The second round of Israeli elections has left the electorate in a similar, yet distinctly new situation to the one it faced just a few months prior: uncertainty, but a high likelihood of a seismic shift.
No coalition at this point can reach the 61 votes needed to form a government in the Knesset, yet with Likud’s failure to form a government before, and the Arab list’s statement that they will recommend a Blue-and-White ticket under Gantz, his likelihood of receiving the nod from Yisrael-Beitenu and Avigdor Lieberman, enough to push him over the limit, greatly increases. Lieberman has already labelled the Arab list as an enemy, and said that he won’t join Gantz, but the process is still not complete.
With the potential to have a regime backed by both the secular right Yisrael-Beitenu and the Arab list together has the potential to break apart the political stalemate that has fragmented Israel for more than a decade.
Netanyahu’s stench of corruption is kept him from receiving an outright majority and his desperate attempts to gather more votes prior to each of the last two elections cannibalizing voters from far-right parties, including Yisrael Beitenu, means that they may return the favor and back his opponents, forcing him to face corruption charges post-election.
What the future holds regarding the crucial issues of the hour, the future of the West Bank, and the relationship that Israel will maintain with both its allies, and its neighbors and rivals, including the US, Saudi, and even China, will bank on the results of this election.
A seismic shift may be in order if this takes place, although it wouldn’t be sudden or clear at first. It would simply replace a recalibration: in an era of lifetime leaders, political dynasties, cold wars, and stalemates, it represents the potential to hit the reset button, to allow some fresh blood to head this region, plagued with intractable conflicts.
Staff writer: Ari B