Israeli elections attracted crowds throughout the World, especially due to the tight race among Netanyahu and Herzog-Livni. Accordingly, the surveys had dictated neck and neck results between the major parties as the latest one offered 24-24 seats in Knesset despite the Likud wiped the Zionist Union away as 30-24. Almost no one predicted these results – with the exception of Netanyahu himself.
Netanyahu successfully drove the intense pressure on him emanated from home and abroad. So-talked Sara Netanyahu’s (PM’s wife) “bottlegate” case, mistakes done during the Gaza war last summer, “diplomatic tsunami” by the Palestinians around the World, unhindered Iranian nuclear program and high living costs and housing prices were the major concerns of Israeli left at home. On the other hand, the Obama administration and a serious part of Jewish diaspora were on the stage. They both strongly posed as Zionist left supporters, criticized the Jewish Nation State bill and unilateral moves towards new settlement announcements. They would also prefer a more diplomatic way to settle the Arab-Israeli “peace”, therefore they have usually recommended the resume of peace talks. Analogously, EU had similar expectations.
However, Netanyahu chose a different path to deal with the current storm. Without being complied with, he utilized those attacks to consolidate the rightist pool. He claimed that those attacks were in fact outcomes of conspiratorial works. He seemed right: “all were against him”. During the election process, Netanyahu overlooked the decline of far rightist Lieberman because of the corruption scandals, created a more sterilised playground for himself. Eventually, he constructed his discourse on a far-rightist base, attacked two-state solution despite of the own Bar-Ilan speech in 2009. More, Netanyahu configured a settler-based discourse for catching the voters of Bennett, another coalition partner. As a “finish him” punch, speech in Congress gathered all “scared” rightists behind Netanyahu against the rightist “friends”. Bennett’s efforts to be part of this move were insufficent to prevent Netanyahu’s rise on Bennett’s “ashes”. Lieberman lost 6, Bennett lost 4 seats in comparison with the last Knesset elections. Netanyahu gained 10 more.
Netanyahu the consolidation guru, proved that he is the best in securitization within the Israeli right. Without doubt, this ability has provided him long years in power.