Yes, Bibi won, and yes, the media has egg on its collective face.
All those scary, scary stories about how Israel was turning to the extreme right, and who wins the second biggest number of seats? A center-left, secular party. Barry Rubin has the go-to analysis.
The main story of the election was supposed to be the rise of the far right Ha-Bayit ha-Yahudi Party. In fact, though, it received only about 10 percent of the vote which is usual for that sector. In comparison, about one-third went to liberal or moderate left parties, and about one-quarter to centrist parties.
According to the final vote count Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud-Beitaynu list received 31 of 120 seats. The Labor Party made some comeback with 15 but came in third. Labor’s hope that its showing would make Israel a mainly two-party system clearly failed.’
The real news of the election is the vast centrism of Israeli voters. The big winner was Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid with 19 that became the second largest party, while Tsipi Livni’s party, Hatnua, obtained 6. The appeal of Lapid and Livni are precisely that nobody really knows what they stand for but it is certainly nothing to either extreme. Kadima received 2 and former army chief of staff Shaul Mufaz will be highly motivated to go into a coalition.
In other words, 27 seats went to vaguely reformist somewhat centrist or mildly liberal parties that don’t have any clear or strong stands except to promise better government.
Read it all.