The country must navigate an array of security and diplomatic challenges. But the weakening of Israel's largest parties has eroded coalition stability and policymaking.
While many outside Israel question if Israel's offensive in Gaza is proportional to the threat, it's hard to find any hand-wringing in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv.
An Israeli effort to restrict draft-dodging by its swelling ultra-Orthodox population led to mass protests in Jerusalem today.
A recent poll finds that 77 percent of Israeli Jews oppose even the principle of the Palestinian right of return, and more than half are against dismantling settlements.
The Israeli government was able to use its broad military censorship powers to block Israeli news coverage of the 'Prisoner X' case, even as foreign media were unraveling the case.
Former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin was an ardent nationalist – and a staunch defender of civil rights. Likud critics say today's party is discarding the liberal aspects of Begin's legacy.
US-Israel ties are arguably stronger and deeper now than at any time since Israel’s founding in 1948. The relationship tends to rest on shared principles rather than the personalities at the top.
It's unclear how many of Yisrael Beytenu's controversial policies Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud will adopt.
But Palestinian reasons differ dramatically from US presidential nominee Mitt Romney's secretly videotaped comments.
For decades, Israel's system of representation gave tiny parties an outsized voice, particularly on the issue of settlements. The unity government now has a chance to prioritize majority views.