At long last it appears that the fourth Israeli election is nearing its end and with it so does seem the tidings people were waiting for; More than ninety percent of the votes have been counted and it appears that the country is bracing itself for a new deadlock.
You heard it right. The election is almost over and that remaining ten percent wouldn’t do much good to alter the results if nobody budges. As it stands Likud thanks to the efforts of the man for all seasons, Benjamin Netanyahu, has managed to secure 52 seats of the Knesset. On the other side of the aisle, the other parties defined by their unanimous opposition to Netanyahu’s reelection stand to gain 56 seats. Both sides have once again fell short of the necessary 60 + 1 seats to form the majority and begin the coalition building. Although that remaining ten percent could still possibly change the equation, because of the distribution of votes it is highly unlikely for either of the sides to achieve its ends. So what does it mean for the country?
Simply said it means that this state of political paralysis could be prolonged for at least the next few months. Just like we said it before in another piece Israel’s electoral system, though desirable and inclusive, has basically crippled the country past the point of no return. Why? Because there are simply too many conflicting voices that will have their own saying in how the things should be governed and that simply cannot conform itself to the realities about Israel, which in a sense is a modern colonial state with the ambitions to present itself as the flag-bearer of Democracy in the Middle-East. There are simply too many differences between Jews and Arabs, Ultra-Orthodox and Secular, Conservatives and Pacifists; They simply cannot find a common ground.
Interestingly enough it appears that for the first time in its history, both sides do actively seek the support of Arab minorities for victory. As expected, this weird predicament applies to both sides. Arab minorities’ voices were suppressed almost all these years and for the first time ever they have the upper hand over their opponents. Unfortunately that kind of advantage usually lasts for as long as the need to form a coalition persists. Afterwards it’s only a matter of making the right deal with the right individual and then the words are just winds. After all, Netanyahu’s administration seeks to expel them for their heritage and the other guys want them to make large concessions in exchange for temporary reliefs. In other words, it’s a zero sum game only with losers in it.
Now everything comes down to a few key players that will define the fate of the country. Just as said before, for the first time in its history we have an Arabian “kingmaker” party. Those familiar with the term remember it for the time when Avigdor Lieberman was called the same and did nothing. This time the Arab party known as Ra’am could very well decide the fate of this election. If they decide to sit this one out, it all comes down to either ultra-orthodox and ultra-nationalists which happen to have serious disagreements with each other over issues such as mandatory national duty service or treatment of female and secular rabbis in the country. How Netanyahu could possibly bring these all together is anyone’s guess but it’s either that or yet another election.
Like what happened these past two years, this election was once again about how far would the people of Israel tolerate someone like Netanyahu at the helm and even though the public have made their decision known, elites of the society still haven’t crossed him out. By the end of the week, a decision shall be made and everything would change for better or worse. Having said that, the fragility of the system is now evident for all who doubted it and one way or another things will be different after Friday.