The system in Israel is a very painstaking and slow process. There is a great fear of using electronic methods .The traditional method of placing individual ballots in an envelope and putting it into the voting box still is used. There is a almost a romantic excitement that surrounds this method. In many of the polling booths parents brought their children to watch them vote. As of the writing of this piece on the morning after the numbers seem to point to a standoff between the right nationalist block and the “centrist left” block. Yet was in fact a falsehood and media spin.
With 99 percent of the votes counted, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Likud, which ran together with Yisrael Beytenu, took 31 seats. Yair Lapid’s “Yesh Atid” party are predicted with 19 seatsThe Labor party has 17. The “Bayit Yehudi “( religous Zionist party ) finally received 12 and Shas won 11 seats each. Yahadut HaTorah (Gimmel) got 7 seats, Tzipi Livni’s Hatnua party recieved 6 seats, Meretz is predicted to have 6, the Jewish-Arab Hadash party took 4 the other Arab parties together earned 7, and Kadima appears to have passed the voting threshold with just 2 seats. Roughly one-quarter of a million voters chose parties that did not make it into Knesset. The largest party that failed to pass the 2% threshold was Otzma Leyisrael, which had 61,825 votes. It needed only 15,000 more to enter Knesset.
Most of the media speak of a standoff between the right bloc made up of Likud, Bayit Yehudi, Shas,Aguda ( 60 seats, although it seems that the Bayit Yehudi recieved another seat and now this block is 61) and the Leftist centrist bloc made up of Yesh atid, Labor, Hatnua. Meretz and the Arab parties ( 60 seats). This discussion of a standoff seems to come out of wishful thinking on the part of the left and the media. The party of Yair Lapid ( yesh Atid) has made repeated declarations that he is not part of a leftist bloc or has clear ideas regarding the peace process with the Arabs. In fact many of the right wing voters who voted for “Yesh Atid” did so as a result of the Likud’s campaign. Netanyahu and his advisers decided to begin an all out war of hatred and misinformation regarding the “Bayit Yehudi-Jewish Home “ party and its leader Naftali Bennet. The Likud advisers hoped that such a vindictive campaign aginst the Jewish home party would bring back to the Likud ranks, especially those voters who saw in Bennet the clear headed vision they once thought reigned in the Likud party . This campaign was so effective that it did actually lessen the number of mandates for the Bennet party. Yet those mandates did not go over to the Likud. Instead they and some mandates from the Likud itself went to the Yair Lapid’s “ Yesh Atid “party
The most important facet of these elections is that they became an unmistakable call to the government to begin to focus on domestic issues and a complete rejection of a focus on the so called Peace Process. The people have lost faith in the possibility of finding any potential partner for peace on the Palestinian side.
Therefore the most probable scenario in the upcoming weeks is the following. After the votes of the soldiers will come in Naftali Bennet’s party will probably receive one more seat and the Arab Raam Tal party will lose theirs.
At that point Netanyahu will first turn to Lapit’s Yesh Atid party and then to Nafatli Bennet’s “ Bayit Yehudi” party.That will give Netanyahu between 61-63 seats. Only then will he approach Shas and Aguda. He may also approach the Kadima of Mofaz. If these Haredi parties can come up with a formula that would work regarding the army enlistment issue.