Does Netanyahu's Win Maintain Status Quo Or Push Israel Further Right?

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu greets supporters at his Likud Party headquarters in the Israeli coastal city of Tel Aviv on election night early

Final results from this week's Israeli election published today left Benjamin Netanyahu on course to remain prime minister although there were reports of pressure on him not to form another narrow right-wing coalition. The Likud has 36 seats while Gantz's party has 35. Religious Jewish lawmakers hold more sway over law and society as they block initiatives to expand LGBT rights and allow for secular marriage ceremonies. I think he proved he's the best campaigner in Israel and he managed his campaign alone; and he did it having all kinds of indictments against him, being accused of corruption.

The last round of USA -brokered peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians collapsed in 2014.

For some analysts, the glaring difference between the Russian intervention of 2016 and Mr. Trump's pro-Netanyahu actions is that while Russia acted covertly through social media and other means to manipulate American voters, Mr. Trump has acted openly - taking steps that it could be argued (as administration officials repeatedly did) were taken in support of Israel and not of a leader or candidate.

Netanyahu himself, in a campaign pledge just three days before polling day, pledged to begin annexing settlements in the occupied West Bank. Without Liberman, Netanyahu could only muster 60 seats, but Liberman would not likely vote with the entire opposition, including Arab parties, to block such a coalition. He already said he intends to build a coalition with right-wing and ultra-Orthodox parties.

In a joint statement, the four lawmakers including Representative Eliot Engel, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said they backed Israel's security but were "greatly concerned" about prospects that the Jewish state will unilaterally annex Palestinian territory.

"The United States is with him and the People of Israel all the way!" he said.

Netanyahu should thank U.S. President Donald Trump for the win.

More news: Mike Pence hits back at Pete Buttigieg: ‘He knows me better’

The last round of US -brokered peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians collapsed in 2014. Congress continues to take up the case of Russia's involvement in the 2016 presidential election, which USA intelligence agencies have concluded was carried out with the aim of damaging Hillary Clinton and boosting Mr. Trump's prospects.

So in a way, all this was the reason why the majority of the Israelis gave Netanyahu a new mandate.

Throughout the last decade, Netanyahu has focused on Iran and its nuclear program as Israel's biggest threat.

"He feels he has some unfinished business on a matter of great importance to Israel's national security, maybe even sees it as kind of his destiny", former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro told NPR. Knowing that Israelis value their country's relations with the U.S., Netanyahu had to listen.

Netanyahu's Likud Party had the highest support in the 18 to 24 age group with 65% supporting him.

"He's been more of a status quo-maintenance politician for many years, now faced with some momentous decisions", Shapiro said.

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