On Wednesday morning, I spoke with Pat Kenny of Dublin NewsTalk for 15 minutes about the significance of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s victory in Knesset elections means not only within Israel but in the international arena.
1. The surprise margin of the win for Netanyahu’s Likud Party is a short-term boost within Israel, given the divided opinion over the Prime Minister on economic and political issues as well as his approach to international issues.
2. Paradoxically, the next Netanyahu coalition is likely to put Israel in a worse position abroad, with the Prime Minister struggling to get support. He is unlikely to shake the nuclear talks with Iran if they near an agreement, and he may have put himself in a corner with last week’s declaration that he will never accept a Palestinian state.
3. Difficult relations between the Netanyahu Government and the Obama Administration is a given. What is more interesting is that concern among Israeli military and intelligence communities over the US-Israel relationship may lead into continued attempts to challenge the Prime Minister’s position.
4. For all the headlines about Iran and Palestine, in the end Netanyahu may face the music — possibly soon — over the domestic issues that motivated many Israeli voters, such as the rising cost of living and the shortage of affordable housing.