Israel Election 2015: Likud is Now a Lock

Jeremy’s Knesset Insider informs that not just Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beitenu but the two major religious parties, Shas and United Torah Judaism, have ruled out joining a coalition led by Zionist Union and excluding Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud. This news takes a Zionist Union-led coalition from a highly unlikely outcome to impossible.

Additionally, the polls indicate that Likud is up 1 seat and Zionist Union down 1 or 2 seats in the polls, though the shift between the various major camps of Israeli politics is smaller. Unlike last week, Likud is the largest party, increasing its claim on government.

The question now is whether Netanyahu will choose a right-wing religious-nationalist coalition or a more centrist coalition with Zionist Union. The current seat math renders either possible. While the right-wing coalition is likely a more natural fit for today’s Likud, there are also real advantages for Netanyahu in the centrist coalition, as I outlined previously.