Yoel Oz
Co-Founder of the Abrahamic Movement

First form the Coalition. Then go to elections

If Benny Gantz follows my advice, he will be the next Prime Minister of Israel.

The fundamental mistake in Israeli politics has been waiting until after elections to see which individual will be given the opportunity to form a coalition and then become Prime Minister. What inevitably happens is that each party fights with those parties most similar to it, competing for the votes of a particular base. Likud voters tend to repeatedly vote Likud. They will sometimes consider parties slightly to their Right or Center, but for the most part it is a well defined base. Meretz voters will continually vote Meretz, with some leaning towards Labor and some to the Joint List, but for the most part it is a well defined base.

Shas voters will usually vote Shas. Sometimes they will vote Likud. Occasionally they will vote for a National Religious party. Ashkenazi Haredi voters will almost always vote for Yahadut Hatorah. This sector is probably the most stable base.

Russian speaking voters will most often vote for Liberman, though some may lean towards Likud and some towards Lapid.

Arab voters tend to vote for Arab parties. The question is whether the parties run independently or on a “Joint List”. In the previous elections, Ra’am, the Islamic Movement party, ran independently, and for the first time had an Arab party join the coalition.

Finally, there are the Center bloc voters. These are the Israeli voters who are usually tired of all of the parties, never satisfied with the traditional options. Center parties come and go. As a result, these voters are the ones most “in play”, and this is the group that has the most ability to “tip the scales”.

An individual who can capture the Center, and then bring along several of the other blocs, will most likely become Prime Minister. The 3 individuals with the best chances in this regard today are Gantz, Lapid and Saar. Saar has the least amount of popular support. Lapid is loathed by the Religious and the Right. Which leaves Gantz.

If Gantz forms a coalition now, instead of after the elections, recognizing he will have the best chance of becoming Prime Minister, other than Netanyahu, he will walk away with the election. The person most standing in his path is Yair Lapid. Lapid and Gantz will split the anti-Netanyahu vote. However Gantz appeals to a broader swath than Lapid does. If he plays his cards right, Lapid will serve under him.

So what Gantz needs to do is form as a broad of a coalition as possible NOW. If he follows my advice, he will be the next Prime Minister.

About the Author
Yoel Oz is the co-founder of the Abrahamic Movement and the author of "Abrahamic Federation: A Solution to the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict." He served as an Orthodox rabbi and educator in the Washington, DC metro area for five years. He studied at Cornell and Yeshiva Universities and Yeshivat Hamivtar and Yeshivat Rabbenu Yitzchak Elchanan. He currently resides with his wife and daughter in a suburb of Tel Aviv.
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