Daily Archives: February 10, 2009

Gideon Rachman

I am beginning to have religious doubts. For the first time in my life, it has occurred to me that maybe the ultra-Orthodox Jews really do have a direct line to the Lord. There is a group living here in Jerusalem who regard the Israeli state as an abomination because it has been formed before the return of the Messiah. They had called upon God to signal his disapproval of Israel by smiting Tuesday’s elections with storms. And lo, it came to pass. The weather on election day was filthy: torrential rain, gale-force winds, even hail at one point. The winds were so powerful that they blew my new light-weight glasses off my face and they disappeared somewhere. So I am typing this blind. God knows what words are coming out on the screen.

Despite the weather, the elections went ahead. The exit polls suggest that Livni and Kadima will be the largest party, closely followed by Likud, with the far-right Yisrael Beiteinu and “Yvette” Lieberman beating Labour into fourth place. So Livni would get first shot at forming a government, but might not be able to secure a majority. 

Gideon Rachman

James Ferguson's

You might expect a general election conducted just weeks after a war to be a tense affair. But, as Israel prepares to go to the polls this week, the country does not feel on edge. The joggers on Tel Aviv’s beaches pound up and down in the surf, oblivious to the anarchy and violence an hour’s drive away in the Gaza Strip.