Two weeks ago, I wrote that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would be evincing incompetence if he did not facilitate an early election. Now that an election has been averted, seemingly against the Prime Minister’s will, it’s worth examining what was revealed during this crisis for some of the main parties involved.

The factions seeking to replace Netanyahu from the left remain in an unenviable and desperate situation. While I still believe an early election was the best chance for Netanyahu to remain in power should Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit recommend indictment on charges of graft, the biggest loser of this crisis is surely Yair Lapid, the leader of the centrist Yesh Atid. Although polls did not show Yesh Atid leading Likud, the former finance minister and television personality could not have personally designed a more propitious spark for an early election: ultra-Orthodox opposition to sharing the burden of national service with the rest of Israeli Jewry, catnip for his largely secular and liberal base of support.

The news is not much better for Zionist Union, the parliamentary bloc that includes the Labor Party and Tzipi Livni’s Hatnuah. Avi Gabbay, the Labor Party’s chairman, was apparently leaning toward elections when Livni and former Labor leaders Isaac Herzog, and Shelly Yachimovich intervened to stop him from publicly committing to dissolving the Knesset in time for a June election.

Despite criticism from the left, including the lead editorial in Ha’aretz, these MKs did the opposition a great service. The government has been in power for three years and a good prognosticator would not bet on it lasting its full term next year, given the likelihood the prime minister will face indictment and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon’s recent pledge not to prop up Netanyahu if that happens. It’s impossible to conceive of a scenario in which any coalition party leader, other than Likud’s, will damage themselves politically by supporting a government for what will be at maximum a few months. If Netanyahu wanted to prolong his rule through a court battle, he should have taken his chances with an October election and won an unambiguous mandate from the voters.

If it’s not too late to contain the damage he’s caused since becoming Labor chairman, Gabbay would be wise to continue accepting the counsel of experienced politicians in Zionist Union. Additionally, an acknowledgment of the reduced stature of Zionist Union would go a long way: in every poll, Yesh Atid is the clear leader of the opposition and Zionist Union, along with Meretz, should represent the interests of left-leaning Israelis. Gabbay’s recent outreach to Arab voters in Nazareth is an encouraging sign that this reality is beginning to seep into his political consciousness.

For the left-wing Meretz, however, there may be some good news on the horizon. With polls showing the party nearing double digits for the first time in the twenty-first century, it was unsurprising to learn that MK Tamar Zandberg, the candidate widely expected to succeed Zehava Gal-On as leader of the party, was strongly in favor of an early vote.

It remains impossible to predict the behavior of parties in a future election, let alone one involving a polarizing prime minister who it seems will be indicted for committing serious abuses of power while in office, mainly to influence media coverage of him and his family. Yet the fierce opposition to an early election by Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked of Bayit Yehudi, while certainly motivated by a rational inclination toward self-preservation, also signaled that right-wing competitors to Likud may not let Netanyahu off easy in an election campaign. It’s important not to forget that Roni Alsheikh, the police commissioner whom Netanyahu has viciously attacked on social media in recent weeks, is a religious Zionist who grew up in Kiryat Arba and learned Torah at Yeshiva Mercaz HaRav Kook. Will religious Zionist voters, still the core of Bayit Yehudi, fall for the revolting spin emanating from Balfour Street designed to line up hardcore Likudniks who would never consider voting for anyone else?

When we consider the non-religious and non-Likud right, Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beteinu stands at the edge of electoral oblivion. Although Lieberman is hardly the emblem of good governance in Israel, having gone through a corruption trial himself, he does benefit from his experience in one crucial respect: he stepped aside as foreign minister during his own trial, which demonstrated a laudable understanding that he could not be a defendant and a diplomat at the same time. Why, he may well ask, should an exception be made for Netanyahu? Perhaps Netanyahu finally got his comeuppance for “cannibalizing” smaller right-wing parties in the 2015 election; they defiantly vetoed an election on the Likud leader’s personal terms.

As for the ultra-Orthodox parties: UTJ, and specifically the leader of its Hasidic wing, MK Yaakov Litzman, has lost credibility. Speaking after the crisis was resolved, Lieberman said of UTJ: “They threatened, but their gun wasn’t loaded.” Shas, the Sephardic Orthodox party headed by Interior Minister Aryeh Deri, shockingly did not support new elections in which there was a solid chance they wouldn’t cross the electoral threshold.

If the opposition remains divided and right-wing alternatives to Likud begin highlighting Netanyahu’s personal flaws, the right bloc will probably still come out ahead. Despite Gabbay’s outreach efforts to Arab communities, the problem presented by a 12-13 seat Joint List unable to join an alternative coalition ensures that a center-left victory must be either overwhelming or heavily compromised

. However, where such an outcome was a good bet for June or even October, it will be anything but at a later date. If Netanyahu is indicted, and it would be remarkable if he is not, there will be no avoiding what will be a most turbulent election, one which will pose a considerable challenge to the great myth of Israel’s “teflon man.”

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