TEL AVIV — The announcement of the Israeli governing coalition’s collapse and the preparations for a fifth election in less than four years was met with exasperation by many Israelis.
But the news came as a resounding victory for Benjamin Netanyahu, who, over the past year as the head of the opposition, has been preparing for his own comeback.
It is not immediately clear how that would happen, however, since polls show that most Israelis will continue to vote the way they have in the past few elections, producing a polarized, deadlocked Knesset and fragile coalition governments.
Netanyahu, who led Israel for much of the past 20 years, seems to be betting on breaking the political stalemate by galvanizing his right-wing base and painting his opponents as a threat to society.
“A government that depended on terror supporters, which abandoned the personal security of the citizens of Israel, that raised the cost of living to unheard-of heights, that imposed unnecessary taxes, that endangered our Jewish entity.
This government is going home,” Netanyahu said Monday in a video posted on Twitter. “My friends and I will form a government … that, above all, will return the national pride to the citizens of Israel.”
The coalition’s collapse is in large part the result of Netanyahu’s efforts to encourage coalition members uncomfortable with its ideological diversity to jump ship.
“From Day One, Netanyahu sought to take down the government, and focused on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the issues related to the Arabs in Israel,” said Dahlia Scheindlin, a political analyst. “It was low-hanging fruit.”