Alberto Priego es profesor de Relaciones Internacionales de la Universidad Pontificia Comillas de Madrid
The elections held in Israel have highlighted the existent division between the population of Israel. On the one hand, there is a huge sector of citizens that have supported the Likud, looking for the promised ‘heavy hand’ and an economy that has been very little intervened by the State. On the other hand, the other sector of citizens that have supported the coalition Kahol-Lavan prefer the stick and carrot policies in regard to security matters and a less liberal economic view. Both of the groups have obtained better results than expected, this is the reason why the balance seems to lean towards the number of political parties that Gantz and Netanyahu could add up for the investiture in the Knesset. It could be identified a series of plausible sceneries for the next months in relation with the Israeli government.
1) The first option would be a government of the Likud in coalition with Shah, United Torah Judaism (UTJ), Yisrael Beiteinu, National (Right) Union and Kulanu, that would add up 65 deputies. Even though this seems the most probable option, it could also present some problems of viability, the reason is that the differences between United Torah Judaism and Yisrael Beiteinu regarding to the forced recruitment of the students of the yeshivas seem to make this “right” coalition unfeasible. In fact, Lieberman left the government due to his differences with the religious parties and Netanyahu was forced to dismiss as it was impossible to pass the recruitment law.
2) The second option would open a way to a coalition between Likud and the movement Kahol-Lavan, that would create a government of national concentration with strong supports, and 70 deputies, but maybe weak in terms of cohesion. This option seems in principle difficult due to the veto established by Benny Gantz to participate in a coalition with Benjamin Netanyahu, even though it would be well seen by the president Trump, who has a great influence on Netanyahu. Another possible variation of this same option -by now quite impossible- would be to suggest that another deputy of the Likud different from Netanyahu could occupy the position of Prime Minister, this would leave the leader of the Likud down the path of tribunals.
3) The last option – also quite implausible- would be a coalition government leaded by Benny Gantz with Shah, United Torah Judaism, the Labour party and then or with Meretz or well with any of the arab parties. This option, that we could qualify as nearly impossible would carry many feasibility problems because it would have to combinate various irreconcilable cleavages as they are the religious-secular or the Jewish-Arabic. In addition, Benny Gantz has already declared that he had no intention of counting with the Arabics.
In any of the cases, we cannot forget that even though it seems that the Likud will be the political power that could lead the government, we could expect that it would last a maximum of one year, this is due to the serious accusations falling on Netanyahu, this accusations could make him abandon the coalition to be in the dock for the cases that he is accused for. Regarding this situation, the most possible option would be a new electoral process, this is because after the years of Netanyahu, the Likud is a party that lacks of an alternative leader.
In an alternative way it was even proposed the option of passing a law of allegations that would impede the justice act against a Prime Minister in office. This option would seriously damage the quality of the Israeli democracy and could even call the democracy-one of the legitimacies of the State of Israel- into question.
To sum up, after the call of elections in Israel, far from clarifying the picture, it seems more complicated each day and any of the options above could become a reality. In any of the cases, and even though the difficulties shown after the elections, Israel must make theirs the Jewish proverb that says “One who doesn’t look forward remains behind.”
Translated by Nerea Eiroa