Regardless of the outcome of Israel’s general elections on March 17, the campaign for the 20th Knesset will be remembered for its verbal brutality, rhetoric shallowness and viral viciousness. Never has an Israeli election been so devoid of serious debate on the core issues. Whether Netanyahu or Herzog and Livni win at the polls, the main loser is already known: rational debate and communal ethos.
Elections are in the air—and not just in the United States. In December, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for early primaries in his Likud Party, a likely indicator that he may dissolve the Knesset sometime in 2012 and call a general election. The ball has begun to roll.