New York: Benjamin Netanyahu, with his decisive victory in the just concluded general elections in Israel has proved the pollsters wrong.
Political analysts and poll watchers had started projecting the possibility of a post-election scenario and there were speculations about a a new ruling coalition of smaller parties led by Zionist camp leader Isaac Herzog. But Herzog has been defeated convincingly and Netanyahu yesterday, soon after results came in and his Likud Party emerged victorious, initiated steps and is in dialogue with Naftali Bennett, the hardline Jewish Home Party leader to give shape to the new right wing ruling contraption. While Netanyahu is on the course to forming a new Israeli coalition of right wing nationalist religious parties and led by his Likud, his rival Herzog has ruled out a coalition of unity.
Israeli President Reuven Rivlin will begin meeting with party representatives on Sunday, March 22, to ask the party heads for recommendations as to who they prefer as prime minister. He will assign the task of forming the next government to the Knesset member considered to have the best chance of forming a viable coalition.
Netanyahu’s reaction on his victory was that he is thrilled and a huge responsibility now rests on his shoulders.
Prior to the elections, Netanyahu had taken a hardline stand against the US steps for a Nuclear deal to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons by taking the stand that such an agreement would only guarantee the opposite. Even the US stand in favour of a “two nation solution” goes against Netanyahu’s pre-election comment that if he is reelected, he will not allow there to become a Palestinian State.
US President Barack Obama has been at odds with Netanyahu due to their divergent policies. The Obama administration, obviously saw the writing on the wall and in order to maintain a working relationship with Israel in the post-poll scenario, the White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said on the eve of announcements of results in Israel that President Obama remains committed to working very closely with the winner of the ongoing elections to cement and further deepen the strong relationship between the United States and Israel. And the President is confident that he can do that with whomever the Israeli people choose
At his press briefing on Tuesday, when his attention was drawn to the Israeli elections and asked does the President (Obama) believe that he can repair his relationship with Benjamin Netanyahu if he is to remain the Prime Minister there, the White House Spokesperson said that Obama has no doubt that the strong ties between the United States and Israel will endure far beyond this election. And that has been true for generations now, that the U.S.-Israel relationship is not one that has been subject historically to partisanship and not one that has been subject to intense, partisan political debate. But rather, because of our deep cultural ties, because of the deep ties between our people, because of our shared interests when it comes to national security in the Middle East, that the strong relationship between the United States and Israel will endure far beyond this upcoming election, or the election that’s being held today.