Everyone is congratulating Bibi Netanyahu on his victory in the recent Israeli elections. President Biden called him, and the world is getting ready for another term of Netanyahu as Prime Minister. There’s only one problem: Contrary to what everyone is saying and everything you are reading, Bibi did not win these elections! Think I’m crazy? (Don’t answer that!) Allow me to explain.
This latest round of elections was called “Round Five” since it was the fifth election in the last two years. “Round One” was when Bibi lost – the first time – since he could not put together a coalition. In those elections, Likud received 35 seats in the Knesset. In “Round Two,” Bibi’s Likud party managed just 32 seats – a big failure. Then, in “Round Three,” he won 36 seats but was still considered a loser since he could not build a coalition. “Round Four” was Bibi’s worst showing ever, with Likud managing just 30 seats. It was at this time that the crazy deal was made between Bennett, Lapid, Gantz, Liberman, and the Arabs to form a coalition that lasted less than two years.
Then came “Round Five” – elections once again! – and Bibi led Likud to an amazing victory! Everyone is praising him, applauding his resilience and happy for his incredible achievement. How many seats did Likud win in this amazing victory? Well, if Bibi lost with 32, 35, and even 36, Likud must have won at least 40 seats in these elections. Right?? Wrong! “Round Five” – the elections where Bibi was declared the winner – had the Likud winning just 32 seats. You read that correctly: Bibi and Likud were declared the winner with just 32 seats. But wait! They received 32 seats in “Round Two” and lost – and 35 in “Round One” and lost – and 36 in “Round Three” and still lost. So how can 32 seats win in “Round Five”??
The answer to that question is simple. Bibi did not win. The reason – the only reason – why Bibi has been declared winner is because he stands the best chance to build a coalition of at least 61 Knesset members. But that’s not because of him. It’s because of the real – and only – winner in these elections: Itamar Ben-Gvir. Like him, love him, or hate him – it really doesn’t matter. His party ran with Betzalel Smotrich, and they went from six seats in the last Knesset to 14 in the present one. Those eight seats – every one of them – are due to Ben-Gvir; and those eight seats are the reason why Bibi is in the driver’s seat to form a coalition.
Without Ben-Gvir’s additional eight seats, Bibi’s 32 would have been another dreadful loss. Political experts would have told him to throw in the towel and make room for a new Chairman of Likud. He would have been forced out of politics with people remembering his five consecutive losses. Instead, those same 32 seats – less than what he received in “Rounds One and Three” – have made him the comeback king. Yes, it’s silly, absurd, and downright ridiculous, but that’s the 100 percent truth. The words written above are not my opinion or assessment of the situation; they are an undisputable fact. Bibi did not win the election, yet he will probably become the next Prime Minister – because of the Knesset’s “bad boy” – Itamar Ben-Gvir.
So, what will be Ben-Gvir’s reward? What will Bibi do for him, since his votes make Bibi the Prime Minister? The answer to that is not what you think. It has been my prediction all along that Netanyahu will turn the Knesset upside down just to leave Ben-Gvir out of the coalition. He will split Smotrich away from Ben-Gvir and figure out a way to bring Gantz into the government. When I wrote, and published this, two weeks before the elections, people said I was crazy, but I stand by that prediction (and yes, I’m crazy). I spoke to Ben-Gvir about this directly, and I told him that if this comes to fruition, it will be the best thing that ever happened to him. Ben-Gvir’s support in this recent election came from people who were angry and fed up, and if their Number One choice is ignored, he can guarantee that his popularity will grow tremendously. Bibi may think that he can do whatever he wishes, but a coalition that doesn’t include Ben-Gvir will last even less time than the disastrous Bennett-Lapid fiasco.
You think Qatar hosting the World Cup is exciting? That’s nothing compared to watching a loser think he’s a winner by leaving the real winner out of the game. And this excitement…you can enjoy with a cold beer!
Just remember that, whatever happens, Am Yisrael Chai!