The first election I clearly remember as a child growing up in Jerusalem was that of 1992. Israel had only two television channels back then—one of which aired infomercials on a loop—so being allowed to stay up late to watch the returns that night was mesmerizing: It ingrained politics in my mind as the best show in town. The climax of a drawn-out ideological feud between two Yitzhaks (Shamir and Rabin), that election was so nerve-racking that I recall my mother sitting perfectly still by our kitchen table; she wanted to hear the results but couldn’t bring herself to watch. In the end, Rabin won by a hair's breadth, and managed to push through an unprecedented peace agreement. Dovish Israelis still look back to that year as the heyday of Israel's left wing.
On Tuesday, Israelis will vote once again, but the circumstances could not be more different.