After 99% of the votes have been counted, Kadima holds a slim one seat lead over Likud, 28 to 27 (there are 120 seats in the Knesset). In theory that should prompt the President, Shimon Peres, to appoint Tzipi Livni, Kadima’s leader, as the new PM tasked with building a coalition government.

The problem is that Labor only got 13 seats, Israel Beiteinu got 15 seats, Shas got 11 seats and Meretz won a measly 3 seats, less than two of the Arab parties which won 4 seats apiece. The Arab parties won 11 seats in total, increasing their count by one (indicating that the sought-after boycott of this election by Israeli Arabs never materialized). Three right wing religious Jewish parties won 12 seats between them.

Putting the math together indicates that unless Livni can convince Israel Beiteinu to join her, then she can’t form the new gov’t because she won’t have 60 votes. Even if she could convince Shas, that won’t be enough without Israel Beiteinu, the new kingmaker in Israeli politics. Make no mistake, Avigdor Lieberman will demand quite a bit to bring his party into a coalition, so much so that Livni will have to ask herself whether she’d be corrupting the platform upon which she ran this race.

The Likud, with Netanyahu at the helm, is the more likely winner of this contest. They may have fallen short on the number of seats, but the right wing parties give them 12 seats that Kadima can’t get, Shas has essentially committed themselves to the Likud and Israel Beiteinu’s more natural “home” would be the Likud and its right wing policies.

Avigdor Lieberman is this contest’s first winner with Netanyahu a close second.

Please fasten your seatbelts because Israel is about to encounter turbulence with the new American administration.

A chart with the election results can be viewed at Ha’aretz.

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  • Middle:
    Make no mistake, Avigdor Lieberman will demand quite a bit to bring his party into a coalition, so much so that Livni will have to ask herself whether she’d be corrupting the platform upon which she ran this race.
    – – – – – – – – – –

    Oh, that’s a good one.

    “corrupting the platform” – excuse me, I can’t help myself.

    The stench of corruption – and the sweat of prosecution – has dogged Olmert and everyone in Kadimah BUT Livni. Kadimah was never anything than a raft of backbiting rats – the apparatchik scum that sought sweet spots in the Likud during Begin’s heydey, and followed what they thought was the gravy train of Sharon’s coattails.

    For anyone who cares about democracy, it is a party conceived in sin – the sin of Ariel Sharon rolling over democratic due process to enforce the expulsion of Jews from Gaza.

    Which worked out so well…

    Of course, this part of the Kadimah story is omitted/glossed over by those who draw their opinions from the media’s cues – because the Left doesn’t care about democracy, only that Sharon was doing their bidding. So they puffed up Sharon, and then Olmert, and now Livni.

    But Israeli voters know – and care.

    Livni’s boat was floated by Labor voters who wanted something a bit more “right wing” on security matters – and by Meretz voters who cast an “anyone but Bibi” vote.

    In this way the party that started out as “Likud lite” has become “Labor lite”.

    Either way – don’t expect Kadimah to stick around much longer on the political scene.

    Kadimah still has nothing to distinguish it, no unique ideological position. And now that Oslo-style peacemaking is dead in the water, the one issue that differentiated them from Likud will be a non-starter next election.

    And Livni’s their last honest politician (beside Tzachi HaNegbi).

    If she succeeds in putting together a coalition, she and Barry O. will likely go out the same way – after one embarrassing incompetent term.

  • Ben-David asserted:

    Kadimah still has nothing to distinguish it, no unique ideological position. And now that Oslo-style peacemaking is dead in the water, the one issue that differentiated them from Likud will be a non-starter next election.

    Muffti has to agree. He wonders, though, in a country in which the larger parties have ery definite ideological positions if a party of vagueness manages to do better than one would expect for longer periods of time than one would expect: ambiguity allows voters to project their favourite views on to the party. As you pointed out, their ability to float free of any particular ideological direction already lets other political parties find a congenial partner to horse trade with.

