Ther's news and there's news
The Israeli election is not big news most places in the US. Oh, it will make the papers, maybe even the front page, but a lot of papers will push it back. That is somewhat understandable. We do have this financial crisis, a controversial bailout, a hopeful stimulus package, a charismatic new president and, for entertainment value, an increasingly partisan Washington featuring a cast of republican characters who seem hell bent on destroying America, and themselves, in the name of scoring points with thier rabid, ridiculous base. In most papers the Israeli elections will probably take a distant back seat to the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show (how can you not love a ten year old Sussex named "stump?").
But not in the New York Times, where the Israeli elections hold the pace of honor today as the big above the fold photograph (which isn't actually the lead story but might as well be since it's the most prominent). Israeli politics is huge in New York. If Florida is the sixth borough then Israel is the seventh. As with Florida, a lot of people in NYC live both in Israel and New York. I don't know how many people in New York vote in the Israeli elections, but I'll bet it's a lot (I also don't know how many people in Israel vote in New York elections). The pro-Israel faction of the electorate is very powerful here in the apple, even as it's losing steam to an increasingly large pro-Palestine Muslim population. So here it is a big deal.
It is said that the left in America is an enemy of Israel because of the way the left promotes peace and reconciliation with the Palestinians. It's not true but it keeps the fund raising machines operating. The left (most of the left) doesn't hate Israel, they just feel sorry for the Palestinians. The left is always attracted to the downtrodden, so there is likely some truth to that. The left's love of Palestinians today is very like the left's love of Jews in the 1930s. The blessed are those who are persecuted etc. So it's nice to once again have a prominent Israeli politician that the left can get behind. Tzipi Livini, a former Mossad agent, for cryin out loud, is the leader of Kadima, the centrist party that formed when Ariel Sharon broke with the conservative Likud Party. Her party is leading by one seat in the Israeli elections over Likud. That doens't mean she wil get to form the new government, but it seems likely. The picture in the Times shows her standing Nixon like with her arms stretched out and displaying two "victory" signs with her fingers. I'm attracted to her from an interview she did with 60 mintues a couple of seeks ago (Israeli politicians do campaing in the US, as I said) in shich she said peace with the Palestinians was an imperative, and that it had to involve a two state solution that included the dismantling of settlements. Everybody--even the Israeli's who oppose it--know that that is indeed the only way to peace. But to have the Israeli foreign minister say it is something yet again.
So in New York this is big news. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/12/world/middleeast/12mideast.html?hp