It seems that, aside from Brexit, global conservatism is on a roll as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu looks poised for another parliamentary win. This is his fourth consecutive victory and fifth overall. This summer, assuming he’s in office (a good bet) he’ll be Israel’s longest serving prime minister.
In the wee hours of Wednesday EST and with 97.4 percent of the votes counted, Likud and parties aligned with it seem to command a 65-seat majority in the 120-member Israeli Knesset. Negotiations will follow for the details and expect those smaller parties, including Orthodox religious political parties, to exact a high price. Likud itself commands about 35 seats. The same as its main rival the Blue and White Party. But, as noted, Bibi has lots of pals to get him to 65.
Over 40 parties took place in the election, and to be represented in the Knesset a party must take at least 3.25 percent of the vote. The party that ruled Israel for many years, Labor, only polled seats in the single digits. The ultranationalist libertarian marijuana legalization party (I kid you not), Zehut was considered an interesting dark horse and possible kingmaker. No dice. In fact, it became the Comet Kohoutek of the race, underperforming massively and failing to gain even one seat in the Knesset.
The election seemed to be a referendum on Bibi, even as bribery charges hung over him. However, the cloud didn’t rain and voters who are concerned with life and death security issues let the corruption allegations pass. For now.
The result bodes well for U.S. foreign affairs, as the president and Netanyahu are close and will likely continue their strategic partnership well into the forseeable future.