  • Muffti – in theory, yes. But in reality, what Kadima has done is forsake everything in order to maintain power. Horse trading IS their ideology. They are far more corrupt than any other party in recent history (Ramon, Hanegbi, Olmert, Hirshenzon…).

    I do disagree more greatly with “the one issue that differentiated them from Likud will be a non-starter next election.” Kadima has pretty clearly positioned themselves left of center. They will be very different from Likud. What they will be Labor is v2.0.

  • and so it begins

    hehehehe, my prediction has come true, this is the beginning of the prophecy

    israel will kick out most of the arabs(the few who will be allowed to stay will be the slimebag court arabs)

    israel will then demolish every mosque including the jerusalem mosque, the whole world will cheer(because they always support the wrong guys)

    you jews will celebrate and your “messiah”(the false one)
    will come, at that very moment the real messiah(prophet issah,who else) will also descend and you jews together with your scumbag american and european allies will wage global war against all other races you deem to be inferior(meaning non white races)

    but issah will win

    the end

    celebrate now, cause your time is coming

  • ok,

    the election of avigdor lieberman is the most dangerous precedent in israels history, even the previous right wing leaders like shamir and even sharon recognized that arabs cant be ignored,

    but this avigdor is a different breed, not only does he want to kick out or kill all arabs, he wants jews to embrace his extreme racist ideology, and the worst part is the palestinians who are the weakest will suffer,
    he is already famous in israel for his anti arab speeches

    he also advocates violence against palestinian civilians, and i fear the majority of israelis will embrace him

    you might think i am being an alarmist, but look at the elction statistics

    i regularly visit all the jewish newspaper blogs and websites to keep track of jewish opinions and views,
    and so far my worst fears have been confirmed.

  • and yes i have intentionally posted inflammatory stuff, its to prove a point.

    imagine this blog was palestine and i am a settler, get the point?

    palestinian farmers face the worst abuse possible, if its not verbal its physical and the idf is also partly responsible, and the palestinian police arent even allowed to arrest israelis

    the proof:hebron riots, the PA police werent even allowed to stand in front of the palestinian homes, and allowing the idf to protect to palestinians is like aloowing the fox to protect the hens

    america elected obama, and you elected lieberman as a king maker

    this is the end of israels left

  • Just in case people don’t realize this reincarnation of ctc is wrong –

    As dangerous or offensive or whatever anyone might find lieberman, he has not advocated “kick[ing] out or kill[ing] all arabs,” he has not “advocate[d] violence against palestinian civilians.”

    I don’t know where you’re getting your information, but either someone’s lying to you, or you’re lying through your teeth.

    Yes, “this is the end of israels left,” but only if you mean “left” just with regards to Israeli/Jewish-Arab relations in the region. People don’t seem to understand that on other religious, social, economic, etc issue – the country don’t divide along the same lines – there’s just one overarching issue that dominates all else. But if that’s all you mean by “left” when you say it’s the end of it – then yes. And good. Finally.

  • LB, these comments by CTC/Bashful Goy are fair play because many people, including Israelis, paint Lieberman in this way. There was just an article in Haaretz about how the LA Times and some other papers have compared him to Le Pen in France. Can you provide us with links, statements or other evidence about what Lieberman’s views are?

  • Sure, from Yisrael Beitenu’s website – (by the way, I am not saying that much of what he says is not offensive, or even appalling to many – but it’s just not what CTC/Bashful Goy says it is) –

    Many would compare him to Le-Penn, based on his “no loyalty – no nationality (citizenship)” – but not based on alleged views on genocide.

    Yes, he advocates revoking citizenship of many (most notably, but the problem with the rest of what CTC said is that he attributes views to Lieberman – but a link can’t PROVE that something doesn’t exist or hasn’t happened.

