Israeli News: A Daily Analysis

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A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman

February 8, 2009--Agreement Maybe Close- Undecided the Unknown in Election

Two rockets landed in Israel today as reports from Cairo say that an agreement has been reached between Hamas and Egypt on the terms of the ceasefire. The ceasefire has not been finalized, as an agreement has not been reached between Hamas Gaza and Hamas Damascus on whether to accept the ceasefire. Representatives of Hamas Gaza have flown to Damascus to try to convince the leadership in Damascus to accept a long term ceasefire. For the first time they are using terms such as, 'resistance does not have to be military, but also can take the form of building as well'. If that view actually takes hold then the war in Gaza will have been a success. As of tonight it is not clear whether Hamas Damascus, which is under great influence of Iran, is willing to accept the Gaza's opinion. The next few days should answer the question.

The Israeli elections are now two days away and there will be no new polls until the actual polls are taken starting on Tuesday morning. The big question seems to be the undecided voters, with polls showing anything from 15 to 30% of the electorate is undecided. From a very unscientific poll I have taken in the last few days, every Israeli I know who plans to vote on Tuesday is still undecided as to who to vote for.

Meanwhile in the last days of the campaign, the parties are making their last pitches. Kadima and Likud are making a very simple argument it is either Minister of Foreign Affairs Livni or former Prime Minister of MK Netanyahu. Their goals is to get those planning to vote for the smaller parties, either left or right, to vote for them. The smaller parties are making the opposite pitch. Shas has come out with a one two punch. They are running ads on television showing secular looking people saying, "I usually vote for Likud but today I am voting Shas for its social economic programs". It then runs an ad that shows a card that has Shas' symbol on one side and a picture of Netanyahu on the other side, showing they both go together. On the other side of the coin Rabbi Ovadia made a speech saying that anyone voting for MK Lieberman (Yisrael Beteinu) was voting for the devil and to vote for Lieberman was like eating ham. Some say that this will be double edged sword - perhaps losing Lieberman some religious votes but getting more Russians out on what is expecting to be a rainy election day to vote for him.