An overwhelmingly right-wing Knesset any way you slice it

Channel 12 News predicts that 76 of the Knesset’s 120 members will come from right-wing parties.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

While the results from Israel’s national election weren’t final on Tuesday evening, exit polls indicate that the Jewish State will maintain an overwhelmingly right-wing parliament.

Channel 12 News reported that 76 of the Knesset’s 120 members will likely come from right-wing parties.

Ari Shavit, a Channel 20 journalist, said, “These results show that the people of Israel voted more than anything else against the demonstrators at Balfour,” referring to anti-Netanyahu protests that have taken place near the Prime Minister’s Jerusalem residence for nearly a year.

With a clear majority of right-wing representatives and little differences in terms of overall policy, it would seem that the parties are well placed to join forces and finally settle in to stable governance following two years of back-to-back elections and one highly dysfunctional unity government.

At least that’s what it would appear to a casual observer given the Right controls 63% of the Knesset. However, the situation is more complicated and whether a right-wing Knesset translates into a governing coalition is another matter.

While right-wing parties share similar positions, at least two have refused to sit in a government under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The New Hope party, whose members primarily consist of disillusioned ex-Likud members – including some who have promoted policies even to the right of Netanyahu – and the Israel Beitenu party have campaigned on their refusal to sit with Netanyahu, whom they wish to send into retirement. Exit polls show the two parties accounting for 13 seats.

This election’s kingmaker will be the Yamina party. According to initial results, the party – whose name literally translates to “rightward” — earns 8 mandates.

Party head Naftali Bennett would not commit to joining a Netanyahu bloc during the election, though it’s difficult to imagine he would refuse to do so. But he will likely drive a hard bargain, demanding key cabinet posts for his people.

The final results will not be announced until next week. Tuesday evening’s results do not include some 600,000 absentee ballots, which could account for as many as 15 mandates. While those votes will likely reflect overall trends, they have the potential to be a game-changer.