Among the new faces vying for votes in next month’s Israeli election are impressive Arab lawyer Ayman Uda, darling of the right Miri Regev and Stav Shaffir, a tent city protester not yet turned 30.
It’s a refreshing mix.
But the big names are still there, and biggest of all is Bibi, gunning for his fourth term as prime minister.
If he gets it he would equal Ben-Gurion, an interesting fact given the widely different statures of the two men.
Talk to those in the know and they’ll tell you that this year it’s a question of whether Israelis have finally had enough of the Likud leader and whether Israel – like many of her allies – is now suffering ‘Bibi fatigue.’
At home he is seen as good on security, but the country has other interests. Inequality is acute and new social divides seem to appear almost weekly.
Too right-wing for some, not right enough for others, Netanyahu has made few friends during his tenure. Abroad, his popularity has plummeted, having openly antagonised the leaders of allies such as France and the United States.
While the leaders of Germany and Britain may hold Netanyahu in slightly higher regard, neither holds a candle for him (senior British Jewish leaders are on record as criticising his “lack of vision”). He has even irked important regional allies such as Jordan.
Ahead of the 17 March vote, Israelis may wonder whether he is still the best man to represent them. If not, they’ll ask: who is? Opposition leader Isaac ‘Buji’ Herzog, a wealthy dynast from Tel Aviv, is yet to capture the imagination of the public, much like Ed Miliband here.
Elections shouldn’t be about personalities, but they often are, and just as many Brits simply cannot see Miliband in Number 10, so many Israelis have the same doubts about Herzog. Ironically, this mix of abrasive and mild may make it easier to form a coalition of Herzog’s Zionist Union and Bibi’s Likud.
While Netanyahu’s politics may be closer to those of Naftali Bennett’s ultra-nationalist ‘Jewish Home’ party, he does not like being the least right-wing politician in a ruling coalition. The two parties may need each other, to make up the numbers. But others could do that too.
With three weeks to go, neither Herzog nor Netanyahu has much upward momentum, whereas Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid, the centrist former Finance Minister who fell out with Netanyahu over a “discriminatory” bill, seems to have timed it well, given that he is ‘on the up’ in polls.
Elsewhere a new united Arab party is predicted to be the Knesset’s third biggest. There’s everything to play for.