The Elections in Israel 1999

Edited by Asher Arian & Michal Shamir

Subjects: Politics
Series: SUNY series in Israeli Studies
Paperback : 9780791453162, 303 pages, March 2002
Hardcover : 9780791453155, 303 pages, March 2002

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Table of contents


Part I. Voting Behavior

1. Candidates, Parties, and Blocs
Asher Arian and Michal Shamir

2. Were Voters Strategic?
Paul R. Abramson and John H. Aldrich

3. Split-ticket Voting in the 1996 and 1999 Elections
Dana Arieli-Horowitz

4. Social Cleavages among non-Arab Voters: A New Analysis
Michael Shalev with Sigal Kis

Part II. Groups

5. The Continuing Electoral Success of Shas: A Cultural Division of Labor Analysis
Yoav Peled

6. Israel as an Ethnic State: The Arab Vote
As'ad Ghanem and Sarah Ozacky-Lazar

7. The “Russian” Revolution in Israeli Politics
Zvi Gitelman and Ken Goldstein

Part III. Political Parties and the Election Campaign

8. The Triumph of Polarization
Daphna Canetti, Howard L. Frant, and Ami Pedahzur

9. Barak, One—One Israel, Zero, Or, How Labor Won the Prime Ministerial Race and Lost the Knesset Elections
Gideon Doron

10. The Likud's Campaign and the Headwaters of Defeat
Jonathan Mendilow

11. The Appearance of the Center Party in the 1999 Elections
Nathan Yanai

12. Candidate Selection in a Sea of Changes: Unsuccessfully Trying to Adapt?
Gideon Rahat

13. Struggles Over the Electoral Agenda: The Elections of 1996 and 1999 269
Gabriel Weimann and Gadi Wolfsfeld


Considers the impact of the 1999 Israeli elections.


This volume highlights Israel's 1999 elections, in which the prime-ministerial race between incumbent Benjamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak ended with Barak winning by the biggest landslide ever in Israel. Although some observers interpreted these results as a fundamental shift in public opinion, there is little evidence to support this. The book shows how old patterns funneled into a new system of voting produced the 1999 results, where a weak candidate (Barak) bested a wounded prime minister (Netanyahu) abandoned by most of his political allies. Leading social scientists from Israeli and American universities, using a variety of approaches and coming from diverse intellectual traditions, address topics including the emergence of political blocs, strategic voting, and split ticket voting. In addition to major party performance, special interest parties—who did better than ever in 1999—are also discussed, such as the haredi, ultra-orthodox, non-Zionist Shas, the anti-haredi secular Shinui, two parties appealing to former Soviet émigrés and Arab parties.

Asher Arian is Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, a Senior Research Fellow at the Israel Democracy Institute, and Professor of Political Science at the University of Haifa. Michal Shamir is Professor of Political Science at Tel Aviv University.


"This book covers the elections from a number of different standpoints, and does it well. There are many surprising elements, including the reasons for the death of the major parties, the failure of the Center Party when only weeks before the election it was thought that it would be a major force, the reemergence of class as a variable, and more." — Joel S. Migdal, author of Through the Lens of Israel: Explorations in State and Society

"In a single illuminating volume that deals with one of Israel's most critical election campaigns, Arian and Shamir have brought together the best researchers engaged in studying Israeli politics. All the important issues deriving from the 1999 election are discussed in depth and from a comparative perspective. Anyone desirous of learning about Israeli politics will be highly rewarded by this collection." — Hanna Herzog, Tel Aviv University