Because the Knesset failed to pass a budget by midnight on Tuesday, Israel will be holding elections—for the fourth time in two years—in March of 2021. The failure to pass a budget, however, is only the proximate cause. Among the numerous factors leading to the collapse are the fracturing of Benny Gantz’s Blue and White party, which he brought into the current unity government with Benjamin Netanyahu; Netanyahu’s maneuvers to prevent Gantz from succeeding him as prime minister, per the terms of the coalition deal; and the decision of Gideon Sa’ar—formerly the Likud party’s number two—to break with Netanyahu to form his own party. Haviv Rettig Gur explains what the next election might bring:
If one thinks of the four elections held between April 2019 and March 2021 not as four distinct political events but as a single, long-running contest, Netanyahu’s situation appears to have worsened this week. Over the last three races, he led a Likud list that won between 32 and 36 seats at the ballot box. Likud now polls around 28.
Far more importantly, the diverse but vehemently anti-Netanyahu coalition once led by Gantz had struggled to clear the 61-seat threshold for a parliamentary majority. Over the past two weeks, by contrast, those parties that declare themselves opposed to Netanyahu’s continued rule are polling at close to 80 seats. All the major [polls] found that there may be a slim anti-Netanyahu majority on the center-right, which won’t require left-wing and Arab-majority parties to survive. That’s a dangerous sea-change for Netanyahu.
[Moreover], Netanyahu’s reputation for dishonesty has severely limited his ability to strike the deals that may save him. To stay in power after March, he must win outright. It is no longer enough to fight his opponents to a draw, as he did over the last three races.
The right, [meanwhile], has grown in the polls compared to last year. Parties that self-identify as right-wing (including the ḥaredi factions) now account for roughly 80 Knesset seats. Yet the anti-Netanyahu camp has grown too. The divide over Netanyahu no longer tracks the left-right divide.