As reported and covered extensively on GreaterLakewood, Netanyahu will be asked to form the next government. All in all, the final breakdown of seats is as follows:
Likud is the largest party with 36 seats, followed by Blue and White with 35 seats.
Shas receives 8 seats, United Torah Judaism – 7 seats, Labor – 6 seats, Hadash-Ta’al has 6 seats, Kulanu – 5, Yisrael Beytenu – 5 seats, United Right has 4 seats, Meretz has four seats and Ra’am-Balad wins 4 seats as well.
The right-wing bloc stands at 65 seats while the left-wing bloc has 55 seats.
Now the fun starts, all the parties with at least 5 seats realize without them, there won’t be a majority so they request ‘good portfolios’ and threaten not to join if they don’t get their way.
Avigdor Leiberman who’s party received 5 seats, wants the interior ministry which Aryeh Deri of Shas currently holds. Lieberman listed a few points needed for him to join the coalition. One of them is to bring up the draft law which would end the current ‘petur’ for Yeshiva students.
To counter Lieberman’s strength, URWP leader Rafi Peretz yesterday reached out to Shas and UTJ to form a technical bloc that would see the parties work together in the Knesset. Though a technical bloc stops short of merging the parties into an alliance – as was agreed by Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid when they formed the Blue and White ) alliance – the maneuver would see the three parties work together to further their agendas.
Such a bloc could prove powerful; with Shas’ eight, UTJ’s seven and URWP’s five seats, the 20-seat bloc would be second only to Netanyahu’s ruling Likud party and would likely curtail Lieberman’s ability to play the coalition’s components off against one another to further his own agenda.
Another side note is, Netanyahu has a tough year ahead with indictments hovering, Likud is concerned if he is indicted, many will leave the Knesset paving the way for new elections. To counter that, Likud is trying to get Kahlon’s Kulanu party to merge with Likud, giving it 40 seats. This way there is no individual party that can leave the government. Obviously, Kahlon would be offered a solid portfolio to make the deal.
There are reports the Likud is holding secret meetings with Gantz and Lapid to which would make one massive government, leaving the Charedim in the dust – but all points indicate that is not likely at all.
Lapid wrote on Facebook on Shabbos that he does not regret saying his party will make the coalition’s life miserable.
“Facing injustice, corruption and the abandonment of the week… we will make them miserable because that is exactly the opposition’s job and I am not taking even one letter back.
“If they have a difficult time with it, they’ll have to deal with it,” Lapid added. “It turns out that politicians who called Benny Gantz mentally ill and a pedophile and called me Amalek and a hater of the Jewish people are becoming very vulnerable when it comes to themselves.”
Another point: Bennet and Shaked who received zero seats, just got approved for a recount. If they can garner another 1380 or so votes, Things will shift around – yet again.
Finally: UTJ received 7 seats but is only 200 votes away from getting another seat. With the recount underway, it is likely they will pickup enough votes to have 8 seats.
Final results (again!) are set for Wednesday.