Yesterday Americans for Peace Now, the support organization for Israel's mainstream peace movement, hosted a briefing phone call-in on the Israeli elections on Jan. 22 by retired Ha'Aretz senior diplomatic correspondent Akiva Eldar. A recording link can be obtained by going to the APN website (www.peacenow.org) or by emailing Sarah Sagan at email@example.com. Unfortunately there was very little analysis of the polling data or of the trends. Usually with these call-ins there is a mixed audience of very knowledgeable American Jews who follow both the American and Israeli media and either newcomers who just happened to see the link or freelance journalists who aren't up to speed on the beat.
Eldar did mention that the discrepancy between the percentage of Israelis who claim to support a two-state solution and the election results in election after election can be easily explained by the tendency of Israelis to believe that they don't have a real partner and that the conflict is all the fault of the other side. But Israelis don't want to sound like they are opposed to peace so they say they support a two-state solution and vote for parties of the Right. Israelis lie to themselves and then vote for leaders who lie to the world.
Eldar also criticized Labor leader Shelli Yakhimovich for not discussing foreign policy. He claimed that Israelis expect their leader to be conversant in foreign policy issues. But Israelis also expect their leaders to be nationalistic, so if Yakhimovich really supports the two-state solution instead of just paying it lip service she will actually lose votes and then not be in a position to implement it. So I think that what she is doing is smart--she is avoiding the issue while the peace process is not ripe so that she can build up the party for a day when the situation might be ripe.
A better source of analysis is the daily email summary of the Hebrew media, News Nosh, full of links to articles that can be ordered from APN, Also the weekly Q and A column of Yossi Alpher , which this week discusses the elections. Alpher discusses why Likud Beitenu and Labor are dropping in the polls, and the differences among the three main Arab parties in Israel.