The most important thing you need to know about the Israeli election


Despite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's initial hope for a more stable coalition, and the Israeli left's later hope that it would score an upset, the balance of power in the Israeli Knesset is almost exactly the same as it was after the last elections in 2013:

2013: Likud+Lieberman+Bennett = 43 (right-wing Zionist bloc)
2015: Likud+Lieberman+Bennett = 43

2013: Labor+Meretz+Tzipi = 27 (left-wing Zionist bloc)
2015: Labor+Tzipi+Meretz = 28

2013: Lapid+Kadima = 21 (centrist Zionist bloc)
2015: Lapid+Kahlon = 21

2013: Haredim = 18 (Ultra-Orthodox Jewish parties)
2015: Haredim = 14

2013: Arabs (divided) = 11 (Arab parties)
2015: Arabs (united) = 14

Now, it's true that Netanyahu may very well swap Lapid (a staunch secularist) and Tzipi for the ultra-Orthodox parties, which would result in a more right-wing government, but not because the Israeli electorate has changed its views significantly. On the other hand, if President Reuven Rivlin manages to force a national unity government encompassing all the Zionist parties except the extremes (29 Likud, 24 Zionist Union (Labor plus Tzipi), 21 centrist), the government will be significantly more left-leaning than previously - again without there being any underlying change in Israeli popular opinion.

H/T Matti Friedman