By Nkongho Beteck
The 2013 Israel election allowed Israelis to exercise their democratic right to vote, producing a large voter turnout and focusing on more domestic issues moving forward.
The Los Angeles Times reported results from the Central Election Committee that conservative parties in the next Knesset will consist of Netanyahu’s Likud (20 seats), Jewish Home (12 seats), nationalist Yisrael Beiteinu (11 seats) and ultra-Orthodox parties Shas (11 seats) and United Torah Judaism (7 seats). The United Arab List party lost a seat, while the religious nationalist Jewish Home gained one. The centrist Yesh Atid party came in second place.
Yesh Atid, a new party formed by former journalist Yair Lapid, has been known to focus more on domestic issues, being labeled moderate. Junior journalism major Josh Logue is satisfied with its seat.
“That makes me happy, more moderates means fewer fanatics, which I think is always good in politics, no matter what country,” he said.
This variety of seats shows that Israel is leaning more toward the center, visiting Israel studies professor Sam Lehman-Wilzig said.
“The Israeli electorate is not as extremely split as most people think,” he said.
Voter turnout was the highest it’s been since 1999. The Times of Israel reported that about 67.5% of eligible voters went to the polls.
This time around, the election focused on more economic matters than peace coalitions. Netanyahu is expected to adopt more moderate policies separate from the nuclear program while focusing more on domestic issues such as lowering the cost of housing and other government benefits among secular and religious citizens.
Reflecting the 2011 tent protest against rent, Shirelle Doughty, a graduate student and assistant at the department of Jewish studies, believes this is a good move. She felt the properties that Israel built in Palestine were counter-productive in the search for peace and that those territories should be built closer to home.
Other discussions included security and economics, straying from the peace talks featured in prior elections.