Israelis vote for party slates. Weeks ago, the parties were required to list, in order, the people who, on the slates, would take office depending on how many seats they win.
Netanyahu’s Likud as 31 seats.
With Netanyahu: UTJ; the Ultra Orthodox Ashkenazi have 8 seats
With Netanyahu: Shas; the Ultra Orthodox Sefardi have 9 seats
With Netanyahu: Yamina; nationalist secular party have 7 seats
That’s 55 seats. Netanyahu needs 61 for a majority.
Benny Gantz’ Blue and White has 33 seats.
With Benny Gantz: Labor-Gesher; social democrats including the remains of what was Israel’s great party – Labor has 6 seats
With Benny Gantz: Democratic Union; left wing, includes Greens has 5 seats
That’s 44 seats. Gantz needs 61 for a majority.
Preferring Gantz to Netanyahu: Joint List, the Israeli Arab party led by a socialist have 13 seats. They might not be invited to join a government, but they could support a government by the Blue and White.
That’s 57 seats. Gantz needs 61 for a majority.
Preferring a national unity government, but one without Netanyahu in the government and without the religious parties. Also insisting on a government without the Israeli-Arabs. Yisrael Beiteinu is largely an Israeli-Russian party and entirely a party led by Avigdor Liberman. It has 8 seats.
That could be 65 seats. But the relationship with the Joint List would have to be remarkably subtle.
A National Unity government. Netanyahu wants that . Gantz wants that, but without Netanyahu. A Netanyahu-less Likud plus the Blue and White. That’s 64 seats. That’s a government that could work.
There would be a booby prize for Netanyahu. He would be tried for corruption and might find himself in jail.
There would be a genuine prize for the Joint List. They would be the largest party outside of the government. They would be the Opposition. They could be treated with dignity and respect if the government followed the rules.
Let’s see what happens.