Can Bibi Netanyahu remain in power? Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90
Israel

Bibi Lacks a Majority in the Right-Wing Majority

Let me help you understand the picture after Israel’s election, and whether or not Netanyahu can remaining power

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The right-wing in Israel has constituted a firm majority in the Knesset for the past 20 years already. The Left hasn’t been able to cobble together a majority even with the support of the Arab parties. This advantage notwithstanding, incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud Party do not have a majority within this majority.

In last week’s election, the Likud under Netanyahu won just 30 out of the Knesset’s 120 seats. That might make it the largest party in Knesset, but in order to form a stable majority coalition, they need at least another 31 lawmakers to join them. The numbers are there. The right-wing conservative bloc controls a total of 72 seats in the 24th Knesset. Likud has 30 of those, while the other 42 are split between six other parties ranging from right-wing nationalist to ultra-Orthodox. The voters who put these 42 non-Likud conservative lawmakers in office did not choose Netanyahu. Why not?

Most ultra-Orthodox voters cast their ballots according to rabbinical guidelines, and so will always choose the two ultra-Orthodox parties (16 seats). The right-wing voters who gave...

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