In the final count, Likud won 31 Knesset seats, Yesh Atid 19, Labor 15, Bayit Yehudi 12, Shas 11, United Torah Judaism seven, Meretz and The Tzipi Livni Party six each, the three Arab parties a total of 11, and Kadima two. This gives the Right bloc 61 seats and the Center-Left bloc 59 in the next Knesset.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu began the process of building a new governing coalition on Wednesday with his Likud Beytenu ally Avigdor Liberman and the big winner in Tuesday’s election, Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid.
Netanyahu agreed with Lapid and Liberman that the next government would focus on reducing housing costs, reforming the electoral system, and equalizing the burden of military and national service. But they did not agree on which parties should be in the coalition and who should receive the top portfolios.
The prime minister would prefer to give the Foreign Ministry position to Lapid, who speaks perfect British-accented English and whose moderate image could improve Israel’s ties with the United States and Europe. But Liberman said he wanted to return to his former job once he is clear of his legal troubles and suggested that Lapid be finance minister.
A reader writes, with the subject line “Israel and the Tea Party Strategy”:
I was expecting to write to you with the opposite point, about the vindication of these strategies, but unfortunately, I’m saying this instead.
The security right in Israel tried the Tea Party strategy of electing more extreme candidates in the primaries to for [sic] the establishment leader Bibi to take a harder line. Bennet and to a lesser extent Shas was basically Operation Counterweight. The security conservative Jewish Home and the (Sephardi) religious conservative Shas even RAN as that in some of their literature – as conservative parties to be part of Netanyahu’s coalition, and in Bennett’s case, more explicitly to give it more backbone.
But this failed. They got a more extreme set of MK’s, but they lost seats, and will have barely enough to form a coalition – in fact, they may wind up including Lapid in it somehow and leaving some of the right (in this case, potentially Shad and maybe even UTJ), resulting in a fundamentally leftward shift.
My response: First, it’s overly simplistic to try to compare tactics and results in two entirely different systems; given the mulititude of Israeli parties, there’s something for everyone. Second, I reject that Tea Party backed candidates were more “extreme;” by characterizing it that way, the reader gives away an implicit bias.
But most important, didn’t Republicans choose the guy who was the antithesis of the Tea Pary movement? How did that work out?