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The Elections in Israel 2006

The Elections in Israel 2006 brings together leading Israeli and North American social scientists and their state-of-the-art, in-depth analysis of the 2006 Israeli national elections. The 2006 elections occurred soon after the unilateral withdrawal of Israeli settlers and the army from the Gaza Strip and the departure of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon from active politics due to a massive stroke. Sharon had engineered the withdrawal from Gaza. The policy brought about a split in the Likud party, and Sharon led his group to coalesce with other groups (including Labor's Shimon Peres) to form a new party, Kadima. For the first time in Israeli political history, a party for the ideological center was poised to be the top vote getter. Kadima's victory ensured the accession of Ehud Olmert, who became Israel's new prime minister.

Labor, too, had fielded a new leader in the person of Amir Peretz, a former head of the country's Histadruth labor union; he attempted to focus the campaign on social and economical issues but the campaign reverted back to security and foreign affairs. Ironically, in the post-election government, Peretz was given the post of defense minister. Likud was unable to recover from the departure of Sharon and other leaders.

The 2006 elections also saw a precipitous drop in voter turnout compared to previous elections. Parties and politicians were plagued by low levels of trust on the part of the electorate and revelations of corruption were rife. The Arabs and the religious Jewish Parties each faced challenges in retaining their strength in the electorate and in the governing coalition.

This volume also illuminates developments and changes in Israeli society and politics. Many of these developments - multiculturalism, changes in social satisfaction, sinking turnout, growing mistrust of political institutions, and political reforms - characterize other Western democracies as well, and these are discussed from a comparative global perspective. The Elections in Israel - 2006 will also be of particular interest to those concerned with comparative politics and elections in general.

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Introduction
Asher Arian and Michal Shamir

Part 1: Voting Behavior

Kadima – Forward in a Dealigned Party System
Michal Shamir, Raphael Ventura, Asher Arian, and Orit Kedar

Coalition Considerations and the Vote
Paul R. Abramson, John H. Aldrich, André Blais, Daniel Lee, and Renan Levine

Part 2: Parties and Groups

Shas' Transformation to "Likud with Kippa?": A Comparative Assessment of the Moderation of Religious Parties
Sultan Tepe and Roni Baum

The Immigration from the Former Soviet Union and the Elections in Israel, 1992–2006 - Is a "Third Israel" Being Created?
Viacheslav Konstantinov

1990s Immigrants from the FSU in Israeli Elections 2006: The Fulfillment of the Political Dreams of Post-Soviet Man?
Michael Philippov

Israel's Arab Minority and the Elections for the Seventeenth Knesset: The Beginning of a New Era?
Elie Rekhess

Part 3: The Politics of the Elections

Candidate Selection in Israel: Between the One, the Few, and the Many
Gideon Rahat

Party Strategy in the 2006 Elections: Kadima, Likud, and Labor
Jonathan Mendilow

Patronage and the 2006 Elections
Doron Navot

Part 4: Political Communication

Media Coverage of the 2006 Campaign: The Needs and Attitudes of the Public vis-à-vis the Functioning of the News Media
Gabriel Weimann, Yariv Tsfati, and Tamir Sheafer

The Internet Race: Parties and the Online Campaign in the 2006 Elections
Nir Atmor

Notes

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