For two generations, Israeli politics has been riven by one question: the future of the West Bank. A loose coalition of right-wing factions, nationalists, and religious parties wants to keep the territory conquered in 1967 and settle it with Jewish civilians, and an even looser coalition of leftists, liberals, secularists, and Arabs opposes this. For all the tribalism of Israeli politics, for all the multiplicity of parties and lists and platforms, general elections have turned on this question in its various iterations for half a century.
And since the 1970s, those elections have been mostly competitive. The Likud came out ahead in 1977 and eked out a tiny victory four years later in 1981, but then came out behind in 1984 and slightly ahead in 1988. It lost again in 1992 and then won in 1996 and lost again in 1999. It won again in the next Knesset elections in 2003, but lost again in 2006 before coming back to power in 2009.
And then the pattern broke. The right-religious coalition which came to power in the 2009 election didn’t get defeated in the next general election in 2013 nor in the one after that in 2015. Since Israeli elections started becoming genuinely competitive in the 1970s, no one has ever won three times in a row—until now. This new reality, the feeling of unstoppable victory on the right and irreparable doom on the left, has taken some dark and latent undemocratic tendencies that were always there and brought them out into the light to the detriment of both camps and of democracy in general.