Israel Reacts to Election Uncertainty
Israeli press isn’t sure which way to call the election, and officials are being very careful about announcing premature results
Who will be the next Prime Minister of Israel? Headlines across the Israeli press reflect the ambiguity of the stalemate in yesterday’s election results.
LOOKING FOR A WAY OUT – Israel Hayom
As Israelis wait for the final results to come in, it appears that there is no outright winner in the election. Neither the right nor left wing parties claimed a clear-cut majority, and neither are in a position to get to the 61 majority necessary to establish a coalition government.
Adding to the consternation of all the Jewish parties, the newly formed anti-Zionist Joint Arab List grew and is now the third largest political party in Israel.
GOVERNMENT IN KNOTTED TANGLE – Yediot Aharonot
Netanyahu was not able to achieve the 61-seat right-wing block needed to set up a government and guarantee yet another term as prime minister.
The Kahanists are out of the government after failing to achieve the minimum number of votes needed to sit in the Knesset (Rabbi Meir Kahane was the founder of the Jewish Defense League and the Kach party in Israel, an ultra-Orthodox, right-wing group considered by many to be extreme. The group was barred from participating in election in 1988 for inciting racism.)
NETANYAHU’S BLOC AHEAD BUT FAILS TO SECURE MAJORITY – Ha’aretz
The Joint Arab List surged. The left-wing Labor and Democratic parties made it in, and the Kahanists are out.
NETANYAHU AND RIGHT-WING FALL SHORT OF MAJORITY FOR COALITION – Ynet
Attention will now focus on President Reuven Rivlin, who will choose the candidate he believes has the best chance of forming a stable coalition, but if that doesn’t work, new elections would be triggered, yet again
LIBERMAN’S GAMBIT PAYS OFF AS YISRAEL BEYTENU REMAINS KINGMAKER – Jerusalem Post
Avigdor Liberman, leader of the centrist Our Home Israel party, nearly doubled his support and with 9-10 mandates is now the lynch pin that can put Netanyahu over the top and make him prime minister. However, Liberman insists that he is unwilling to join a coalition that includes the ultra-Orthodox unless they concede to demands of army conscription, easing Shabbat restrictions and requiring Zionist education in Orthodox religious schools.
Here are the estimated number of mandates received by each party after more than 90% of the votes have been counted. 61 is the minimum number of mandates needed to set up coalition government.
Blue & White (Gantz/Lapid – Center-Left) 32
Likud (Netanyahu – Right) 32
Joint Arab List (Left – anti-Zionist) 12
Liberman – Yisrael Beteinu (Center) 9
Shas (Ultra-Ortodox – Right) 9
United Torah Judaism (Right) 8
United Right (Right) 7
Labor – Gesher (Left) 6
Democratic Camp (Left) 5
Total: Right 56, Left 55, Center 9
Final results could make slight adjustments to these results.