S defends the Israeli election this week, centrist former military chief Benny Gantz and centrist former television personality Yair Lapid formed a coalition to defeat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's ruling coalition.
The Alliance, which retains support from Netanyahu's former Defense Minister Moshe Ya & # 39; alon, dramatically increases a likelihood of an opposition seeker in the April election. Nevertheless, the coalition is a rather strange one. Given Israel's parliamentary term of five years, Gantz and Lapid will rotate as prime ministers if they are to win. Gantz would take the first two and a half years, Lapid the second half.
But the key point here is that this alliance puts Netanyahu under real pressure. While the Likud leader is popular with many Israelis, his coalition alliance is increasingly dependent on more extreme elements of Israeli politics. Naftali Bennett's Jewish Home Party is now the more moderate of them, with Netanyahu renewing his coalition to include the fanatical Jewish force party and another right-wing party. While this support seems to give Netanyahu a narrow advantage in voting to win a majority in the Knesset and return as prime minister, it also risks Netanyahu's more moderate followers flipping into the Gantz-Lapid coalition.
Netanyahu's new extremist allies, from an American point of interest, see that his victory is less obviously beneficial. For one, their arrival almost certainly marks a preventive death for President Trump's long-awaited, albeit overly optimistic, peace plan.
But such is the character of always living Israeli coalition building. When election day comes, it becomes prime minister depending on the balance between two factors: Can Netanyahu get out of the uniform right wing, or Gantz and Lapid can bring enough moderate conservatives into their corner.