There are many scenarios surrounding the formation of Israel’s next government that concern the United States’ relationship with the Jewish state. Our EIC posted a brief explanation of how Israel’s government is formed, which is vastly different from politics in the United States. It seems like the most likely scenario left is a unity government shared between conservative Likud and center=left Blue and White, a prospect that seemed unlikely directly following the election because both sides had problems with each other.
With the only other viable option being a third election in a year, both sides seem much more willing to talk. But roadblocks still remain. Likud wants to negotiate as a conservative block of 55 MKs instead as an individual party of 32 because Blue and White has 33. If the government is formed with just the two major parties, moderate leftist Benny Gantz from Blue and White has the upper hand and would likely be Prime Minister. By operating as a block, Likud can lay claim to either the entire term as Prime Minister or the first half of it in a power-sharing agreement.
Blue and White has also opposed current Prime Minister and Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu holding the top office while he’s in the process of facing corruption charges. But Likud and the conservative block have thus far remained loyal to Bibi. That could change if a government simply cannot be formed with him in charge.
The good news for the United States is that the majority of issues separating Likud and Blue and White are domestic. Both tend to want to continue a strong relationship with President Trump that has blossomed between him and Netanyahu. And with secular conservatives in Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beytenu Party also favoring the Middle East policies proposed by the White House, their stance of demanding a unity government could pay off for them as well as the United States.
We’re not out of the woods completely, though. There is still a chance the center-left block can woo both Yisrael Beytenu and the Arab Joint List Parties into a government that excludes Likud and other conservative parties altogether. In such a scenario, Gantz as Prime Minister would have a mandate to change our relationship and start favoring Palestinian causes in their nation. Moreover, he could turn to Russia and other world powers for support in case President Trump is unable to win reelection.
The scariest proposition for Israel on the foreign relations front is if someone even more progressive and anti-Israel than President Obama were to take over the Oval Office. Looking at the current Democratic candidates, all qualify for this dubious distinction.
If a unity, centrist government forms, there will be turmoil internally over the various disputes between ultra-orthodox and secular Jews, but foreign relations will remain unchanged. Our best ally int he Middle East today will still be our ally tomorrow.
We are currently forming the American Conservative Movement. If you are interested in learning more, we will be sending out information in a few weeks.
[gravityform id=”2″ title=”true” description=”false”]