From Daniel Doron writing at The Weekly Standard:
Elections have grown increasingly contentious in countries across the globe. This makes sense; governments have become immensely powerful in the face of growing challenges, governments control a much greater share of the economy, and the benefits of dispensing government largesse are increasing exponentially. More recently, thanks to the “innovations” of James Carville and his ilk, campaigns have become ever more bitter and negative. Instead of debating serious issues, campaigns are now filled with ad hominem attacks and mudslinging.
Nowhere is this more true than in Israel. Israel, after all, faces existential threats that no other nation faces, real threats to its very legitimacy and existence. Government decisions can determine matters of life and death. People are therefore passionately concerned about politics — it literally affects their survival.
Moreover, as a result of more than fifty years of purist socialist ideology, which caused Israeli politics to totally dominate the economy, a very destructive nexus was created between politicians and the tycoons who own all of the large price gouging monopolies, along with most of the media. Lack of competition and efficiency resulted in low salaries and high prices. As a result, most Israelis live barely above the poverty line, and hundreds of thousands of families cannot make ends meet without government assistance. Nearly a million Israelis have emigrated in the last three decades because of the lack of economic opportunity.
Read the rest of the story at The Weekly Standard.