Israel's Parliamentary Election Results:
- On November 1, 2022, Israel held its fifth parliamentary election in three years.
- Parties competed to wrest power from centrist Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid (There is a Future) party and its broad, dissimilar eight-party coalition.
- On Thursday, November 3, the final vote count for Israel’s parliamentary elections identified Likud leader and former long-term Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his right-wing coalition as majority-winner.
- Otzma Yehudit, a far-right faction headed by Itamar Ben-Gvir, will be integral to his government, having won 14 seats. Altogether, Netanyahu’s coalition will span 64 seats in the Knesset.
- Previous Prime Minister Yair Lapid’s party won 24 seats.
- Hadash-Ta'al and United Arab List, Arab-majority parties, obtained 5 seats each in the Knesset.
- Reaching 71%, voter turnout was at its highest levels since 2015.
- With polls closed, Netanyahu promised to form a right-wing coalition that will enlarge “the circle of peace.”
- Now bound to far-right Otzma Yehudit, analysts have speculated over Netanyahu’s plans for the West Bank. Notably, Netanyahu signed a pledge in October to expand housing construction in the West Bank if elected to the Prime Minister post.
- Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh expressed indifference at the election results, stating that he had no “illusions” that the results would produce a peace partner.
- Despite a history of cooperation between Netanyahu and President Biden, analysts have pointed out the equally long record of policy disagreements between the two leaders, particularly over West Bank settlements.
New Leadership & Regional Dynamics:
- Arab states, many of which strengthened relations with Israel during Netanyahu’s tenure, continued to express confidence in Israel and Netanyahu as a bulwark against Iran.
- Jordanian leaders indicated concern regarding Netanyahu’s past policies toward Palestinians and potential further displacement.
- Israel’s recent maritime border agreement with Lebanon is at risk under Netanyahu, who deemed the agreement “illegal” and pledged to “neutralize” it if elected. Lebanon’s prime minister conveyed confidence that the deal will stand regardless of the change in leadership.
- Arab citizens of Israel comprise approximately a fifth of its total nine million.
- Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennet’s previous Knesset, elected in 2021, included the first ever independent Arab party to participate in a governing coalition.
- Israel’s Religious Zionism wing, housing Otzma Yehudit led by Ben-Gvir, took on increasing significance and attention leading up to November’s election. Anti-Arab rhetoric has consumed its rallies in recent weeks as Ben-Gvir promised to impose the death penalty on Palestinian terrorists and disband the Palestinian Authority.
- Ben-Gvir was once jailed for inciting racism and supporting a terrorist organization. He hopes to become Israel’s Internal Security Minister, a position that oversees Israeli police forces.
- Netanyahu, who is on trial for corruption charges, also contended to retake the Prime Minister’s office. Popular among some Israelis for his hard-line position on foreign and domestic security, Netanyahu campaigned on promises to exclude Ra’am from his coalition and to make far-reaching changes to the Judiciary.