    The wikipedia article provides a pretty good overview of his plan, with regards to land swaps, etc –

  • lol, i knew you people wouldnt believe me

    for further perspective on the issue, i suggest you guys go to

    lieberman belongs to the same class as moshe feiglin

    LB are you blind???

    did you know that lieberman told the israeli govt. to carpet bomb gaza????

    check out haaretz articles or is it too liberal for you?

    right wing radicals are all the same, they claim others are lying

  • Once again, you’re lying. No citations whatsoever – just blind statements. He may be offensive – but he is not the murderer you are making him out to be. As usual, you’re just trying to paint all Israelis as evil. I hope you’re having fun.

  • There is nothing prima facie racist or objectionable about linking loyalty with citizenship. It’s pretty basic – and sad that many Israeli Arabs have been so radicalized that their fellow Israelis doubt their loyalty.

    My guess is that the folks tut-tutting about Liberman’s “racism” had no problem with the mirror-image disqualification of Rabbi Kahane and his political party. It’s all a PC game of pin-the-tale-on-the-victim. The Arabs in the Knesset are spouting the same stuff as Kahane – and openly meeting with Israel’s enemies.

    Israeli Arabs also didn’t help themselves by waving Hamas flags at mass protests against the extremely popular incursion into Gaza – which even Merkel and Sarkozy admitted was justified.

    Can you say “fifth column”?

  • n check this out:
    Meanwhile the State Department is evaluating the implication of reports that MK Avigdor Lieberman, head of Yisrael Beiteinu, was a member of the extreme right group Kach. It appears on a State Department list of terrorist organizations.

    If the Obama administration confirms the report that appeared last week in Haaretz, and which was not denied by Lieberman, the Yisrael Beiteinu leader may not be granted a visa to enter the U.S. The close cooperation between Israel and the U.S. on matters of strategy, defense, economics, commerce, tourism and transportation means that ministers charged with relevant portfolios often visit the United States.

  • xisnotx – wonderful, Lieberman has views that many find objectionable. Wonderful, we all know that. That’s not the point – the point is that he does not advocate mass murder or even a priori mass population transfers. Saying otherwise is just painting someone as much more extreme than he actually is, in order to make it easier to demonize him.

    And with all due respect to the US Department of State (not much), even if Lieberman used to be a member of Kach (an extremely secular member of Kach? Really?), his views today are rather offensive to actual Kach followers. Confusing Lieberman with Kach just binds together everyone on the Right in Israel, without understanding the very fundamental differences between the different ideologies.

  • BG: “did you know that lieberman told the israeli govt. to carpet bomb gaza????”

    you may be thinking of former chief rabbi Eliahu:

    However, Lieberman seemed to hint at nuking Gaza:

    LB — good point about religion and Kach. Does Kach let in secular members? I wonder why Lieberman hasn’t denied it.

  • Do they let secular members in? I don’t think it’s a real issue – if you’re secular you wouldn’t want to join Kach. They are very close to favoring a theocracy.

    Why he hasn’t denied it? I haven’t seen this accusation in Israeli press, and the State Dept is far from popular in Israel. Responding to the accusation would do 2 things – 1. lend credence to the State Dept. which would seem like he’s letting the US set the rules of the game. 2. put down Kach – thereby alienating potential supporters (members of Kach might still vote for Lieberman because of some shared views). His best bet is to just ignore it then.

  • The haaretz article – very interesting, however, as it says he was only involved for a few months. In any case, his views today are very far from Kach (though maybe not in a direction palatable to many).

    I don’t deny the plausibility of a san-Lieberman coalition. That being said, I think that such a gov’t will be very stable but also be able to do very little but maintain the status quo. In other words, a few more years of nothing at all.

  • xisnotx: sweet. That’s EXACTLY what I was hoping for. Note also that with those numbers ALL the small parties including the Haredi bloc will be frozen out. Thats the good news. Bad news? If this happens expect another election within 2 years. Again.

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