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On Israel vote eve, Netanyahu fends off surge to his right

Published on Jan 22, 2013 6:17 AM
 
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (centre) stands with Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat (right) and Communications Minister Moshe Kahlon outside the Menachem Begin Heritage Center in Jerusalem on Jan 21, 2013. Israelis vote on Tuesday for the first time since revolutions convulsed their Arab neighbours, in an election expected to push the Jewish state even further to the right, away from peace with Palestinians and towards greater confrontation with Iran. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

JERUSALEM (REUTERS) - Israelis vote on Tuesday for the first time since revolutions convulsed their Arab neighbours, in an election expected to push the Jewish state even further to the right, away from peace with Palestinians and towards greater confrontation with Iran.

After a lacklustre campaign, the election could be on course to give Israel the most hardline government in its history, deepening its international isolation and potentially putting strains on its relations with Washington.

Polls - though notoriously inaccurate in the past - predict right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to be re-elected, but with a parliamentary majority forecast to shrink, in part because of the rise of a far-right group even more uncompromising than his own ultranationalist allies.

The election finds Israel largely focusing inward at a time when its region is changing faster than ever.

 
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