Parliamentary elections were held in Israel yesterday, with the main contenders for Prime Minister being Benjamin Netanyahu (“Bibi”) and Benny Gantz (see story from yesterday for more background on them and their parties).
It now appears that Netanyahu is set to return to office for his 5th term as Prime Minister (it’s his 4th consecutive term, with an additional term being served in the late 1990’s). Gantz has conceded defeat, and Netanyahu’s Likud party and other allied right-wing parties have enough seats (65 versus the 55 seats of the opposition) for Netanyahu to have a large enough coalition to become Prime Minister again. The President of Israel must now name a Prime Minister after consultation with parliament, and the assumption is that it will be Netanyahu due to the coalition he has formed around himself.
Netanyahu’s campaign platform called for support of Israeli settlements in disputed territory, an annexation of the West Bank, and a statement of Israel as a Jewish state (rather than an explicitly multi-ethnic and multi-religious state). In recent years, he has been accused of corruption – a charge he denies – but those charges have not seemed to affect his political power so far.
With his friend and ally Bibi returning to power, President Trump appears ready to unveil a Palestinian peace plan, stating
Everybody said you can’t have peace in the Middle East with Israel and Palestinians. I think we have a chance and I think we now have a better chance.
(Image: Ted Cruz (left) and Benjamin Netanyahu (right))