Jan. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Only in Israel can a politician lose
by winning. It seems, as I write this, that Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu’s ticket -- his Likud party, plus Avigdor
Lieberman’s Yisrael Beitenu -- will have won about 31 Knesset
seats in today’s election, which would put it comfortably ahead
of its nearest competitor.
But the results, if early exit polls are to be believed,
mean that Netanyahu is no longer King of Israel. He lost votes
to his right, to the pro-settlement Jewish Home party of Naftali
Bennett, and he lost centrist voters (those who wish for, among
other things, a two-state solution with the Palestinians,
without quite believing it is possible) to the Yesh Atid party
of the former television broadcaster Yair Lapid, who is the real
story of this campaign.