Israel's Right Turn

Pro-settlement parties are surging as elections near

Oded Balilty / AP for TIME

Right-wing newcomer Naftali Bennett has attracted Israeli voters with his talk of annexing much of the West Bank

When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called last October for elections, it was from a position of confidence and strength. He had already served as Premier longer than all his predecessors except Israel's founder, David Ben-Gurion. His approval ratings were solid, and his efforts to draw the world's attention to Iran's nuclear program were wildly successful. Even so, to all but guarantee that he would return as Prime Minister, Netanyahu kicked off the campaign with an audacious bargain, merging his right-wing Likud party on the ballot with Yisrael Beiteinu, an even more right-wing party controlled by the ultranationalist Avigdor Lieberman. The move...

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