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Israel's next PM could prove real force for change

The findings of the two most recent opinion polls on today's Israeli election strongly suggest that the hawkish, Right-wing policies of Benjamin Netanyahu will be rejected by voters. This has jolted the complacency of the Likud core support cohort.

For the longest time, they were under the impression that Netanyahu's re-election was a foregone conclusion. Their conviction that security issues would trump social and economic concerns seems to have been a misjudged calculation.

Netanyahu is under extreme pressure from critics, who have highlighted the fact that his internal policies have sent the cost of living soaring to such an extent that ordinary citizens cannot afford a roof over their heads.

It is, therefore, highly likely that Isaac Herzog, the grandson of the independent Irish state's first chief rabbi, will be the next Israeli prime minister.

If this happens, Herzog - a firm adherent of the Clinton two-state plan - has committed to reopening a dialogue with Mahmoud Abbas in the hope of implementing the long-hoped-for Palestinian aspiration for statehood.

However, at no point has the Irish anti-Israel lobby acknowledged this possibility. This group continues to champion the same narrow template depicting Israel as a homogeneous, anti-Palestinian state, which is universally supportive of Netanyahu's vision of the future.

This is disingenuous: Israel is a vibrant, multi-faceted democracy that hosts every ideology in the political spectrum, including a strong cohort led by Herzog, who are committed to securing not just security for Jewish Israel, but also a just settlement for its Palestinian neighbours.

DR KEVIN McCARTHY

By email

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