The same political system that Netanyahu thinks he has mastered could now bring about his demise.
If it was up to the Israeli public alone, Benjamin Netanyahu might well continue as prime minister when the vote on Sept. 17 is over. Polls so far show almost no change in voting patterns for the ideological party blocs from April, when the right wing parties won a majority of seats, as they have for the last decade. The opposition parties of the center, left and Arab parties continue to hold a minority.
But an outright win for Netanyahu looks increasingly unlikely. A handful of political elites, and Israel’s complex coalition-bargaining culture, might finally bring about Netanyahu’s exit.
One such leader is Yisrael Beiteinu’s Avigdor Liberman, who has been a shoe-in for Netanyahu’s coalitions in the past, and has held top ministries under his leadership. Liberman is now saying that he will recommend a unity government, rather than Likud under Netanyahu, to form the next coalition. Since none of the ideological blocs of parties have 61 seats (out of 120) to form a coalition without his party, Liberman’s demands could carry even more weight than in April, when he won five seats. Polls consistently predict he could get roughly double the seats now.
A unity government refers to the idea that Likud and Blue and White would form a coalition, possibly without the ultra-Orthodox parties, who have joined nearly all Israeli governments, with just a few exception, over Israeli history. Polls indicate that these two large parties could win a near or outright majority of seats between them. To many Jewish Israelis, unity sounds like a good idea.
The latest Peace Index from Tel Aviv University shows that 30 percent in total would prefer a unity government, broken down into those who prefer their party to lead – either Likud or Blue and White. Combined, these options top the list of options in the poll. Together with Liberman, a unity coalition could have a large, stable and secular government.
However, Blue and White, headed by Benny Gantz, has stated that it will not join a coalition led by Netanyahu. Over...Read More