by Reb Akiva at Mystical Paths
All Israeli election estimates turned topsy-turvy, and naturally everyone wants to know WHAT HAPPENED? Here's the explanation...
The Israeli left-wing voter wants socialism, government services, strong movement towards a peace process, wants to get out of the Shomron (West Bank), women's rights, equal rights, environmental protection, and reductions in religious rights.
NONE of the left wing parties has delivered on ANY of these goals. The small left wing parties were just too narrowly focused and therefore unrealistic (having no real sizable constituency for their narrow issue), and Meretz and Labor were abandoned for their failures (especially consider they've been in power of the past years). These voters headed to the party nearest in their space...Kadima.
Kadima additionally made one smart move close to the election, they began emphasizing Tzipi Livni's gender - a FEMALE candidate. That clearly drew some female voters.
On the right wing, the voters want lower taxes, less government interference in business and daily life, strong moves towards security (realistic peace process ok, peace of death not ok), portions want a strong hold on the Shomron (West Bank), and maintenance of the status quo of religious rights.
The surprise here was not Yisrael Beytanu (Lieberman), but Likud. Netanyahu put significant effort into appealing towards the centrist and even left wing voter by contradicting right wing principles in his campaign positions. No settlement expansion and probably partial withdrawal with long term security, there went 2 seats to the settler-zionist-national-religious parties. Peace process will be continued, with security, and no strong position on security (there went 2 seats to Lieberman). Basically, as Likud shifted center a portion of it's traditional base jumped ship and moved to Lieberman as the strong security guy.
Kadima got it's votes almost accidentally, due to incompetence of it's left wing opponents. Likud, however, lost seats to Lieberman directly due to the positions it took, abandoning some of it's base. This was a major political error that may have actually been INTENTIONAL. Bibi may not have wanted an overly large Likud, as it would have included people he'd rather not have there (aka Feiglin and crew). If Kadima didn't make the unexpected gains, this might have put him in a good position to lead a national unity government with Kadima and Labor, and avoid small party negotiations. I suspect he was surprised by the result.
Of course, man tracht, G-t lacht - men plan, G-d laughs.
BS"D - בסיעתא דשמיא