On Tuesday, Israeli voters gave Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a clear mandate to form the next government. To do that, he’ll need the support of at least 61 of the Knesset’s 120 lawmakers. Here are a few of his options, and for background, here’s an overview of the parties and what they stand for.
The right-religious “natural partners” coalition (67 members)
Parties: Likud (30), Kulanu (10), Jewish Home (8), Shas (7), United Torah Judaism (6), Yisrael Beytenu (6)
The most likely scenario based on the results, this coalition is the one analysts are expecting to take shape. It’s basically a reversion to Netanyahu’s relatively stable 2009-2013 coalition of right-wing and religious parties, called Likud’s “natural partners.” The center-right Kulanu, headed by former Likud minister Moshe Kahlon, would also join this coalition in return for a prominent post like finance minister.
This coalition would likely take a hard line on security and diplomacy, and a more progressive stance on economics, in accordance with Kulanu’s and Shas’ platforms, which focus on alleviating poverty and lowering the cost of living. This coalition, with haredi Orthodox participation, could also roll back the 2014 law including haredim in the military draft.
The center-right coalition (65 members)
Parties: Likud (30), Yesh Atid (11), Kulanu (10), Jewish Home (8), Yisrael Beytenu (6)
The haredi Orthodox UTJ has not endorsed Netanyahu for prime minister. What happens if they refuse to? Another scenario for Netanyahu is again excluding the haredi parties from the government, choosing right-wing and centrist allies instead. This coalition would look a lot like the outgoing one. It would have a free-market oriented economic policy and would probably not roll back the haredi-focused reforms of the last government.
The obstacle to this coalition is Yesh Atid. That party’s fighting with Likud caused the last coalition’s collapse, and its full-throated endorsement of West Bank withdrawal doesn’t accord with Likud’s or Jewish Home’s policy.
The unity government (81 or 77 members)
Parties: Likud (30), Zionist Union (24), Yesh Atid (11), Kulanu (10), Yisrael Beytenu (6), or Likud (30), Zionist Union (24), Kulanu (10), Shas (7), UTJ (6)
Netanyahu has said several times that he does not want to partner with the Zionist Union in a coalition, so this is unlikely. But if UTJ, Kulanu or Yesh Atid force his hand, this may become a possibility. And a wider coalition usually means more stability, which Netanyahu values.
The first of these coalitions would be centrist diplomatically and economically, at most enacting some economic reform based on Kulanu’s platform. The latter would likely roll back the haredi reforms of the last government and enact more progressive economic policy. But, again, neither of these coalitions is probable.
The Times of Israel covers one of the most complicated, and contentious, parts of the world. Determined to keep readers fully informed and enable them to form and flesh out their own opinions, The Times of Israel has gradually established itself as the leading source of independent and fair-minded journalism on Israel, the region and the Jewish world.
We've achieved this by investing ever-greater resources in our journalism while keeping all of the content on our site free.
Unlike many other news sites, we have not put up a paywall. But we would like to invite readers who can afford to do so, and for whom The Times of Israel has become important, to help support our journalism by joining The Times of Israel Community. Join now and for as little as $6 a month you can both help ensure our ongoing investment in quality journalism, and enjoy special status and benefits as a Times of Israel Community member.