The election result – Netanyahu is therefore triumphant and will rule with the extreme right. The new majority is indeed clear and is made up of the Likud (32 seats), religious Zionism (14 seats) and the two religious parties (19 seats combined). A total of 65 seats (out of 120 in the Knesset, the parliament), easily securing Israel a stable government after five elections in just over three years.
The Lapid-led counter-front (including Benny Gantz, Labour, Avigdor Lieberman and Mansour Abbas’ Islamists) is stuck at 50 seats. Another 5 – outside the blocks – counts the Arab left of Hadash Taal. Outside the Knesset would remain the left of Meretz, the Arab nationalists of Balad and the right of Ayelet Shaked, accused of forging a secret deal with Netanyahu to win moderate right votes to steal from the radicals.
Meretz and Balad are hoping for a last-minute miracle to clear the 3.25 percent hurdle: If this succeeds, the distribution of seats could change, but not – so analysts and experts assure – the overall picture.
Effects of voting – The fact is that the testimony of Ben Gvir – and his comrade Bezalel Smotrich – poses a political problem for Netanyahu both internally and externally. The radical ideology of religious Zionism – which seems to have been rewarded by the young electorate – becomes a test of the solidity of the next executive branch even for a seasoned statesman like Netanyahu, the longest-serving prime minister in Israel’s history, more so than the father of the homeland David Ben-Gurion .
In his first comment, Ben Gvir was reticent: “I will work for everyone in Israel, even for those who hate me.” He then added that he would be part of a “completely right-wing government”.
As is well known, even before the vote, the radical MP called for the Ministry of Public Security, as well as his convictions: annexation of the entire West Bank with no rights for Palestinians; rejection of the 2-state solution; free hands for soldiers and police officers; placed on the index of “disloyal” Israeli Arabs.
Netanyahu will have to face this picture. Even before the US elections and the Gulf States, the Likud leader warned of the alliance with Ben Gvir, which could have repercussions on the relations that have been established the agreements of Abraham. Former US Ambassador to Israel Martin Indik has predicted a “hard road” in relations with the US if Ben Gvir takes office. And it’s no coincidence that State Department spokesman Ned Price hoped the next government would “respect the rights of minorities.”
“We hope that all officials in the new Israeli government will continue to share the values of an open and democratic society, including tolerance and respect for all, especially minorities,” Price said.
On the other spring, that of Lapid, the feeling of defeat it’s total and the rags are already flying. The prime minister, who has declined to attend the forthcoming COP27 environmental conference in Egypt, has been accused by his allies of not campaigning well. Union leader Merav Michaeli, whose resignation has been requested, is also being charged.