The hot new political union in Israel, aptly titled “The Zionist Union”, has become a dream come true for liberal-wing of the Israeli media. Finally, they have someone who can beat Netanyahu and save Israel from itself. The Herzog-Livni has been outpolling Netanyahu for almost three weeks now and the confidence of these pundits has never been higher. Unfortunately for them, if the election were held today, the Zionist Union would not be able to form a government.

In Israeli politics, the goal is not to receive the highest number of votes, but to achieve a coalition of 60+ seats. Simply put, the Herzog-Livni alliance cannot form a coalition of 60+ seats.

Using the latest and most accurate Israeli polling numbers from Project61, the parties are expected to receive this allotment of seats:

  • Zionist Union 25, Likud 23, Haredi parties 17, Jewish Home 15,United Arab List 13, Kulanu 8, Israel Beitenu 7, Yesh Atid 7, Meretz 5.

However, there are rules of the coalition and they are as follows:

  • Likud cannot enter a coalition with Zionist Union
  • Jewish Home cannot enter a coalition with Zionist Union
  • Israel Beitenu cannot enter a coalition with Meretz
  • Yesh Atid cannot enter a coalition with the Haredi parties
  • United Arab List cannot enter a coalition with anyone

Once these rules are internalized, it becomes clear that the Zionist Union will not be able to achieve a sufficient level of support to form a coalition. The best they could possible do is:

Zionist Union, Kulanu, Israel Beitenu, Haredi for a total of 57 seats.

(it is worth noting that most believe that Kulanu, Israel Beitenu and the Haredi parties would prefer to form a coalition with Likud than the Zionist Union)

If Likud were to form the government, the coalition could take one of two forms.

Option 1: Likud, Jewish Home, Israel Beitenu, Kulanu, Haredi for a total of 70 seats.

Option 2: Likud, Jewish Home, Israel Beitenu, Kulanu, Yesh Atid for a total of 60 seats.

In light of this, it appears incredible likely that the next government of Israel consists of Likud, Jewish Home, Israel Beitenu, Kulanu, and the Haredi parties.