One week to go before the Israeli general election and I have a prediction. I predict that Bibi Netanyahu will be re-elected Prime Minister with a right-wing coalition led by Likud. You might say well that is not a great leap of faith, given that he is the current PM and that the right have a slight majority of seats in the polls. But, the left also is doing quite well and in fact the joint so-called Zionist Union party consisting of Labor and Hatnua are actually 2-3 seats ahead of Likud itself. But, the reason I base my prediction on is that it was reported in The Jerusalem Post today that Haneen Zoabi, one of the leading Arab politicians in Israel and a staunch opponent of the Jewish State has reportedly been persuaded to provide her party’s support for the Zionist Union of Isaac Herzog. If this turns out to be true, then it would be the first time in history that an Arab Party would actually vote for a specific party to become the Government of Israel, and it would be a historic change.
Some background, Haneen Zoabi is extremely anti-Zionist, she was aboard the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara that tried to break the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza, she has been outspoken as a vocal critic of everything to do with Israel, she is in effect a traitor to this country. Until now no Arab party has ever actually participated in any government in Israel. But, what has changed. The fact is that the election process was revised so that the minimum threshold for a party to enter the Knesset was raided to 3.5% (of the total vote). That means that any small party that got less than 4 seats would be eliminated. This drove the three main Arab parties, one nationalist, one communist and one Islamic, to form an unlikely join list, after difficult negotiations. Now that joint Arab party might garner up to 13 seats, which could make it an important element in the Knesset and give it the role of king-maker in the formation of any government coalition.
Zoabi at first rejected any involvement in the coalition forming process, but as it was pointed out to her, with Arab support Herzog might have the chance of becoming PM instead of Netanyhau. However, since NO respectable Zionist leader has ever been prepared to allow his government to be dependent on the support of anti-Zionist Arabs, that would put Herzog in a difficult position. I am sure that Tzipi Livni, Herzog’s partner would have no compunction of doing this in order to gain power, at any price. But, I am hoping that seeing this possibility, real Zionists will foreclose this unlikely outcome and vote for Netanyahu and Likud to prevent Herzog from being able to form a Government of Israel dependent on an anti-Israel Arab party. But, even if Herzog were prepared to accept Arab support to form a coalition I am betting that other Zionist parties would not agree to be part of that coalition and would remove their support from Herzog, leaving Netanyahu as the only possible leader.