Narrow Majority Leaves Israeli PM Largely Powerless

61-Seat Majority Seems Stable, But Feckless

When the Israeli election boiled down to a 61-seat majority in a 120-seat parliament, many analysts were predicting a quick collapse and an early election. Increasingly, however, the divide between the far-right government and the center-left opposition is leaving the coalition relatively stable.

Stable, but incredibly weak. With a single vote majority, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is struggling to get any of his agenda through parliament, with a single sick MP meaning they sometimes can’t get anything passed at all.

It’s gotten so bad that Netanyahu has actually formally banned every member of the ruling coalition from leaving the country without prior approval, and has sometimes needed to carry out protracted filibusters while they rush sleeping MPs back to the chamber in the middle of the night for votes.

Most of the far-right coalition don’t want to risk losing the government by forcing a fresh vote, but it’s hard to see how this can last for several years in this manner without some serious coalition fatigue, especially from the back-benchers.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of