But in Israel’s coalition system, no one crosses the finish line without the support of several other parties. This time around, those to watch range from far-right nationalists rising in popularity to Arab factions struggling to attract their own voters.
Take far-right Jewish Power Party leader Itamar Ben-Gvir, an ultranationalist with a decades-old taste for provocation, calling for the assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin in the 1990s or just this month. firing a gun amid clashes in East Jerusalem’s disputed Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.
Just a few elections ago he was rejected by the Israeli right, including Netanyahu, for being too extreme. Fast forward to the fifth election, this fringe politician could be the kingmaker and a major part of a Netanyahu government. His rise was aided by the king of the right himself, who negotiated an agreement for a common list of far-right parties. Together, they are on track to become the third-largest party in parliament, paving the way for Netanyahu’s victory and backing highly controversial changes to the justice system that will quickly end his trial.
But in a campaign speech last week, Lapid said those changes are just the tip of the iceberg.