The Bibi Generation: Israeli millennials vote for what and whom they know.

Author:Harkov, Lahav
 
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It wasn't really a surprise when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Likud won April's election in Israel, his fifth election victory. The Netanyahu-led right has a solid majority in Israel, and the ideological left has been relegated to the back benches of the Knesset.

Now that Netanyahu has been in office for a consecutive decade, with the potential to surpass the tenure of David Ben-Gurion if political and legal troubles don't get in the way, there's talk about "the Bibi generation." There were first-time voters this year and IDF soldiers defending our country who can barely remember anyone else being prime minister.

I'm more than a decade too old to be in "the Bibi generation." I was in college when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returned to office in 2009 after a 10-year break. But in a way, I'm still part of it, because I moved to Israel in the summer of 2005, three and a half years before Netanyahu's second ascent. Those first years were chaotic: We saw the emotionally wrenching Gaza disengagement, the new Kadima party's split from Likud, then-prime minister Ariel Sharon's stroke, the consequences of the Gaza disengagement with Hamas capturing IDF soldier Gilad Shalit, plus the Second Lebanon War--and that was just in one year. Then we had protests against the government for not being prepared, corruption allegations against then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, a finance minister resigning over corruption allegations, a president resigning over rape allegations, and Hamas taking over Gaza, followed by a round of rockets from Gaza leading to an Israeli military operation.

Of course, the years just before that had been more chaotic still, as Ehud Barak offered the Palestinians 92 percent of the West Bank and, in return, PLO President Yasser Arafat gave Israel the Second Intifada, four years of terror in which every bus ride or restaurant visit was like a game of Russian roulette.

That's more or less where Israeli millennials' political memories begin.

With that in mind, it's little surprise that voters, in general, have grown risk-averse. Polls show that young voters in Israel tend to be right-wing and that in their minds, the left is generally associated with concessions (never mind that no one would reasonably call Ariel Sharon left-wing).

Netanyahu campaigns as Mr. Security, but that really means he's Mr. Status Quo. Contrary to the accusations from outside Israel, Netanyahu isn't a warmongering land-grabber. He's extremely...

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