In Tuesday’s poll, an underground well in Israeli society rose to the surface and found clear expression. In part, this was due to massive help from the media, which made unusual efforts to harm the chances of forming another right-wing government. Those efforts almost succeeded.
The great majority of the Israeli public has a clear rightist orientation. Some 7 seats that hold a clear leftist ideology, and about 20 seats are occupied by the so-called Center, without committing to any specific ideology. These seats have been occupied over the years by parties such as Dash (the Democratic Movement for Change, which was formed in 1976 and served only in the ninth Knesset), Shinui (the secular Zionist party formed in 1974 that merged with other parties in 2006), Kadima (the centrist party formed in 2005) and all the other parties like them.
In this election cycle, the undecided voters floated toward Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid party.
Lapid's great success proves that much of the public is not interested in ideology or vision; they just want to live better and take advantage of the now. You cannot blame these citizens, who use their freedom of choice to prefer the advantages of the present over investment and commitment to the future.
Likud campaign managers' big mistake was their belief that the elections would be based on foreign and security issues. Only later did they realize that the media was seeking to leverage the summer 2011 Rothschild Boulevard protests and create a social agenda again. Likud was unprepared to deal with such issues now, although one could easily point out its great achievements in the areas of the economy and society.
Habayit Hayehudi also had a fine achievement. Naftali Bennett was able to rebuild the party and return it to the historical number of seats that its predecessor, the National Religious Party, earned in its glory days. Bennett was able to produce pride in the national religious community, which had been hurt and disappointed by the lack of appreciation for its role in the settlement enterprise and the security establishment. I'm sure that in coming days, when a new government is established, the media will double back and explain that Bennett and his party are dangerous right-wingers.
Assembling a new coalition will be complex and problematic. The number of parties required for its establishment and their many different agendas will make it very difficult to manage the affairs of the state. There is no doubt, however, that Likud can form the next government, despite all the difficulties. Lapid certainly does not see himself as a candidate for prime minister. As the head of the largest party on the Center-Left, he must not give up on his debut for Labor leader Shelly Yachimovich.
Netanyahu will likely turn to Lapid and offer him the privilege of joining the government and receiving government portofolios at his will. The partnership will also be joined by the ultra-Orthodox parties.
In the second phase, Habayit Hayehudi will be offered a spot in the coalition. Any other possible combination, such as a right and ultra-Orthodox government, would make it difficult for the prime minister to face a hostile world. The State of Israel has proved in the past that seemingly fragile coalitions hold up. Israel faces great challenges, and it is important to join forces to address policy issues and manage social and economic issues.