The 2009 Knesset elections: A foreign affairs perspective

Shmuel Sandler, Hillel Frisch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Israel's general elections in 2009 yielded three major outcomes: 1) the replacement of the bi-polar system that characterized Israeli electoral politics between 1977 and 2003 in which most parties are aligned to one of the two principal parties by a more flexible multi-party system. 2) The nearly total collapse of the Labor party and the Zionist left; for the first time since the 1920s, the Labor party was no longer a major political player, and 3). Kadima's electoral relative success, despite scandals haunting it since 2006. Kadima has basically superseded Labor without necessarily adopting its ideology. We argue (contrary to Henry Kissinger's quip that Israel never had a foreign policy but only a domestic policy) that primarily external factors and processes - chiefly the failure of the Oslo process in the 1990s - yielded these three outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalIsrael Affairs
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010


  • Bi-polar party system
  • Foreign affairs
  • Israeli elections
  • Kadima
  • Labour
  • Likud
  • Multi-polar party system


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