Ambassador Danny Danon: Netanyahu’s Party Will Be Largest, but Coalition Task Looms

Benjamin Netanyahu votes (Ronen Zvulun / AFP / Getty)
Ronen Zvulun / AFP / Getty

Former Israeli U.N. Ambassador Danny Danon told Breitbart News Daily that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party is likely to win Tuesday’s election, though he will then have to face the task of forming a governing coalition.

“The Likud Party … will be the largest party by far,” Danon told Breitbart News Editor in Chief Alex Marlow. He was also optimistic about Netanyahu’s chance of forming a governing coalition: “I think he will be able; it will be a very slim one.”

There has never been a single majority party in Israel’s 120-member Knesset; Israeli governments are thus formed through coalitions among parties. The instability of Israel’s system has led to four elections being held in the past two years alone.

Following the election, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin will invite one of the party leaders to form a government — typically, the largest party. Netanyahu will then attempt to unite conservative parties into a coalition that forms a 61-seat majority.

However, if he fails, an anti-Netanyahu bloc of parties could have a chance to form a coalition government. Polls suggest the potential anti-Netanyahu coalition of parties will fall short of a majority. A right-wing party, Yamina, could play kingmaker; its leader, businessman (and former Netanyahu aide) Naftali Bennett, has not yet committed to joining either side of the aisle.

Danon spoke as Israelis were going to the polls — literally, as absentee voting is limited to soldiers and diplomats, and even coronavirus patients in hospitals are expected to vote in person in special polling places after presenting their identification.

“Despite COVID, despite the restrictions, people are voting, and we count the votes on the spot,” Danon observed.

He cautioned the Biden administration against moving too aggressively to restore relations with the Palestinian Authority, after the Trump administration cut off funding and other support due to the Palestinians’ support for terror and their pursuit of a case against Israel at the International Criminal Court.

“[The] way to achieve peace in the Middle East” is through facilitation of partnership with regional state allies, not direct endorsement of Palestinian claims, Danon advised. He said that the Palestinians should negotiate directly with Israel, not attempt to use the UN in “diplomatic terrorism.”

Danon is the chair of World Likud, an organization that builds support for the party abroad. He was once a Netanyahu rival.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His new novel, Joubert Park, tells the story of a Jewish family in South Africa at the dawn of the apartheid era. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, recounts the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

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