The political storm that was planned for Monday -- the first day of the Knesset summer session which will also most likely be the last session of the current Knesset -- didn't happen in the end.
At exactly 4 p.m., just when the fiery campaign speeches were supposed to begin, all the Knesset members emptied out of the parliamentary halls, boarded buses and headed for the Givat Shaul cemetery. All legislative efforts to push up the elections were shelved for a week, at least, while the Netanyahu family focuses on its own private grief at the death of the prime minister's father Benzion Netanyahu, may he rest in peace. The rest of the MKs will take the seven-day mourning period to prepare for primaries and the subsequent general elections, all the while asking themselves whether these early elections are truly necessary.
During this time out, the focus will shift to the Netanyahus as they receive thousands of guests during the mourning week. No political decisions are likely to be made in the coming week, but it is safe to assume that, between the eulogies and the memories, politics will pop up here and there. There's nothing wrong with that. It is not a coincidence that even bitter enemies respect each other during times of mourning. During the course of history, thousands of rivalries and longtime family disputes have been resolved during times of mourning. The same goes for politicians.
One of the questions most frequently asked in the Knesset halls on Monday was, "How did this happen?" How did one of the most stable coalitions in Israel's history, having lost no votes, suddenly find itself facing early elections? There is no one clear answer, but the reason appears to stem from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's obsessive suspicions toward one another. Each one thinks the other is setting him up for a fall. The prime minister thought that Lieberman's threat that he would bring an alternative to the Tal Law to a vote was really a strategic attempt to topple the government. Lieberman probably made the threat because he thought that Netanyahu himself was about the call early elections, and wanted to beat him to the punch.
But now everything has turned around. The prime minister, who realized that the mere thought of early elections was putting everyone into a frenzy, has begun to fall in love with the idea. Now they sit across from each other, Netanyahu and Lieberman, with a poker table between them. The cards are in their hands and their eyes are on their opponent's eyes. The first one to blink will lose.
All we need now is for someone to come and shuffle the deck and say: "Forget this. Let's play something else." Though the chances of this happening may seem slim, there is an entire week ahead of us. In political terms, that is nearly an eternity.