In a region surrounded by conflict and political action for decades, how can one not think about politics? So it is only natural that Israelis are very politically aware. I found during my time there that you could discuss politics with pretty much anyone. Of course, not everyone will have the same point of view as you do on any given subject, and especially on the conflict. Nonetheless, the Israelis are very engaging in conversation and you can learn a lot from having a discussion with them.
It would be very difficult to give even a brief description of the politics and intricacies within Israel and the surrounding region. However, here is a brief overview of some of the important players.
Likud Party It is headed by Binyamin Netanyahu, the current Prime Minister of Israel. It is a right-wing party that centers around the right to settlements in the Palestinian territories and a mixed liberal economic policy. Its Charter rejects the establishment of a Palestinian state, but some of its actors have been mitigated about this topic.
Kadima Party Kadima is a centre-right party stemming from the Likud. It was formed as a breakaway branch from the Likud due to their difference in position about the concession of land to the Palestinians. Its political platform includes increasing social security and health care as well as establishing civil marriage within Israel.
Kadima used to be the main opposition to the Likud, but in May 2012, a historic coalition was formed between the two parties. The coming together of the Likud and the Kadima parties thereby ensures a 94 seats majority in the 120 seats Knesset, the Israeli Parliament. (http://judaism.about.com/od/politics/a/potparties.htm)
The Palestinian Authority
There is no national entity established as a Palestinian State. However, it is important to note that the Palestinian National Authority is the political body which represents the aspiration for a Palestinian state. The current President of the Palestinian Authority is Mahmoud Abbas and the Prime Minister is Salam Fayyad.
The political makeup of the Palestinian’s voice for an established Palestinian nation is very complicated and includes many different factions that both form coalitions and rivalries with each other. To further complicate the matter, certain branches of the different parties are considered terrorist organizations by some main political actors in the world. However, the two main parties involved in the Palestinian National Authority are the Fatah and the Hamas. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palestinian_National_Authority)
– Mercedes Moya