Face Of The Day

FOTD-0122

Supporters of Naftali Bennett, head of the Israeli hard-line national religious party, Jewish Home, celebrate after exit polls were announced on January 22, 2013 at the party headquarters in Tel Aviv. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud-Beitenu was the top vote getter in today’s election but the right-wing combination was weakened by a strong showing by the centrist Yesh Atid, according to TV exit polls. By Marco Longari/AFP/Getty Images. Recent Dish on Bennett and his modern theo-fascism here. Update from a reader:

I’ve been out reporting for 19 hours straight, my brain is fried and probably I shouldn’t write, but: for many months you have reported, as per almost every blogger and media outlet, that the radical right had a stranglehold on Israel. One thing proven today is that Israel badly needs a Nate Silver. And that fearful commentators probably should calm down a bit and think. Despite grave problems, Armaggedon is not around every corner.

The main message of today’s election is a wide and deep repudiation of Netanyahu. It’s not the happiness of Bennett supporters. Bennett, actually, also got less than expected. Something else is going on in Israeli politics, which continues to be basically split down the middle, and it is worth analysing. I know as little as anyone about what will happen in the coalitionary horserace, but given the amount of coverage Israel’s axiomatic hard-right turn received I think this is worth pointing out. It’s complicated.

Post-election analysis to come.