Israeli Elections May Not Resolve Political Impasse
By: David Parsons, ICEJ VP & Senior International Spokesman
Israel finds itself in yet another election season—the fifth in the past three-and-a-half years. This prolonged time of political uncertainty could even linger on after the November balloting, as the early polls show little movement toward a clear winner.
At the heart of the political impasse is the fate of Benjamin Netanyahu, the nation’s longest-serving prime minister, who is currently facing trial for bribery, fraud, and breach of trust. The three cases brought against Netanyahu took several years to investigate, and although the trial is now underway, it has proceeded slowly as numerous witnesses have given testimony for or against him. So far there is no clear direction on whether he will beat the charges.
Many Israelis view Netanyahu as an indispensable national and global leader facing an attempted “leftist” coup to bring him down. His opponents—including some on the Right—say he has undermined Israeli democracy by failing to step away from office while under indictment.
The latest polls still show neither the pro- nor anti-Bibi camps getting enough votes to form a majority government, though Netanyahu’s block is slightly closer to the 61 Knesset seats needed. No one wants a sixth election, and everyone realizes it will be hard for chief rival Yair Lapid of Yesh Atid to reconstitute the broad Right-to-Left coalition that remained in power over the past year. Thus, political analysts suggest one of two likely outcomes.
If Netanyahu is close to 61 seats, several MKs on the Right who oppose him could cave to pressure and support his return to the premiership. Alternatively, if the polling deadlock continues as we get closer to the November ballot, pressure might grow within Netanyahu’s own party to finally replace him as chairman to enable the formation of a Likud-led coalition government coming out of this election.
Of course, if there is a major development in Netanyahu’s trial one way or the other, that could also tip the election. But the wheels of justice will likely continue to turn slowly. Therefore, please pray for God’s will to be done in this perpetual election season in Israel and that the Lord will continue to watch over this nation and people.