Benjamin Netanyahu will most likely form the next government. Not only is he the head of the largest party, he also has the most options to put together a coalition.
The puzzle Yair Lapid will have to form, despite the fact that he heads the second largest party, is almost impossible. Lapid himself probably understands that he is not ready to be head of state. He wants to be prime minister, but not now.
However, the election results are significant beyond the question of who will be prime minister. These elections signaled to the politicians that the rules of the game have changed. The Israeli voting public, both from the Right and the Left, has had enough of politicians who discount us – and it punished them. The politician the voters expressed the most distrust in is Netanyahu. And it's not just about the more than 10 mandates that were lost due to the merger of Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu, which was supposed to strengthen, not weaken the prime minister; it's the general feeling that the prime minister was arrogant, overly confident in his power, too cynical and despised his voting public.
The moment Netanyahu asked the members of the Likud Central Committee to vote on an agreement the details of which were withheld from them was a Pyrrhic victory. The representatives voted 'yes,' but they realized their views were not really being taken into account. They shrugged their shoulders, as if to say: If the boss trusts Finkelstein, let Finkelstein win the elections for him.
We trust your good intentions
Netanyahu's twin, Ehud Barak, already paid the price for his arrogant approach. Netanyahu assumed it would not happen to him. This man, who just a few months ago was crowned as the "king of Israel" and was described as someone who determines the fate of people not only in Israel but in the US as well, discovered that it happened to him too. Reality struck him first in America, and now the Israeli voter also gave him a ringing slap in the face.
This slap did not just hit the prime minister. The most important thing that happened here was the death of cynicism as currency. All of the parties that succeeded in these elections consist of people who were concerned by the wind that was blowing through the hallways of the Knesset and government, as well as by the cigars and whiskey that shocked Yuval Diskin. They were searching not only for a new policy, but for a new spirit and new decision-making process.
These elections are the delayed result of the social protest of 2011. More than the protesters wanted to lower the price of cottage cheese and even the price of apartments, they were protesting against the priorities in the State of Israel and the manner in which the country was being run. The next Knesset will include many parliamentarians who are an expression of this revulsion.
These MKs will have good intentions, but good intentions, as we know, are not enough. The next Knesset will consist of many political rookies. If they will not learn the game quickly, all these good intentions will turn into one big disappointment. We've seen this happen many times before. Politics is a profession, not a hobby.
Their first tasks are to avoid becoming pawns in Bibi's game, not drown in the swamp of wheeling and dealing, and never forget why they entered politics. Regardless of whether they join the coalition or sit in the opposition, their mission is to impose a serious attitude towards Israel's core problems – the unjust division of the burden, inequality, poor governance and the diplomatic stalemate. We trust your good intentions. We voted for you so that you would fix things. Now fix them.