The 2021 legislative elections in Israel were held on March 23, 2021, in order to elect the members of the 24th Knesset. The elections were the fourth in two years and were triggered by the dissolution of the Likud-Blue and White coalition which lasted for less than a year.
A total of 39 parties registered to run in the elections, although several dropped out shortly ahead of election day itself.
The election results saw the Likud party receive 30 seats, seven less than they had held in the 23rd Knesset, followed by Yesh Atid with 17, and then Shas with nine. Meretz, Haavodah, and Ra'am, received six, seven, and four seats respectively, despite uncertainty about whether or not any of them would pass the minimum threshold.
As leader of the largest majority, Benjamin Netanyahu was charged with forming a government by then-president Reuven Rivlin. Upon his failure to do so by the deadline, the mandate was passed onto Yair Lapid as leader of the second-largest party.
Together with Naftali Bennett, Yair Lapid set out to form a wide coalition encompassing parties from the left such as Meretz and Haavodah, and the right, Yamina and New Hope. Mansour Abbas' Ra'am signed a coalition agreement with Lapid on June 2, just several hours before the deadline, making Ra'am the first Arab party to sit in government.
On June 13, 2021, the thirty-sixth government of Israel was sworn in with Naftali Bennett as Prime Minister and Yair Lapid set to take over as head of government in 2023.
There’s no reason Bennett and Sa’ar can’t join forces and create a collaborative right-wing party that would be a worthy alternative to Netanyahu’s Likud.
Both the N12 and Channel 13 polls found that Netanyahu would have an even harder time forming a government if elections were held today.
Were Israel to hold direct elections for prime minister today, some 37% of Israelis would vote for Netanyahu and 23% for Lapid.
The campaign is funded by Australian mining magnate Rabbi Joseph Gutnick, whose "Netanyahu is good for the Jews" campaign helped him win the 1996 election.
Netanyahu has offered a rotation as prime minister to Knesset Speaker Yariv Levin (Likud), Shas leader Arye Deri and Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz, but none of the offers were taken seriously.
"Bennett will not accept a boycott of haredim or any other group in Israel," a Yamina spokesperson said.
Netanyahu says he'd be opposition leader, won't seek presidency
The purpose of the meeting though so close to elections, did raise eyebrows.