The Likud evades its own message, preferring to be “not Left.” This is an effective method when there is no alternative on the Right. But it becomes problematic as soon as such an alternative appears. In my estimate, the true value of the Likud is at least 40 mandates. But for a long time, it has been traded well below its market value. This is due to the Russian vote that has migrated to former foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman’s party, Yisrael Beiteinu; the Sephardi vote that migrated to Shas; and Likud’s inability to establish a political/security alternative to the Left’s platform.
In the current elections, the religious Zionists are also retreating into an unnatural type of politics, thanks to Naftali Bennett, head of The Jewish Home Party. The Likud’s ridiculous fight against Bennett has accelerated the under-market-value phenomenon.
The Likud’s attack on Bennett’s declaration in favor of a sort of insubordination established it in the eyes of the religious Zionists as a party that could once again initiate large-scale expulsions. When Bennett reneged, the religious Zionists understood that once again their party would be a tool in the hands of possible future evictions. But the Likud’s attack saved Bennett from the results of his zigzag and featured him in the right place nonetheless: while his proponents heard him say that he would fulfill expulsion orders, they don’t believe him.
(To be continued)