The marriage of convenience in May between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s five-party right-wing coalition government and the centrist Kadima party – described by one rival as “the most contemptible and preposterous zigzag in Israel’s political history” – which boosted the government’s majority in the 120-seat Knesset to an unprecedented 94, ended in mid-July with a divorce over the issue of conscription.

That still left Mr Netanyahu with a healthy and ideologically cohesive parliamentary majority of 66, but the prime minister evidently feels he can do better, since on 9 October he announced that “in the face of the turmoil around us, security and economic…I have decided for the benefit of Israel to hold elections now” (i.e. in January or February rather than in October, as originally scheduled). Mr Netanyahu’s motives were presum (CONTINUED - 243 WORDS)