Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Happy Passover!

The final results are in… and, like the British Royal Family, it’s complicated and somewhat disappointing. Let’s try to unravel it a bit.

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After all the votes were counted, the pre-election coalition put together by Prime Minister Netanyahu garnered a potential total of 59 seats – two less than the 61 needed to have a clear majority in the Knesset. The 59 includes Naftali Bennett’s Yamina party, which won 7 seats, but hasn’t publicly endorsed Netanyahu. However, Bennett has said he won’t join a government led by Yair Lapid (whose party received 18 seats).

Here’s the basic breakdown of results as of now:

Publicly Committed to Netanyahu-led government: 52 seats
Likud: 30
Shas (Sephardic charedi): 9
United Torah Judaism (Ashkenazic charedi): 7
Religious Zionism: 6

Committed to not Netanyahu-led government: 57 seats
Yesh Atid (anti-religious left): 17
Blue and White (center-left): 8
Yisrael Beitenu (anti-religious): 7
Labor (left-wing): 7
New Hope (supposedly right-wing): 6
Joint List (Arab): 6
Meretz (extreme left-wing): 6

No commitment yet: 11 seats
Yamina (right-wing): 7
United Arab List (Arab religious): 4

Here is my brief synopsis of the realistic possible outcomes. There are of course many other possible outcomes, but I don’t deem them realistic.

* Bennett joins with Netanyahu, giving him 59 seats. Then either UAL/Arabs join or support from the outside (mostly in return for large budgets to deal with serious social problems in the Israeli Arab community, like violent crime) or Gidon Saar’s party (New Hope) or at least two of its six mandates join with Netanyahu because they are adults and this whole “anyone but Netanyahu” thing is childish.

How could Saar and his friends justify preventing the formation of a completely right-wing government because they don’t like someone? I have no idea. Now, how could the UAL/Arabs allow right-wing legislation to be passed? I have no idea. That partnership seems more like a Vegas marriage.

* Fifth elections. That’s right. I only see two realistic potential options: A Netanyahu-led government or fifth elections.

Two unrealistic options that the media are incorrectly, in my opinion, hyping as realistic:

* The anti-Netanyahu people choose a leader and form a coalition – but they’ll never all agree on who that should be.

* The anti-Netanyahu people vote to not allow a prime minister to serve under indictment, thus removing Netanyahu from being able to be prime minister. If this happened, the right-wing would easily form a very right-wing government, so why would the “left” support it? They wouldn’t.

Netanyahu staying prime minister is, ironically, their only chance of preventing a completely right-wing government. And it has been for some time now. Think about that!

 

Other News: 

* Corona numbers continue to plummet. There’s no way that Israelis are going to continue to agree to wear masks much longer. It’s being reported that the Israeli Police have already been told to stop enforcing the mask rule.

Tourist and religious sites have been packed over the holiday. If infection numbers don’t spike the week after Passover, expect whatever restrictions remain to be significantly eased or completely eliminated.

* A giant cargo boat got stuck in the Suez Canal for about a week. It was eventually dislodged with tug boats, tractors and a convenient high tide. Or… an Israeli psychic says it was him and his followers who dislodged it mentally. So just choose whichever makes more sense to you.

* Bahrain has appointed its first ambassador to Israel. Once again proving that these folks are quite serious about normalizing relations with Israel.

* The Kinneret (Sea of Galilee) is about one foot (36cm for you freedom-hating socialists) from being full. A little rain and even snow (on Mt. Hermon) is predicted for the end of this week. The lake is not likely to fill up all the way, but it will be quite close.

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Rabbi Ben Packer is the director of the Jerusalem Heritage House.
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