The fourth Israeli election in two years on March 23, 2021, didn’t bring a conclusive result, like the three previous elections in the past two years. The Israeli Knesset has 120 seats, and to rule, major parties need to assemble a coalition of at least 61 seats. The results of the March election were the anti-Netanyahu bloc had 57 seats, pro-Netanyahu bloc had 52 seats, and 11 seats were uncommitted.
The Likud party gained 30 seats, so President Rivlin charged Benjamin Netanyahu (the titular head of Likud) to form a government by May 4. He was unable to form a coalition, and yesterday (May 5), President Rivlin charged Yair Lapid to form a government. Lapid is head of the Yesh Atid (literally, There is a Future) Party, a centrist party that hovers around 15 seats in the Knesset. In the election in March, Yesh Atid gained 17 seats, second only to Likud, Netanyahu’s party.
Lapid, as I have said, is four seats from forming a coalition that has 61 seats. “An Israeli unity government isn’t a compromise, but a goal,” Lapid told a press conference. “This is what Israel needs now.” Lapid admitted his potential coalition partners “all have different opinions,” but said “they want to forge cooperation in a way we haven’t seen in years.”
Naftali Bennett, who is the leader of the Yamina (Right) Party, is the kingmaker. Yamina gained seven seats in the election. Its seven seats are seven of the 11 seats that were neither committed to Netanyahu nor Lapid. They are enough seats to put Lapid over the top, but were not enough to put Netanyahu over the top.
However, there is a fly in the ointment: Amichai Chikli, a Yamina MK, will vote against Yamina joining with a coalition that includes the Joint List (the Arab parties, except one) and the Meretz Party. In response, Yamina issued a statement saying that while it respected Chikli’s position, the party was “committed to doing everything in its power to establish a stable and functioning government.”
Maybe something will break. This Torah portion has a list of curses, and maybe of the curses (not mentioned in the Torah) will destine Israel to a fifth election in the space of two years.