Here is an assessment of the directions Israel could go in:
- Older and wiser, or just older? Netanyahu eventually became prime minister after the assassination of Nobel Peace Prize winner Yitzhak Rabin in 1995. Bibi's hawkishness -- along with, of course, the flaws of his Palestinian counterpart, Yasser Arafat -- helped clip the wings of the dove of peace that seemed so promising with the 1993 signing of the Oslo Accords. Has Bibi learned from his mistakes as PM from 1996-99? Or will he turn even more macho in the wake of threats from Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria, and Iran?
- Present imperfect. Livni led a war against Hamas in Gaza that resulted in international outcry against Israel -- although we must admit that Israel cannot move a tank from its base without drawing protests -- and, more seriously, failed to silence the rockets from Gaza or curtail their increasing distance.
- Blinded by the right(-wing). Meet Avigdor Lieberman, would-be kingmaker (or prime minister-maker), whose Yisrael Beytenu party thinks it's a good idea to add fuel to an already-tense situation by displacing Israeli Arabs. "The responsibility for primarily Arab areas such as Umm Al-Fahm and the 'triangle' will be transferred to the Palestinian Authority," the party website proclaims in its platform. "In parallel, Israel will officially annex Jewish areas in Judea and Samaria. Israel is our home; Palestine is theirs." Yisrael Beytenu is one more right-wing threat to a country that has enough of them.