Benjamin “Noun, Verb, Iran and Hamas” Netanyahu has done his best Rudolph Giuliani impersonation and now he’s on the cusp of taking a sharp jab in the nose (at a minimum) or, perhaps, suffering a fatal political death of his own making.
I was up a good part of the night reading everything I could find on tomorrow’s elections in Israel, and I think the one thing that is certain is that it will take a little while to figure out what the returns are going to mean. The unlikeliest outcome is that Bibi emerges stronger than when he dissolved the Knesset in December and called for new elections.
While there’s definitely some uncertainty about what the raw vote totals will be, the real mysteries revolve around how the “winner” will manage to cobble together a majority coalition, if they can at all. If the polls are believable, Netanyahu will not get the first shot at forming a government, and that alone will be a humbling moment for Likud and the Israeli right.
Ed Kilgore did a piece a few minutes ago that said basically what I intended to say about the American implications of such an outcome. It’s safe to say that the Republicans will be disoriented. If Israelis reject Netanyahu’s fear-mongering about Iran, does that make them anti-semitic cowards?
Isaac Herzog, who leads the Zionist Union (ZU) coalition, has said that he will not invite the Arab parties to join his majority, and the Arab parties have said that they have no intention of joining any majority. Those predictions may well hold, as Herzog would probably lose nearly as many votes as he gained by making common cause with the Arab-Israelis. But the dynamic is already visible. Sometime in the not distant future the Israeli left will join with the Arab parties to form a majority. If not in the next month, then in the next election, or the election after that.
What I wasn’t able to find in any of the pieces I read last night was a real analysis of what that would mean for Israel and Israeli society.