Top Trumps is a children’s game where the aim is for a player to trump his opponent by gaining their cards. A card is gained if the subject’s numerical value is higher than on the opponent’s card.
If the Top Trump brand decided to recreate the card game focusing on the 2013 Israeli election what card will be the ultimate trump card? What main factor compelled the Israeli electorate to vote the way they did?
As soon as one hears the word Israel, one of the first things to spring to mind is the Israel-Palestine conflict.Israel’s borders are surrounded by its enemies and rockets are frequently fired into the South. The need for conscription into the army demonstrates the necessity for a strong army. Even if an Israeli citizen is currently not walking around in an army uniform, they for certain know someone who is. Each and every Israeli civilian is affected by the concepts ‘peace’ and ‘war’.
However, ‘peace’ and ‘war’ is not the top trump for the recent election. The Israelis are growing tired of the conflict. Instead of electing a government who may or may not fail in the peace process, they have decided to vote for other issues.
Israelis have for the first time voted for change domestically as most important. The 2011 J14 protests certainly made an impact. This is highlighted in Yesh Atid’s gain. Yesh Atid campaigned for social justice and more equality which resulted in them coming up on top. Hatnua also has a social justice agenda. They were rewarded for this by being the first party to join Netanyahu’s new coalition.
One thing which is puzzling about the social justice victory is that it was not translated by votes. The Left lost 59 to 61. Kadima, a leading central left party in the last election, only gained 2 seats in this one. Through these figures, we can rule out ‘domestic issues’ and ‘social justice’ as the top trump.
So what is next? The relationship between religion and the state? Before this 2013 election was held, one topic which was at the forefront of Israeli politics was the Tal law. The argument was the ultra-orthodox, who make up 9% of the population, should also be required to fight for their country. This factor definitely had an influence on the election. Both Yesh Atid and Bayit Yehudi made considerable gains arguably on this ground. Both parties are newly formed, and both parties maintain in their manifesto’s that the ultra-orthodox should join the army.
Is this one topic issue large enough to influence the whole election? I don’t believe so. Another possible top trump card which must be considered is the ‘frustration at politicians.’ All countries have fair share of scandals, but the exasperation towards former MKs shown through. Yesh Atid gained 19 seats from 0 with not one politician featuring on the list. What is clear is that the Israelis want change.
Netanyahu however has been re-elected and is in the midst of forming a new coalition. The outrage over political scandals evidently was not fully interpreted in the election.
Maybe we should ditch the idea of the ultimate top trump card and instead focus on the player. The player which won the 2012 Israeli election is Yair Lapid. Each potential top trump card is linked with Lapid. He promotes social justice, he wants to implement the ultra-orthodox into the army, and he is a fresh face.
Congratulations Lapid, you have just won the game.