JERUSALEM – When Israel woke up the day before on Wednesday His fourth election in two years, It felt nothing like a new dawn.
With more than 90 percent of the votes, the Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuThe right-wing coalition had 52 seats, while its opponents had 56 – both sides had many of the 61 seats needed to form a coalition government with a majority in Parliament. If they matter, they can prolong the political deadlock for months that has crippled the country for two years.
This possibility was already compelling to confront questions about Israel. Feasibility of their electoral systemThe efficiency of his government and whether the different politics of the country – secular and secular, right and left, divisions between Jews and Arabs have made the country unbearable.
“It’s not getting any better. It is getting worse – and everyone is so tired, ”said Rachel Azaria, a former centrist legislator who chairs a coalition of environment-focused civil society groups. “The whole country is going crazy.”
Official final results are not expected before Friday. But partial tallies suggested that both Mr Netanyahu’s coalition and its opponents would need support A small, Islamic Arab party, Raum, To form a majority coalition.
Any of those consequences would disregard traditional logic. The first option would force Islamists into a Netanyahu-led bloc that includes politicians who want to expel Arab citizens of Israel, whom they “reject”. Second, will unite Ram with an MLA Defeated billions And asked them to leave the country.
Beyond the election, the gridlock extends to administrative stagnation, which has left Israel without a national budget for two consecutive years in the midst of an epidemic, and is unaffected with several key civil service positions.
It also increases uncertainty about the future of the judiciary. Mr. Netanyahu’s test He himself, who is being accused of corruption, denies it. Mr Netanyahu has also rejected the claim that he will use any new majority to provide immunity to himself, but is likely to be in a possible coalition of others.
And both the Prime Minister and his allies have promised a comprehensive overhaul that would limit the power of the Supreme Court.
Sheera Efron, A Tel Aviv-based analyst for the Israel Policy Forum, a New York-based research group, said, “This is not a failed state. This is not Lebanon. You still have institutions.”
“But there is definitely an erosion there,” she said. “Not having a budget for two years – it’s really dangerous.”
Mr. Netanyahu presides over a world-leading vaccine program, which depicts how parts of the state still operate very smoothly. But generally, the lack of a state budget forces ministries to work only on a short-term basis, halting long-term infrastructure projects such as road construction.
For Ms. Azaria, former legislator, Stasis has delayed discussion of a multibillion-dollar program to improve the provision of renewable energy, which was her green coalition proposed to the government last year.
“We are talking about taking Israel to the next stage in so many ways, and nothing can happen out of it,” Ms Azaria said. “There is no decision.”
“Railway tracks, highways, all these long-term plans – we won’t have them,” he said.
Israeli commentators and analysts were locked in a debate on Wednesday about a change in the electoral system that broke the deadlock.
Some argued for increasing the threshold of 3.25 percent of the vote required for parties to enter Parliament. This will make it harder for smaller groups to regain incompatible power in negotiations to gain seats and form coalition governments.
Others proposed the establishment of multiple voting districts instead of the current setup of a nationwide voting district in Israel, which they say would encourage smaller parties to merge into larger ones.
A columnist suggested forming a technocratic government for a few months to allow for a new budget and revive the economy.
And one expert suggested only anointing the leader of the largest party as prime minister, without the need for him to win the support of the parliamentary majority – a move that would at least ensure that the government after Israel elections Be made.
“It can build a majority for one of the parties,” Proc. Gideon Rahat co-editor of a book called “Reforming Israel’s Political System”.
But the problem could also be solved if Mr. Netanyahu left the political stage only, Professor Rahat said.
“If you look at the results, the Israeli right wing has a clear majority and if not for Netanyahu it will be a stable government,” he said.
But for others, Israel’s problems transcended Mr. Netanyahu’s or fixes the electoral system. For some, the stalemate lies in a more profound fissure that divides different segments of society, divides that have contributed to political fragmentation.
There are many different fault lines in the country – between Jews and Arab minorities, who make up about 20 percent of the population; Between Jews of European descent, known as the Askenazis, and Mizrahi Jews whose ancestors lived in the Middle East for centuries; Between those who are in favor of a two-state solution to the Palestinian conflict and those who want to close the West Bank.
The fact that Mr. Netanyahu is still within reach to retain power, shows that he has been more effective in increasing the divide between secular and deeply secular Jews than any other rival, he said. Ofer ZalzbergHerbert C., a Jerusalem-based research group. Director of Middle East Programs at the Kelman Institute.
“He has harmonized better than his opponents with conservative values such as preserving Jewish identity, liberal views of personal and personal autonomy, as defined by conservative interpretations of Jewish law,” Mr. Zalzberg he said.
Although other politicians have historically tried to resolve this tension by “turning all Israelis into secular Zionists,” he said, “Mr. Netanyahu carried forward the idea of Israel as a mosaic of various tribes.”
Mr Netanyahu has failed to win over the more liberal of those tribes – and this failure is at the heart of the current deadlock. But he and his party have been more successful than secularists winning over major groups such as the Mizrahi Jews, who were historically marginalized by the Ashkenazi elite, Ms. Azaria said.
“That is a blind spot Left wing in Israel – they are not really talking to Mizrahim, ”she said. “It can be a game-changer of Israeli politics. If the left can open the door and say, ‘You’re welcome. We want you here. ”
The political deadlock has also ended with Jewish-led parties reluctant to include Arab parties within their governments, ruling out subsequent coalition negotiations and making it even more difficult to form a majority.
Arab sides have also traditionally been opposed to joining Israeli governments that are in conflict with Arab neighbors and occupying territories claimed by Palestinians.
But Tel Aviv-based analyst Drs. The paradigm shift for Efron was expected on Wednesday morning. With election results at the knife point, some politicians were forced to consider the possibility of an important political role for at least one Arab party, such as the RAM.
He said that such a discussion could accelerate the acceptance of Arabs in Israel’s political arena.
“It brings more integration,” Dr. Ephron said. “In the long run, it may be a silver lining.”
Adam Rasgon and Gabby Sobelman contributed reporting.