…Netanyahu announced that he and his Likud Party had formed an alliance with the Foreign Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, and his Russian-dominated Yisrael Beiteinu Party (the Our Home Israel Party) for elections on January 22nd. In the 2009 elections, Netanyahu ran to the center-left (at least by the standards of an ever more conservative political map), but now he has thrown in with the country’s most prominent xenophobe. Lieberman, who emigrated in 1978, lives in the West Bank settlement of Nokdim. He admires Vladimir Putin. He is so given to outrageous statements about Arabs that foreign reporters are rarely allowed to talk to him.
Political insiders in Israel know that Netanyahu and Lieberman distrust each other, but their newfound alliance makes it almost impossible for a center-left bloc to win in January. Their leaders are, to the last, extremely weak….