Israeli PM Netanyahu looks set to lose power after election gamble backfires

Benjamin Netanyahu
Support us and go ad-free

Israel’s two main political parties are deadlocked after an unprecedented repeat election, with prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu facing an uphill battle to hold on to his job amid ongoing corruption allegations against him.

As Euronews reported, “Netanyahu had called elections to increase his majority, but the gamble spectacularly backfired”.

Netanyahu’s Likud and Benny Gantz’s Blue and White parties, with over 97% of the results in, currently stand at 31 seats to 33 respectively. The parties both lie on the right wing of the political spectrum, though Netanyahu has increasingly courted hard-right support.

The results mean that neither Likud nor Blue and White, with its smaller respective allies, could control a majority in the 120-seat parliament. Likud and its natural allies of religious and ultra-nationalist parties have fallen several seats short of the needed majority. Both major parties would likely need the support of Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beitenu party to move forwards.

That puts Lieberman, a former protege of Netanyahu who has become one of the PM’s fiercest rivals, in the position of kingmaker. He has said the “one and only option” on the table is a secular unity government between Likud and Blue and White. But that is one which could spell serious trouble for Netanyahu’s lengthy rule.

On 19 September, Netanyahu offered to form a unity government with Gantz’s coalition. But senior Blue and White figure Moshe Yaalon said: “We will not enter a coalition led by Netanyahu.” Former military chief Gantz, meanwhile, has also ruled out sitting with a Netanyahu-led Likud at a time when the PM is expected to be indicted on corruption charges in the coming weeks.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

Netanyahu had desperately sought an outright majority with his hard-line and ultra-Orthodox allies in hopes of passing legislation to give him immunity from his expected indictment. Israel’s attorney general has recommended charging Netanyahu with bribery, fraud and breach of trust in three scandals, pending a hearing scheduled next month. A formal indictment would increase the pressure on Netanyahu to step aside if he does not have immunity.

Without the immunity of high office, Euronews said Netanyahu “could face even more scrutiny over his financial affairs and his actions while in office”.

The election is the second this year after a deadlocked result in April.

Addressing his supporters early on Wednesday, Netanyahu refused to concede defeat and vowed to work to form a new government that excludes Arab parties. His campaign focused heavily on attacking and questioning the loyalty of the country’s Arab minority – a strategy that drew accusations of racism and incitement.

The Joint List – which seeks to represent the Palestinian fifth of Israel’s population – appears to have won around 12 seats after a large turnout.

Politicians will have 28 days to try and form a government.

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us