At a major press conference Dec. 6, leaders of the Zionist Camp launched an expensive new campaign intended to re-establish its relevancy as the main opposition party. They dubbed the campaign Netanyahu’s Hidden Tax Fraud. The decision to launch an economic campaign instead of refining the party’s diplomatic positions reflects the mood among Israel’s center-left over the past few years and the tendency to minimize any talk of a two-state solution and the painful concessions such an outcome would entail.
This approach grew during the 2013 elections. Shelly Yachimovich, then the chair of the Labor Party, the main party in the Zionist Camp, not only ignored the diplomatic principles that had always been at the forefront of her party’s platform, she even tried to appeal to the settlers in an (unpopular and unsuccessful) effort to expand the party’s voter base. Yair Lapid, the chairman of the centrist Yesh Atid, took a similar approach by focusing his election campaign on the socio-economic issues that have topped the public’s agenda since the social protests that coalesced in summer 2011. Even Naftali Bennett, the chair of the national-religious HaBayit HaYehudi, adopted a similar strategy and embraced the social protests.