After voters split over who should lead Israel following parliamentary elections, Benjamin Netanyahu and Tzipi Livni continue to woo smaller parties to build a coalition government. On February 19, the Saban Center for Middle East Policy hosted a discussion analyzing the results of the elections. Senior Fellow Martin Indyk, director of the Saban Center, discussed the players in the newly elected government and their likely approach to war and peace in the Middle East. Stanley Greenberg, former polling advisor to President Bill Clinton and Prime Minister Ehud Barak, discussed the shifts in Israeli public opinion that led to the election results.
Indyk is author of Innocent Abroad: An Intimate Account of American Peace Diplomacy in the Middle East (Simon & Schuster, 2009), in which he chronicles his dealings with five Israeli prime ministers and the Middle East’s Arab leaders. He drew on these experiences, as well as his close personal and professional relationships with the current Israeli and Palestinian leadership, to provide a window into the strategies likely to be pursued by the new ruling coalition. Greenberg’s newly released book, Dispatches from the War Room (St. Martin’s Press, 2009), outlines his experience as a pollster and consultant for five pivotal world leaders, including Ehud Barak during his successful campaign to become Israeli prime minister in 1999. Greenberg discussed the many factors that influence and shape Israeli public opinion and how they led to the February 10 election results.