The talk of forming a ruling coalition is over — at latest count, the Likud-led coalition has 67 Knesset seats (61 needed for majority) pledged to it, as The Times of Israel reports this morning:

With [Avigdor] Liberman’s (unsurprising) endorsement, Prime Minister Netanyahu has 67 MKs, representing six parties (Likud, Jewish Home, Kulanu, Shas, UTJ and Yisrael Beytenu), while Isaac Herzog wins only the endorsement of his own party.

The Joint (Arab) List and Yesh Atid did not recommend any of the candidates.

Meretz, yet to meet the president, is likely to recommend Herzog, but by then it would be a purely technical move, since Netanyahu already has a clear majority.

Liberman says he want the defense portfolio, a demand Netanyahu is likely to reject.

Shmuel Rosner has another excellent column taking progressive American Jews to task for their disappointment, American Jews are disappointed with Israel’s election? Tough luck:

This happens every time the Israeli electorate decides to elect a government that is right of center….

When Ariel Sharon was elected in 2002, The Guardian reported that “Sharon divides world’s Jews”. When PM Ehud Olmert visited President Bush in the White House in 2006, the Jewish Forward editorialized that “for American Jews, this was one visit by an Israeli prime minister that drove home the distance between the two great Jewish communities, not their closeness”.

Today, the electoral victory of Binyamin Netanyahu is igniting headlines and editorials with the same tone. Jews dislike the fact that he was elected, and they dislike his statements and actions. Once again, talk of “distance” is the talk of the Jewish town….

Many of the critics have been focusing on two miserable statements made by Netanyahu as they express their anger. As I already wrote more than once, I agree that both statements, the one about a Palestinian State and the one about the Arab Israelis, were unnecessary.

But I also wrote that these statements serve as an excuse – and are not the reason – for the Obama administration’s decision to reexamine its relations with Israel’s government. And the same is true for many, if not most, of the hordes of Jewish American critics.

American friends and critics, at least be sincere about this: You are not angry with two unfortunate statements – you are angry because Netanyahu managed to squeeze yet another electoral victory. You were angry with him before the election. You wanted him gone. And Israelis didn’t really care.

Flash back to an earlier Rosner column last summer, about which I wrote, when the same hordes of progressive American Jews were ready to throw Israel overboard because of the Gaza conflict, Israel’s Fair-Weather Fans:

Clearly, these critics of Israel’s behavior believe that Israelis themselves would be safer if the country adopted their prescribed liberal policies. That might be true, but it makes no difference.

On matters of life and death, war and peace, Israelis are going to make their own decisions. If they lose the support of some liberal Jews over it, that would be regrettable, but so be it.

Israel will have to learn to survive without that support, and I’m certain it will.

So am I, though there will be a lot of sound and fury in the meantime.

Rosner in his earlier column referenced this Israeli song, I have no other country, noting that American Jews do have another country, unlike Israelis:

The Israeli song “Ein Li Eretz Acheret” is a curious tune. “I have no other country,” go the lyrics, “even if my land is on fire.”

It’s hard to find a Jewish Israeli who doesn’t identify with it. Lefty Israelis interpret it as a protest song. It was sung at demonstrations against the 1982 Lebanon War and vigils following the 1995 assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Israelis on the right interpret it as a patriotic song about attachment to the land; they sang it after terrorist attacks and during the 2005 withdrawal from the Gaza Strip.

I was reminded of the song in recent days as I read a string of articles by smart, savvy, knowledgeable, non-Israeli Jews, who say that the brutal war in Gaza has made them question their Zionism.

What unites these writers, of course, is that all of them do have another country. And that’s why, when push comes to shove, the Israeli government doesn’t — and shouldn’t — listen to them….

[English lyrics here.]

I have no other country
even if my land is aflame
Just a word in Hebrew
pierces my veins and my soul –
With a painful body, with a hungry heart,
Here is my home.