With Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's Likud Party seen cruising to victory in Tuesday's national election, political pundits speculated on how Sharon was going to form the unity government he prefers with the Labor Party, whose leader has vowed to remain in opposition.
Jerusalem: Negist Mengesha's first venture in Israeli politics ended poorly. She ran in the 1994 Knesset elections on the slate of a small women's party, none of whose candidates were elected.
Next week, Mengesha is a candidate again, No.15 on the slate of the Meretz party. If elected, she will become the first Ethiopian Jewish woman to serve in the Knesset.
"I am not only a symbol" of one immigrant group's progress in Israeli society, she says. "My intention is to win."
In a last-ditch effort to block Prime Minister Ariel Sharon from being able to form a new government after the Jan. 28 election, Labor Party leaders pledged this week not to rejoin him in another unity government.
As Israelis buried their dead following back-to-back Palestinian suicide bombings Sunday in Tel Aviv that killed 22 bystanders (seven of them foreign workers) political campaign commercials began running on Israel TV Tuesday night and analysts wondered how the terror attack and new political scandals would impact the Jan. 28 national election.
Charges that members of the Likud Partyís Central Committee sold their votes for cash and other favors in this month's primary (and to a lesser extent allegations of voting irregularities in the Labor Party primary) have rocked the Israeli electorate, with one poll showing that one-fifth of Israelis plan to change their vote because of it.
Both Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Labor Party leader Amram Mitzna, who will face off in national elections Jan. 28, were sharply reminded this week that within their own parties they are more dovish than their political colleagues.