On September 17, Israeli elections were held for a second time, as a result of the inconclusive elections last April. Prime Minister Netenyahu is the representative of the Likud Party. In April, he was just one seat away from forming a government coalition, but now, he is further than ever from his goal, given the divisive campaign he has led in the last few months. In addition, he has recently been facing allegations of corruption, including having accepted gifts from the wealthy and using them to obtain better press coverage. He, however, has denied any wrongdoing, despite the heavy evidence that has been presented against him.
Netanyahu’s main opponent, Benny Gantz from the Blue and White Party, seems to be better positioned to form a government coalition to lead the country at the moment. Regardless, Gantz is still struggling to attain the required 61 out of 120 seats in the Knesset, which he needs in order to control the majority. Netanyahu is currently trying to gather with smaller political parties in order to to gain the majority, but isn’t having much luck in doing so. Junior Tanya Almog states that, “It doesn’t seem like Netanyahu will continue to be Israel’s leader based on his failed attempts to form a larger party, and because of his recent corruption scandal.” Junior Jenna Liberman adds, “Netayahu’s recent corruption charges seem only to be working against him. The people have lost trust in his leadership and are looking for a new face for their country.
Israel finds itself facing unprecedented uncertainty. Orly Shapiro, a Junior at Scheck Hillel, describes it as being “a difficult and tense situation.” For now, everything seems to be under control, as the economy is performing well, and the higher ranks of the defense forces operate mostly independently from the government. Nevertheless, the political tension lives on. The political divide between neighbors strengthens with every passing day, creating unrest, distrust, and chaos throughout Israel. Everyone has different opinions and there is no clear end in sight to this political dilemma, only adding to the already long list of problems Israel faces everyday. Lior Ovadia, a 7th grader at Scheck Hillel, states that, “It’s complicated because the Arabs have gained a lot of power, which is concerning for the Jews. And, there is no clear solution to this political problem. No one really knows what will happen.” Politics are never black and white. No matter where in the world, elections cause distress and worry, and Israel is not an exception.
“These elections have only sparked more chaos and confusion in the lives of Israeli civilians. After Netanyahu’s recent corruption allegations, his leadership is at stake, for he has lost the trust of his people, and I don’t think that trust can ever be fully rebuilt,” says Junior Anna Freiman. “For now, it seems as if Gantz will be Israel’s new Prime Minister, but, in truth, politics is a confusing game, and there’s no way of knowing for sure.” The political system in Israel is very different from the one in the United States. It has been an ongoingly long and tedious process. Netanyahu doesn’t seem to be giving up, though. “Who knows,” Freiman continues, “If he loses these upcoming elections, he might end up behind bars.”
Will Netenyahu be able to convince smaller blocks to join him before he is indicted on corruption charges? Will he decide to negotiate immunity in exchange for his resignation? Will Benny Gantz be able to convince some moderates on the right to join him, and thus fracture the Likud party? Hopefully, the next few weeks will provide the answers to the array of questions that have been plaguing Israeli politics. Only time can truly tell us how this story will unfold.