Israeli Election: What Happened to the Swing to the Right?
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hopes for a right-wing government were dashed last Thursday as the last votes were tallied for the Israeli election. The elections were forecast by many to produce a right-wing governing coalition. As the final votes were counted, it was clear that the choice of the Israeli people told a different story. The Likud-Yisrael Beitenu alliance headed by Prime Minister Netanyahu did not gain the overwhelming victory it had hoped for.
The prime minister’s alliance won the election with 31 parliamentary seats—far less than the 42 it held in the outgoing parliament. As in times past, the prime minister now has the first chance to form a government. He doesn’t have enough seats to form a majority, so he must form a coalition government.
To form the new government, the prime minister must bring in some of the smaller parties to his cause. While the new government was projected to be more right-wing than the previous government, it appears this will not be the case. The prime minister will be forced to bring in some more central parties to his coalition if he wants his new government to be functional. So who will Prime Minister Netanyahu look to for support in his new government? Chances are, Mr. Netanyahu will look to Yesh Atid, the runners-up in the election.
The success of Yesh Atid may have been the biggest surprise in the election. Yesh Atid is a relatively new party in Israel. Yet, its ascent has been quite stunning, going from 11 seats last election to 19 this time.
Yesh Atid works off a primarily centralist platform. This means its focus is domestic. It wants to focus on reforming the government, seeking affordable housing, improving what it sees as a failing educational system, and putting an end to military exemption for the ultra-Orthodox Jews.
Yesh Atid has also called for Israel to give up much of the West Bank, but retain control of Jerusalem.
The party is led by a reporter-turned-politician named Yair Lapid. He is the son of a well-known politician in Israel, Tommy Lapid. His father’s party was Shinui, which was seen as anti-religious. It battled against the powers of the ultra-Orthodox. Yair Lapid’s party today is fighting for many of the same causes.
This is where things get tricky for Prime Minister Netanyahu.
Since the election, the prime minister said he hopes to form a broad-based coalition government that would focus on Israel’s domestic issues. Such issues were hardly mentioned in the election campaign. No doubt the Yesh Atid party is already having an effect on domestic policy.
While a change in domestic policy may have some benefits for Israel, a government that focuses on issues internally may not be in Israel’s best interests.
There are riots in Jordan, Hezbollah in Lebanon, Syrian civil war in the north, the Muslim Brotherhood-led Egypt in the south, and the looming presence of a nuclear-armed Iran to the east. There is Hamas in Gaza, Fatah in the West Bank, and an increasingly liberalized government in the United States.
Israel is surrounded by enemies, and a government largely focused on domestic issues should be a cause for concern for Jews.
Regardless of what the challenges are going to be from this point forward, they are all drawing toward one conclusion. Bible prophecy foretells exactly what is going to befall the Middle East and Israel. Be aware of where the government of Israel will end up, along with the entirety of the nation, by reading Jerusalem in Prophecy.