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New Generation of Political Stars Under Spotlight of Israeli Elections

The new generation of young Israeli political stars will be tested in the current campaign and beyond, writes Mazal Mualem.
Naftali Bennett, head of the Beit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party, campaigns at a bar in the southern city of Ashdod December 27, 2012. A Palestinian state would be suicide for Israel, says Bennett, a high-tech millionaire who heads a far-right party whose popularity has been the surprise of the country's election campaign. Picture taken December 27, 2012. To match Interview story ISRAEL-ELECTION/BENNETT REUTERS/Amir Cohen (ISRAEL - Tags: POLITICS ELECTIONS)
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One of the campaign ads for the Labor Party shows the leaders of the social protests, Stav Shaffir and Itzik Shmuli, sitting opposite each other against a neat blue background, nostalgically reminiscing about the mass protests of summer 2011. These were the protests that transformed them from unknown social activists to media stars.

Eighteen months after the protest that shook the nation — the one that began with a single tent pitched on Rothschild Boulevard in Tel Aviv and ended with thousands of tents down the city's main streets and hundreds and thousands of young people blocking streets and filling the town squares to protest the high cost of housing and more — Shaffir, 27, and Shmuli, 32, now have a very real shot at being elected to the next Knesset on the Labor Party ticket.

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