The coming general elections in Israel will likely be held in the coming months. This assessment is agreed upon coalition and opposition members alike.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu believes he is being harshly persecuted, and wishes to let the public decide his fate. Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman wants to win as many voters as possible and insists upon rejecting the anti-enlistment law proposed by the Haredi (ultra-Orthodox) factions. The Haredim themselves feel that they are fed up with the way things are and wish to mobilize their voters in defense of the shabbat and other major issues. The Bayit Yehudi party, led by Mr. Naftali Bennett, believes it can win many Likud voters and carry forward with greater strength their conservative agenda. In fact, only Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon wants the government to survive, as he knows that his centrist party can be eliminated by its voters who wish to see a genuine political change, and therefore may shift to the Yesh Atid party led by former Finance Minister Yair Lapid.

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The coalition as well as the opposition agree on the basic rule: You know how you enter an elections’ campaign, but you don’t know how you will come out of it.


The political spectrum can change not only based on the probes against Mr. Netanyahu, but also in the event some major political parties decide to form some new alignments. Neither the right wing parties nor the left wing parties know how the elections may end.

They do understand that it's worth a shot, as the existing political situation is terribly unbearable. In case Mr. Netanyahu would be able to return to his office for a fourth term, there will be a pressure to form a unity government following years of political and social antagonism, albeit the probes held against the prime minister. The public is not ready to suffer four more years of divisive politics.

However, if Mr. Lapid will be able to challenge his rival and attempt to form a coalition with right-wing parties like Bayit Yehudi and Yisrael Beytenu, he will find out shortly how difficult it is to create a political agreement between rightist and leftist parties, mostly Labor and Meretz on the left. Lapid might end up like former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, who wanted to build an inclusive coalition with left- and right-wing parties; it survived only a year.

Mr. Netanyahu knows that it is better for him to come to the country’s attorney-general as a powerful prime minister with a long record of achievements, being only second to David Ben-Gurion in terms of the years spent serving as prime minister. Regarding Bibi, it is better to burn out than to fade away, hence his desire to risk himself with early elections. Netanyahu and Lapid are both ready for the fight. If we can believe to leading politicians, it’s a matter of weeks or less until the question of early elections will be favorably decided.

Let the fight begin, they say. The sole important question — namely how Israel would benefit from new elections — is not addressed. In fact, it is silenced. We all know the political drama will not end with early elections; it will only begin as the old actors find out how complicated the new reality might be.

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