Bibi's last-minute maneuver that won the election
Ted Belman offers a very solid analysis of the election that returned Benjamin Netanyahu to power. But Bibi did one other thing that may have been more important than his three "nos" in the last few days. He appealed to the right-wing parties to vote Likud rather than for the smaller parties, since this was the only way Bibi would get the first shot at forming a government. The same number of seats for the right0wing parties, but with Bibi a few seats behind Herzog and Labor, might have given Hezog a first shot at forming a government. Herzog could have then tried to bribe a few right-wing parties, as well as Kulanu, to sign up to create a majority of more than 61 – though it would have been very unstable.
Bibi’s clear victory as the first party – 29 to Herzog’s 24 – is as important as the total for the right-leaning parties. President Rivlin might also have pushed for a unity government had Herzog won the most seats, but the right won the larger block of seats.