By Caroline Glick, JPost—
The US media coverage of the Israeli election has misrepresented the results of Tuesday’s vote. This isn’t necessarily deliberate. Israeli elections are inscrutable for most foreigners, particularly for Americans who are used to the clarity of the presidential system and two-party system.
Here are a few of basic facts about how the vote has gone, and where Israel is likely to go in the days and weeks ahead.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not lose and his challenger, former IDF chief of general staff and Blue and White faction chief Benny Gantz did not win. Despite the fact that Blue and White won 33 seats in the 120-seat Knesset to Likud’s 31 seats, Gantz cannot form a government under any circumstances. He cannot build a majority coalition.
Wednesday Netanyahu assembled the heads of all the right wing and religious parties that form the basis for Likud-led governing coalitions. The factions unified into one right-wing bloc and agreed on principles for future coalition talks. They agreed to conduct coalition talks as a bloc, under Netanyahu’s leadership. By forming this 55-member bloc, Netanyahu created a situation where he is the only possible prime minister. Either the Blue and White Party — or one of its three factions — joins him, or Amir Peretz and Orly Levy bring the Labor party in, or Israel goes to new elections. Those are the only options.
In other words, it’s either going to be Netanyahu or elections. It’s up to Gantz, and Peretz.
Moreover, the balance of power is still very much on the Right. The Right has 55 seats. The Left has 44. Israel Beitenu leader Avigdor Liberman, the man who induced Israel’s political paralysis 10 months ago when he resigned his position as defense minister, and maintained the stalemate in April when he refused to join a Netanyahu-led coalition and forced the country into a second Knesset election, is nothing but a Bibi hater. If he joins Gantz with his 8-seat faction, Gantz will still be short 9 seats. A coalition with Liberman and the Arab parties is inconceivable because Liberman’s Russian voter base would abandon him if he were to go that route. Then too, the Arab parties are so extreme that they cannot be considered for any governing coalition.
This then brings us to the question of the Arab parties. Continue Reading….