Election Analysis

The main result of this election has been a tremendous success for Bibi Netanyahu.  Not only did he survive the main issue of this election campaign, which was to defeat him, but he gained votes for Likud and from the right in general.  Likud went from 30 seats in 2015 to 35 now. Although this was also a victory for Benny Gantz, who came from nowhere politically and equaled Likud’s votes.

Nevertheless, he did have a coalition in the Blue & White Party with Yair Lapid, whose party Yesh Atid had 11 seats in the previous Knesset, but they failed to unseat Netanyahu.Instead of the center drawing votes from Likud and the right, as they had hoped, they actually drew votes mainly from the left.  So Labor, running as the Zionist Union went from 24 seats, to 6 and Meretz from 5 to 4.  If you add the difference, that is 19, plus Yesh Atid’s 11 you get 30 seats, so they did a little better than just that.

Not all the right-wing parties did uniformly well, for example Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked’s New Right Party did very poorly, partly because people saw them as manipulative, dropping their old party and its members for a new one of their own.  And Zehut of Moshe Feiglin also failed to surpass the threshold.  But, the new Union of the Right (UR) did reasonably well with 5 seats.

So Netnyahu’s right-wing coalition with the two religious parties, Shas and United Torah Judaism, Kulanu and the UR, as well as Lieberman’s Yisrael Beitanu, who got 5  is likely to give him a coalition of 65, or possibly 66 when all the soldier’s votes are counted.  This is better than he did last time and will make him the longest serving PM in Israel’s history, longer even than David Ben Gurion.  The main complaint against him was that he was corrupt and may be indicted by the Attorney General.  But, he could also pass a law exempting him from prosecution while in office, as they have in several other countries, for example France.  This result is good for Pres. Trump’s policy of containing Iran and also for a more forthright policy of Israel towards the Palestinians, who are never going to come to terms with Israel, so Israel might as well go ahead and finally decide the issues unilaterally. Under Netanyahu now I hope we do.

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