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  • Writer's pictureAvi Abraham Benlolo

Advisory: Israel Election Update

03/24/21: With some 450,000 absentee votes yet to be counted, Israeli political leaders are once again entering a stalemate. Once again, the election results are not decisive and part of the problem is a voter turnout as low as 34.6%.

Prime Minister Netanyahu's Likud Party has taken the lead with 30 seats to date. He needs 61 seats for a mandate to govern. This will require him to align or form a coalition with mainly religious parties - all of whom demand budget allocations and will influence peace negotiations and possibly foreign relations.

Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid, the second largest party has garnered 18 seats. It's unlikely it could form a government comprising a secular block and made up of parties like Labor, Blue and White, New Hope and Yisrael Beytenu. There is just too much division and animosity between the parties.

An Islamist party called Ra'am has emerged with about 4/5 possible seats. Its agenda is unclear however it's described it represents the Southern Branch of the Islamic movement. Some have speculated that Netanyahu would have to invite Ra'am to join his coalition in order to form a government. This is unlikely to be well received by his coalition partners or the Likud for that matter.

The next few days and possibly weeks will be contentious as Netanyahu tries to cobble together a coalition. Some are speculating that Israel may have to go into a fifth election, and the political situation is becoming untenable with too many parties. Many have argued that it's clear that Netanyahu has been given a mandate and therefore he should be allowed to govern.

Ultimately, Netanyahu will cobble together a coalition of partners. But either way, its no surprise that Israel's President Reuven Rivlin expressed his concern and worry for the future of Israel.

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Avi Abraham Benlolo has been described as the nation's most prominent and noted expert in Holocaust studies, in countering Antisemitism and promoting human rights. He has dedicated nearly three decades in executive capacities in the Jewish community and as a leading voice in Canada. His academic research, graduate degree and nearly three decades of professional work has focused on these arenas in addition to peace and security in the Middle East. He has published hundreds of articles in these areas. In recognition of his national and international leadership in this area, he has received numerous awards including an Honorary Doctorate from a prestigious Israeli university for his work in Holocaust studies and combating antisemitism; an Order of Vaughan for his distinguished contribution to anti-racism, equity and diversity; the Queens Diamond Jubilee Award for his contributions to Canada and a race relations award for best practice, based on distinguished service in promoting human rights.

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