the future of our cohabitation with the Palestinians. "Peace" is a T-shirt, and Palestinians exist is a parallel universe.

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