Israelis Prepare for “Election 2019 – The Sequel” as Iranian War Drums Loom Large
It’s down to the wire as Israel’s plethora of parties frantically search for elusive sources of votes that could mean an additional seat in the parliament when the dust clears following Tuesday’s election. The big question of the day is whether incumbent Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s record ten-consecutive year term will come to an end or the resourceful veteran will overcome legal woes and “anti-Bibi” voter blocs to defeat the inexperienced political newbie, former army chief-of-staff Benny Gantz. Polling is again inconclusive as results presage another razor-thin margin that again sets up former defense minister Avigdor Liberman as the king-maker. It was Liberman who sent the nation into a repeat of the April 9th election when he refused to sit in a coalition with religious parties and has not changed his position in the interim. Netanyahu’s vow to annex parts of land conquered in the 1967 war that the Palestinians claim for their state-in-waiting has had international repercussions as has the ongoing and escalating tensions with Iran. When the balloting is complete, it will be up to President Reuven Rivlin to decide whether the party-head with the greatest number of seats will get the first shot at creating a coalition government or whether that opportunity will fall to the runner-up. In a word, many characterize the election as a referendum on Netanyahu’s future.