Israeli strategists weigh possibilities: ‘Netanyahu-led government is only option’

The possibilities include Labor-Meretz-Gesher or even Blue and White joining the right-wing bloc, if not single defectors.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Veteran Israeli political strategists say that contrary to what happened after the last two elections in 2019, this time Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will succeed in gathering a majority to form a government, Israel Hayom reported on Wednesday.

Amnon Shomron, a political strategist who worked for Moshe Feiglin’s Zehut party in the April elections, said there’s basically no other option.

“[Netanyahu] is the only one who can form a government,” he said. “Also because Gantz and Liberman cannot ignore the absolute Jewish majority that gave Netanyahu a clear victory, and also because from a moral point of view, some members of the Center-Left parties won’t allow [fourth elections] to happen.”

The Israeli public will simply not bear the rival bloc trying to thwart Netanyahu from creating a governing coalition, he said, adding, “Anyone who tries to prevent it will be considered a rejectionist and anti-democratic.”

Ariel Sender, President Trump’s campaign manager in Israel, sees two strong prospects.

“The more realistic possibility is Blue and White joining this government, with them getting a relatively large amount of power and also presenting their public with the argument that in this way they are protecting Israel’s justice system,” he explained.

“Another option is forming a social justice government with Labor-Gesher-Meretz. True, this would be a large frog for [Meretz leader] Nitzan Horowitz and [Democratic Union MK] Yair Golan to swallow, but maybe [Gesher and Labor heads] Orly Levy-Abecassis and Amir Peretz could get social ministries, and have long-term influence on Israel’s social character, which is important to both of them.”

Yair Lapid, one of the four leaders of Blue and White, publicly rejected the idea of a unity government, saying Tuesday night, “I won’t enter a government under Netanyahu, and no one else in the list will enter such a government.”

However, earlier in the day, party chairman Benny Gantz left some room for negotiations when he told reporters, “It’s obvious that Netanyahu doesn’t have 61 to form a government. We’ll examine our approach. We are committed to the State of Israel and to society in Israel. We respect the voters’ decision. We will follow the development of the real [election] results and see where we take it from there.”

The third possibility, immediately floated after the exit polls were published, was of individual defectors joining Netanyahu, such as Blue and White MK Omer Yankelevich, whose confidante, party strategist Israel Bachar, was caught on tape saying that she believes party head Benny Gantz was a “complete nothing.”

“That option is comparatively bad,” said Sender, “because it’s very hard to conduct a government of 61 [members], and very difficult to work that way in the Knesset, especially due to the expected trial of the prime minister.”