Jerusalem- Despite the fact that official results of the Israeli election have yet to be published since the votes have not yet been inserted on the main database of the Central Election Committee, over 90% of the votes have indeed been counted and the picture emerging is of a virtual tie between the two main parties and no clear winner within the left-wing and right-wing blocs. Likud and Blue-And-White each have 32 seats, the Joint Arab List has 12, Shas has 9, Aguda 8, Yamina 7, Avoda-Gesher 6 and the Democratic Union-Meretz has 5 seats.
As mentioned in earlier posts, the only clear winner is Avigdor Liberman, whose party gained four seats over the April election and now has 9 seats, meaning that it can decide which party it wants to form the next government.
Liberman has often stated that he wants a national unity government formed between his own party, Blue-And-White and the Likud. Such a government would be secular, liberal and extremely anti-Chareidi, since both Liberman and Blue-And-White co-leader Yair Lapid expressed strong opposition to what they view as Chareidi religious coercion in legislation.
It is unclear however whether the Likud will agree to be party to such a secular government. The Likud has a longstanding relationship with the Chareidi parties and may not want to jeopardize it for what could be a difficult and short-termed relationship with Blue-And-White.
Moreover it is very unclear who would serve as prime minister in such a constellation. Would it be Netanyahu, who may yet have the largest party (the army’s votes counted later tend to favor the right-wing) or would it be Benny Gantz, or would there be a rotation between Netanyahu, Gantz and Lapid, or even Liberman himself? The election has left more questions than answers at present.
The only other option would be if Netanyahu succeeded in enticing Amir Peretz to join a right-wing government of if Blue-And-White split and part of it joined a right-wing government. There are right-wing elements within Blue-And-White and even a Chareidi woman, but would they split off to join a government? This scenario is highly unlikely but in the present impasse it could still be possible.