An extremely ugly last minute campaign seems to have allowed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to grasp victory from the jaws of defeat, and has the Zionist Union openly talking about spending another term as the opposition.
Running on an explicitly anti-peace platform while railing against Israeli Arabs for going to the polls in large numbers of vote for their own party list, however, Netanyahu has set the stage for deep resentment to his rule.
Likud is looking for that right-far-right coalition again, but with so much acrimony, even some potential coalition partners (like Kulanu, as Likud’s dirty tricks got them a substantial fine on election day for doctored comments of their leader) are likely to be resentful of the new government.
The opposition, is likely to be hugely organized against Netanyahu as well, with a stark divide between them and ruling officials. Yisrael Beiteinu might end up there as well, with Lieberman demanding the Defense Ministry and Likud insisting the secular far-right party’s poor showing makes that unrealistic.
Perhaps the biggest problem for the new government, however, will be international relations, as Netanyahu telegraphed a lot of moves that are sure to spark angry international reactions, including from the US. The traditional UN veto umbrella provided by the US may no longer be guaranteed, since Netanyahu spent a lot of time on the campaign trail overtly making himself an enemy of the Obama Administration.
Israel’s last election turned in a government many expected wouldn’t last long. It collapsed indeed, well before scheduled election, and this new government is likely to be at least as unstable.