Friday, April 10, 2009

Israeli elections and Armenia's friends

This was first published in February 21, 2009 Armenian Reporter

Armenia’s Israeli friends re-elected to Knesset
by Emil Sanamyan

Ze'ev Elkin, left, with Bibi Netanyahu during the election campaign

, - Following general elections on February 10, the Israeli political scene remains deadlocked, with no one party or bloc enjoying a majority in the nation's Knesset.

Media reports suggest that former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu of the right-of-center Likud party is most likely to lead the next government, which might also include his main rival, outgoing foreign minister Tsipi Livni of the centrist Kadima party. On February 19 Mr. Netanyahu won the support of two right-wing parties that won the third and fifth largest shares of seats in the parliament.

Among those re-elected is co-chair of the Israel-Armenia parliamentary friendship group, Ze'ev Elkin, now with Likud. Mr. Elkin was elected to the Knesset in 2006 on the Kadima list, but left the party over its support for a Palestinian state. Last year, Mr. Elkin sought to raise the long-taboo subject of the Armenian Genocide in the Knesset. (See an interview with him in the April 12, 2008, issue of the Armenian Reporter.)

Also re-elected was Chaim Oron, veteran politician and leader of a small leftist Meretz party, who has long championed Armenian Genocide affirmation efforts.

Among those not re-elected was Yosef Shagal, a lobbyist for Azerbaijan who, following several public embarrassments, was dropped from the list of the Yisrael Beitenu party of Avigdor Lieberman.

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