While the final tallies of Monday’s votes are not yet in, it appears that, unlike in the previous two elections, the Likud party outperformed its main rival, Blue and White, by four Knesset seats. Yet the results remain ambiguous, as the prime minister will need and does not yet appear to have the 61 Knesset seats it will take to form a governing coalition. Nevertheless, Ruthie Blum notes that some things are unequivocal about the election results:
[V]oter turnout reached 71 percent, the highest in 21 years. Despite public whining about “election fatigue,” and surveys suggesting that the political deadlock would not be broken, citizens came out in record numbers to cast their ballots. Contrary to descriptions of countrywide malaise, the atmosphere at polling stations was cheerful and energetic. Social media were rife with smiling selfies of voters doing their civic duty, as well as photos of children accompanying their parents in the process.
Even most of the 5,500 Israelis subjected to house quarantine—as a result of possibly being exposed to the coronavirus—showed up at the sixteen special tents set up for them across the country. Though they complained of long lines, they appeared to be happy to be out in the world after spending several days stuck in isolation, with only Netflix to keep them company.
As for Benjamin Netanyahu, even if his victory was “amazing, but not sufficient,” to Blum one thing is clear:
This election constituted a defeat of the “anybody but Bibi” hysteria. It represented a win for the sane center-right that believes in Netanyahu’s handling of domestic and foreign affairs, and strongly opposes the tyranny of the courts. It also illustrated that Israelis care about ideas and actions, and that they are not as swayed by empty slogans and outrageous assertions as certain politicians seem to imagine.