With 99% of the polling places in, the Israeli Knesset elections have gone very well, in this writer's opinion.
In fact, it is hard to see how it gets much better than this:
The Right did well, though not as well as had been predicted a week ago. While it is a bit early to congratulate Bibi, it looks like he will form the next coalition, and, with any luck, he will form a narrow right wing government with the religious parties and the ultra-right parties. He could have a bit more flexibility with Kadima as a junior partner – after all, Kadima really is the moderate wing of Likud. Kadima got more votes, but I don't see how Livni can make a coalition. So whatever happens, it looks like Bibi is on top. As one who endorsed him in November here, I can only say, "Woo hoo!"
The Arab parties will have one more seat than in the previous Knesset. Hadash increased its number of seats from 3 to 4 and gained more seats than Balad; Ra'm Ta'l also has 4. This may shift – when I wrote this paragraph five minutes ago, Ra'm Ta'l had 5, but lost a seat to Yisrael Beitinu.
It appears that Hadash took Jewish voters from Meretz, which received only 3 seats, less than Hadash's 4. In Jerusalem, which means really in West Jerusalem, Hadash had 1% and Meretz 3%.[Added on Saturday, Feb. 15: Eyal Niv, of the indispensable "Truth from Eretz Yisrael" blog, figures that Hadash picked up around 10,000 new Jewish votes this time. Let's hope that figure grows. See here]
The Left camp – the so-called "Zionist Left" and "Center-Left" -- will go into Opposition. I am, quite frankly, happy that the electorate punished Meretz for its failures. It is time for "heshbon nefesh"; and Haim Oron, in my opinion, should be the first to reach personal conclusions and resign.
But the failure of the Zionist Left goes much deeper than that. I don't see how it can recover in the current circumstances. Which means that people who don't want to go the way of Kadima and to the Right will have to rethink some fundamental assumptions about Zionism and the State of Israel.
Like the assumption that says that the problems started with 1967 and not with 1948, or even earlier.
With a rightwing government, the case against Israel as a pariah state will be easier to make, and the international isolation of Israel can proceed apace. If the one result of the election is that the so-called "peace process" is put to pasture, then I say, "Dayyenu"!