With nearly 90% of the votes counted, it looks like the 4th election in two years is as indecisive as the last three. Netanyahu (Likud) is going to have a tough time forming a coalition. Based on current results, he will need both Naftali Bennett (Yamina) and Mansour Abbas (Ra’am) to agree to join his coalition, in order to form a government.

The path to victory for Bibi is unclear however, as Bennett has claimed he will not sit in a coalition with Ra’am, the Islamic Arab party. It leaves Netanyahu in a position he has found himself in countless times in the past, and will demand his absolute best political manoeuvring to pull this off and form a government. With the rest of the votes to be counted over the coming days, it remains to be seen what will happen, but the current situation appears to be a continued deadlock. Here is a fun simulator where you can try and form coalitions based on the current projected number of seats per party! https://public.flourish.studio/visualisation/3990025/

Some of my thoughts/feelings at the moment.

  1. This was the fourth national election in two years. It’s exhausting. Everyone has election fatigue. This year had the lowest voter turnout since 2015. Coming from Australia where voting is mandatory, it still blows my mind that voting is optional, and that only 67% of people who were eligible decided to vote. On the one hand I get it, people in Israeli society are disillusioned by the politics and think that voting isn’t important/won’t change anything. On the other hand it upsets me that people chose to give up their democratic right to have a say as to who should lead our nation. Voting/elections is one of the foundations of a democratic society, and I want as many people as possible to participate in that!
  2. The slow shift to the right just accelerated dramatically. The Religious Zionist party is projected to win 6 seats currently. This means that Bezalel Smotrich and Itamar Ben-Gvir will be MKs and possible coalition members in the next government. These men are racist, overtly anti LGBTQIA+, bigots who are gaining more and more popularity amongst the conservative religious sector of Israeli society. It scares me that their views are becoming more widespread, and will be heard on the main stage of the Knesset.
  3. This was the first time I felt good about voting for Avoda. I have voted for Avoda every election since making Aliyah, and this was the first time I was excited to do so. It is heartbreaking to witness the decline of the one great Labour Movement, but with Merav Michaeli as the leader, I have some hope that Avoda is taking a turn for the better and might start to gain further popularity amongst the public in the coming years. As a Socialist-Zionist, I hope to see Avoda and Meretz continue to build solid platforms/visions regarding the economy, the environment, worker’s rights, LGBTQIA+ rights, and a plan to end the occupation.
  4. I really hope there isn’t a fifth election around the corner!

– Zach Freund, Shaliach