Aluf Benn says Yair Lapid’s success in yesterday’s election sprang from his ability to define the Israeli mainstream and become its voice. What the 2011 middle-class revolt demonstrated, in Lapid’s analysis was that “Israelis couldn’t care less about the Palestinian issue and the settlements. Instead they crave economic security and better education.”
The key question in the wake of Tuesday’s result, Benn writes, is:
can you really live in Tel Aviv and feel like it’s Berlin, with no occupation and settlements barely 20 minutes away? Can Israel isolate itself behind wire and concrete and fix its education and welfare, as if the Palestinians don’t exist? It sounds good in a campaign, but disconnected from real life. And therefore Lapid’s test will be in his ability to pull Netanyahu towards a moderate foreign policy, and not to accept empty pledges of constitutional and social reform in return for sustaining Likud.
Coalition talks are the endgame of Israeli elections, and the political rookie Lapid now awaits a tough poker game with the master of survival, Netanyahu.
Michael J. Koplow writes: When Netanyahu decided to call early elections, he did it because the political timing seemed favorable for him rather than because he was forced to. Despite his term being marked by no significant policy accomplishments or remarkable stances, Netanyahu has achieved a nearly unprecedented degree of governmental stability.
In contrast, the next Netanyahu government, which will almost certainly be the result of today’s election, is not only going to be less stable on a daily basis than the previous one, but will also be likely to fall well before Netanyahu’s term is up and before he is ready to call another round of elections. The new Israeli government is going to be facing enormous cross-cutting pressures from within its own ranks and from outside the country, and no matter how hard he tries to construct a stable coalition, there will be nothing Netanyahu can do to mitigate this problem. Rather, the coalition choices that Netanyahu makes are going to determine which set of pressures will ultimately bring him down. In essence, Netanyahu will be picking his poison rather than coming up with a cure.