As of this moment, there are less than three hours before Israel’s 120 lawmakers will be forced to vote on the dissolution of Jerusalem’s short-lived 22nd Parliament – unless an improbable miracle occurs before midnight tonight (December 11). The development now paves the way for an unprecedented third round of national elections within a period of less than eleven months.
Lawmakers from both of the two largest political parties, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud and Benny Gantz’ Blue and White, jointly-presented a bill to dissolve the Israeli parliament; signaling the end of relentless efforts to bridge the wide gaps between them that could have facilitated the formation of a national unity government. “Due to the exceptional circumstances, and after two consecutive election campaigns following which no government was formed,” read the MK’s submission, “we propose to dissolve the 22nd Knesset and hold new elections on Monday, March 2nd, 2020.”
According to poll published by Israel’s leading news Channel 13 network, the Blue and White is now gaining popularity over the Likud. Bearing a 3.6% margin of error, the survey revealed that if elections were held now, former IDF Chief of Staff Gantz’ faction would increase its lead over Netanyahu’s party from the single parliamentary mandate it currently holds to four. This would secure a comfortable victory of 37 Blue and White MK’s against the 33 projected to be taken by Likud, out of overall 120-member Knesset. Other findings among the representative sample of 803 Israelis included the garnering of 13 seats by the Joint Arab List, 8 to Yisrael Beitenu, a respective 7 and 6 mandates to the Ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism and Shas factions, Yamina 6, with 5 each going to the Labor-Gesher and the Democratic Camp. Unlike the results of either the nation’s first election on April 9th or the second on September 17th, the Jewish Home-National Union alliance was not expected to receive enough votes to pass the 3.25% electoral threshold.
Respondents were also asked whom they hold accountable for the political deadlock that will likely force the third, consecutive election. A staggering 41% blamed Prime Minister Netanyahu, followed by 26% who believe Yisrael Beitenu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman is responsible. A sizeable 23% segment said all of Israel’s political leaders are “equally responsible.” A mere 5% assigned personal blame to Blue and White’s Gantz.