Israelis look like they will go to the polls again in the new year, for the third time since April, as neither Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party nor Benny Gantz’ Blue & White appear likely to secure a majority 61 seats in the 120 seat Knesset following elections last week (MEES, 20 September). Although Blue & White won 33 seats and Likud 32 seats, it is Mr Netanyahu who has been mandated by Israeli President Reuven Rivlin to try to form a government.

The PM’s right-wing bloc, along with the Shas, UTJ and Yamina parties make up 55 seats while Mr Gantz was only able to garner 54 seats. Mr Rivlin has thus decided to give Mr Netanyahu the mandate to form the government. He now has 28 days (with a possible 14 days extension) to try and gain those elusive six seats but it looks extremely unlikely. As it does also for Mr Gantz to gain the seven seats he requires if he is given the opportunity. (CONTINUED - 244 WORDS)