Wednesday (March 24th): Israel’s elections Edition 4

Name? Benjamin Netanyahu

Westphalian identity? Israeli

Age? 71

Why is he in the news? Netanyahu has mixed feelings about yesterday’s election in Israel (the 4th in the last two years). On the one hand, he managed to maintain the biggest share of votes among the right-wing parties, on the other hand, he failed to obtain a majority in Israel’s parliament the Knesset

Why do we care? We saw this election as a referendum on Bibi’s handling of the pandemic and his recent normalisation efforts. Both speak well of him as he managed to vaccinate 80% of the adult population and reached peace agreements with four Sunni-Arab states. But the day-to-day economic situation of many Israelis and the ongoing corruption trial keep the country deeply divided between pro and contra Netanyahu. 

Why should you care? Netanyahu highlighted the peace processes during the campaigning process and even renounced anti Arab rhetoric. This did not have the promised outcome and might cause a shift in his Arab approach during the next campaign to win over right-wing voters. This could severely impact peace processes and therefore the stability we always wish for, scoring a 5/10 on our how much you should care scale. 

Who else cares? Mansour Abbas. The leader of the only Arab-Israeli party to clear the threshold into the Knesset. Ironically, the five seats his party is said to win could make him the kingmaker in the upcoming coalition talks. This would not only give a voice to Arab-Israelis but would also send another sign to Arab states inclined to normalise with Israel. 

Any further comments? If none of the above happens, we could see a 5th election in Israel within two years. At what time can voters start collecting loyalty points or issue a standing order on their ballot? With the country divided between the pro and con Netanyahu bloc, we predict the sixth election fairly soon after the fifth.

Joshua Dario Hasenstab

General Coordinator