Israel’s evolving political landscape
19 September 2019
So after all the hullabaloo of a second election in five months, it seems nothing much changed in Israeli politics. According to the information available as of this writing, Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud and Benny Gantz’s Kahol Lavan are likely to win each 32 out of 120 seats in the Knesset. While Netanyahu’s bloc of right-wing and ultra-Orthodox parties is at 56 seats, the centre-left bloc of Gantz, excluding Arab parties, has 43 seats. For majority in the Knesset, a prime minister needs to have 61 seat support. As a result, once again, the smaller Yisrael Beiteinu party of Avigdor Lieberman appears to hold the balance of power. With neither major party set to get a clear majority, even with their coalition parties, Israel faces the prospect of a long period of political haggling once again.Though it is always difficult to predict the future of politicians, and that too a politician as formidable as Benjamin Netanyahu, it seems that we might be standing on the cusp of an important political moment in his political career and of Israeli politics. For more than two and half decades now, Netanyahu has defined Israeli politics in more ways than one but if the available results are to be believed, then by not gaining seats in the recent elections, Netanyahu’s political position gets weakened considerably. While the formation of a new Israeli government would take weeks, we would know in a matter of days, if this is the beginning of the end of the Netanyahu era in Israeli politics.
Harsh V. Pant
Professor Harsh V Pant is Director, Studies and Head of the Strategic Studies Programme at Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi. He holds a joint appointment with the Department of Defence Studies and King's India Institute as Professor of International Relations at King’s College >>