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A Woman Prime-Minister for Israel?

It may have been uncharacteristically stormy this election day in Israel, but the wind and the rain seemed the only elements truly stirring. After the anticipation and excitement of the US elections and Obama’s historic win, the Israeli elections seemed downright anticlimactic.

Other than streets papered with political propaganda, you would hardly know an election was taking place. And most people I spoke to during my visit were less than thrilled by the selection of candidates--"there's no one to vote for", they told me, "they are all the same". Considering the recent escalation in Gaza and what is truly at stake for a larger middle East peace, the lack of enthusiasm is striking.

Yes, it is the first time since Golda Mair--Israel’s first prime minister--that a woman has assumed the helm of a major party. Tzipi Livni’s Kadima party (meaning “change” in Hebrew) received a surprising number of votes. But she has worked little for the cause of women’s rights and her gender has been little discussed in this election cycle.

If she does indeed manage to form a coalition government, the only way her party will gain power—she seems destined to continue the policies of her predecessors. All signs, however, point to right wing Benjamin Netanyahu as the one who will ultimately assume the reigns of power. Which brings a heavy heart to those of us hoping to ride the coat-tails of change eminating from the recent Obama victory.

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