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    Israelis will head to the polls on Tuesday to determine the future direction of their country.

    Israeli Elections: Closer Look at Main Parties Running for Seats in Knesset

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    Israelis will head to the polls on Tuesday to determine the future direction of their country. The ruling Likud Party of current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may lose the election to the Zionist Union, a center-left political alliance of the Israeli Labor Party and Hantuah.

    It is decision time for Israel, as the country goes to national election for the Knesset on Tuesday.

    The outcome of this election will determine the direction that Israel will take on the issues with Iran, Palestinians and their relationship with the United States. Sputnik compiled a list of the main political parties striving for seats in Israel’s Knesset.

    Zionist Union

    The Zionist Union is a center-left political alliance, established in December 2014 following the merge of Isaac Herzog’s Israeli Labor Party and the Hantuah party of Tzipi Livni, a former Israeli foreign minister and former minister of justice.

    The Zionist Union promised to renew negotiations with the Palestinians that stopped in 2013. The party advocates for the policy of two states for two peoples that would have the support of the Arab world. Furthermore, Herzog and Livni plan to demilitarize the Palestinian state and increase economic cooperation with the Palestinians.

    In terms of their foreign policy, the Zionist Union wants to restore warm ties with the United States, with whom relations have become strained over the issue of Iran’s nuclear program.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
    © AP Photo / Gali Tibbon, Pool
    On socio-economic issues, the party said it will increase the education and health budgets and create a new housing committee, which would stop the rise of housing prices.

    According to the latest poll conducted by Haaretz, the Zionist Union is expected to win 25 seats in the Knesset, a four seat lead over the Likud party of Benjamin Netanyahu.

    Likud

    The right-wing party of current Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been in power since 2009.

    The party emphasizes security issues as its top agenda. Likud has a hardline stance on Iran’s nuclear program and the Palestinians. Netanyahu is against a two-state solution and wants to continue with settlement expansion in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

    Under the government of Netanyahu, Israel’s relations with the United States, its most important ally, have been tense due to policy differences over Iran’s nuclear program, the stalled negotiations with the Palestinians and Netanyahu’s bad personal chemistry with US President Barack Obama.

    Likud has been criticized for a lack of agenda on socio-economic issues. Under the reign of Likud, Israelis complained about high living costs and housing crisis.

    Polls show that Likud is expected to win 21 seats at best, losing at least four seats to the Zionist Union. Netanyahu could lose the election, as he seems to have fallen out of favor in Israel. The popular mood among Israelis was described as a “Bibi-fatigue”, who are more concerned about the economy and housing cost rather than Netanyahu’s fear-mongering about Iran.

    Joint List (Hadash and Arab Parties)

    The Joint List is the newly united bloc of Israel’s Arab parties. In the past, Israel’s Arab parties were divided by their political differences – right or left, secularism or Islamist – thus, breaking the Arab vote. Now, by putting aside their differences and campaigning as the united Arab party, the Joint List may become a force to be reckoned with, especially considering that around 20 percent of Israeli eligible voters are Palestinians.

    The Joint List advocates for a two-state solution and the return to the pre-1967 borders with East Jerusalem. The party wants to remove all West Bank settlements and the security barrier, which the party calls “the racist separation wall,” according to the Jerusalem Post.

    Furthermore, the party calls for the release of political prisoners and wants the right of return for all Palestinian refugees based on UN Resolution 194.

    Polls predict that the Joint List will gather 13 seats in the Knesset. If the forecasts turn out to be correct, the Joint List will become the third-largest party in the Knesset.

    Topic:
    Israeli General Election 2015 (52)

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    parliamentary elections, Joint List, Zionist Union, Likud party, Knesset, Isaac Herzog, Tzipi Livni, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel
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