By Micah Halpern
Sunday January 6, 2013
There is little doubt who the next prime minister of Israel will be. Barring some freak historical crisis Benjamin Netanyahu will be Israel's next prime minister after the January 22nd election.
The only real question is which parties will become part of his coalition.
Do not be deceived because Netanyahu and his party are right of center. The current coalition took in Labor from the left as well as the Lieberman-led right wing party called Yisrael Beitaynu, Israel is Our Home, which has now become a partner with Likud.
The best possible option for Netanyahu would be to take either the left or the right - not a mix. Other parties are intoxicated by the possibility of getting a ministry, so almost any party is a potential coalition partner - but not necessarily in the best interest of the prime minister.
On the left Lapid is pushing to be part of the government joined with other centre-left parties like Kadima and even Labor.
Right wing parties are also hoping to lock up the coalition. Habayit Ha'yehudi leader Naftali Bennet could easily join a Netanyahu coalition if he takes 15 seats, which is a distinct possibility, and Netanyahu takes 35. That would leave only 10 seats open for other parties to negotiate over.
And if Shas, the Sephardic party gets 11 seats it is an easy right-of-center coalition. This would be ideal for Netanyahu. The fewer parties in the coalition the fewer headaches and the more stable it is.
Only time will tell. A coalition with the left is, once again, certainly a strong possibility. But in this time around I would bet on a Likud / Shas / Habayit Ha'yehudi coalition.
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