The Israeli election still looks too close to call but the polls seem to be favouring the Zionist Union (basically an alliance between the Labour Party and the old Kadima crowd). Needless to say the dominant party will need to cobble together a coalition in to govern (nothing new in Israeli politics). Likud will have the backing of The Jewish Home (led by Naftali Bennett – a rising star and possible future PM), Kulanu and Yisrael Beiteinu. The Zionist Union have the support of the uber leftists at Meretz and will probably have to rely on Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid and the Joint Arab List (a largely anti-Zionist group) to form a coalition. As always the scandal plagued Shas party is in the mix as well. I don’t envy Israeli president Reuven Rivlin who will play a key role in deciding which group gets first dibs at the formation of a coalition should it come down to the wire. The economy (especially housing) appears to be a key driver and although Netanyahu has a stronger record on national security than his mainstream opponents he has yet to make this count. This is a tragedy.
Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni strike me as lightweights (Livni was part of the disastrous Olmert administration) but they are running a strong campaign that seems to be getting the necessary push from the outside world (including the meddler-in-chief). If they do take over the reins of government it is the hope of all of those who value Israel’s security that they continue with the necessary vigilance in the face of the Iranian nuclear threat. We will wait and see. Anxious times ahead.