Analysts Stumped on How New Government Could Be Formed

YERUSHALAYIM -
The Knesset plenum.

A new poll on Channel 12 shows that the standoff between the left and right remains as it was: Neither the Likud nor Blue and White will be able to form a government without Yisrael Beytenu, which would not be part of a government that includes either chareidim or Arabs. The easiest option for both parties, according to the poll, would be for the two biggest parties to form a unity government – for which they would not need any other parties.

The latest poll shows that the Likud has a slight edge among the electorate, and that if elections were held today, the party would get 31 seats. Blue and White would get 30, with the United Arab List getting 11 seats. The poll also shows that Yisrael Beytenu would get 10 seats, double the number the party got in the April elections. United Torah Judaism would get eight seats, Shas seven, and Labor just six. The New Right led by Naftali Bennett would get five seats, and the United Right List would get four, as would Meretz. Ehud Barak’s Israel Democratic Party would get into the Knesset, with four seats, although he is straddling the electoral threshold.

The Likud would be able to recruit 55 members for a government with its “natural” allies, the same number Blue and White would be able to bring in, if it included the Arab party, a very unlikely scenario. Without the Arabs and with Yisrael Beytenu, Blue and White’s Benny Gantz would be able to assemble a government of 54 MKs. Even in that scenario, Gantz would need to bring in the rightwing or chareidi parties – a scenario that seems impossible, given the presence of both Avigdor Liberman and Yair Lapid in the government.

Meanwhile, the likelihood that Blue and White would agree to join a government led by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu – even on a rotation basis – seems highly unlikely as well, given the many statements by Blue and White leaders on how they would not include Netanyahu in a government as long as the threat of indictment is hanging over his head. Analysts for Channel 12 said they were “stumped” on how the conundrum could be resolved. “If we thought we were at a stalemate now, just wait for September,” said one analyst. “The possibility of a third election cannot be ruled out.”