Even though the Israelis voters spoke pretty clearly and do prefer Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for another term of office, giving his Likud Party many more seats than they gave Herzog-Livni's, assembling a coalition won't be easy for him. Besides Naftali Bennett who has made it clear that he firmly supports Netanyahu and hasn't leaked any demands, all of the other party leaders are making it clear that they aren't in Bibi's pocket and expect a hefty payment, meaning important cabinet position for them and most of their MK's.
Just a couple of years ago, Netanyahu invited Avigdor Lieberman's party, Yisrael Beitenu to run with Likud on a joint list, which ended up to the benefit of Lieberman and detriment to Likud. This year, on its own, Yisrael Beitenu has lost strength, but it still has the power to make or break a coalition. Lieberman is playing hard to get, insisting that although he's leading one one of the smallest parties in Knesset, he still deserves a "senior position."
All during the campaign my feeling was that the Likud could not count on former Likudnik Kahlon at all in terms of joining the coalition. He'd be like the classic "woman scorned," even though he was the one who left the ship. And now the rumor is that he's going to play Bennett's old role dragging in Lapid as a "third and very unwanted wheel" as a condition for his joining a Likud government.
"According to Israeli television, Kahlon will demand that Netanyahu also invite his rival and erstwhile finance minister Yair Lapid into the government." (Jerusalem Post)Yair Lapid's total lack of loyalty and discipline was one of the reasons Netanyahu had to declare new elections. And it was also Lapid's rabidly anti-Chareidi conditions that Bibi accepted which seriously damaged Likud's relationship with the Chareidi parties. And Netanyahu needs those MKs to form a coalition.
As I've written before, I predict instability, and I wonder if Netanyahu will succeed in this seemingly impossible task. If he doesn't, then Herzog will get a chance to form a government coalition. And no matter who finally succeeds I doubt that the government will last very long. There is also a possible scenario that no coalition will be formed, and we'll be voting again this coming summer.
And don't forget that the media's rumor mill has been talking of President Ruby Rivlin pushing Netanyahu and Herzog to come up with a "National Unity Government," like the one that had Shimon Peres and Yitzchak Shamir trading places in the Prime Minister's office.
What do you think?