A member of Likud's campaign staff warns that it is far from certain that Binyamin Netanyahu will form the next government, because Labor under Yitzhak Herzog may enlist the support of the united Arab party to form an anti-Netanyahu bloc and then give external support to a left wing minority coalition.
The staffer, Erez Tadmor, explained on his Facebook page that according to a recent poll, Labor, Meretz, Yesh Atid and Kulanu, together with the Arab party, would have a majority of 61 seats.
While the Arab party has vowed not to be a part of the coalition, it could offer the coalition an external “security net” and Labor could form a minority government, wrote Tadmor. Labor under Yitzhak Rabin governed Israel in this way for two years, after Shas bolted the coalition in September of 1993. The coalition did not have a majority, but enjoyed the support of the Arab parties. The cataclysmic Oslo deals were signed during this time.
However, Jewish Home English Forum Chairman Jeremy Saltan, who is also a polling expert, denies that this is a real possibility and states confidently that external support by the Arabs will not enable Herzog to assemble a coalition of 61 MKs – and that no matter what happens, the Arabs will not join the coalition.
The Israeli political system does not favor minority governments but tolerates them ex post facto when they occur. To date, no minority government was formed in the immediate aftermath of elections. Rather – as occurred in 1993 – the government initially had a 61+ seat majority, and lost it later because a member party left the coalition.
Tadmor's warning serves Likud because he argues that since there is a real danger that Herzog will form the coalition, nationalists must vote for Netanyahu and try to make his party as big as possible, so that the president summons Netanyahu to form a coalition following the elections, and not Herzog. Once Netanyahu is tasked with forming a government coalition, it is very likely that he will succeed in pulling in center party Kulanu, and possibly Yesh Atid as well.
Saltan's argument serves Jewish Home because, assuming he is right, it does not matter so much if Netanyahu's party is smaller than Herzog's – as long as the nationalist-rightist bloc has potential for a government of over 61 seats and Labor does not. In this case, voting for Jewish Home does not make it more likely that Labor will form a coalition, because even if Labor winds up with more MKs than Likud, it will not be able to form a government.