Opinion: With Yamina barely teetering above the electoral threshold, an unsuccessful Knesset run could see Shaked dash Netanyahu’s hopes of retaking power for good, and he is going to do everything in his power to prevent that from happening

The biggest unresolved question in Israel’s upcoming fifth election in just over three and a half years is Ayelet Shaked, who was left holding the remnants of Yamina after Naftali Bennett’s departure with no semblance of a party, with mounting financial debts and no voters.

Yamina’s right-leaning constituency is upset while other potential voters have more appealing alternatives. The million-dollar question is what would happen if she decides to run anyway and fails to make it past the electoral threshold.

שקד ונתניהו במליאת הכנסת
Benjamin Netanyahu and Ayelet Shaked (Photo: Alex Kolomoisky)


Other options are much simpler. Should she decide not to run, she could rejoin Likud after more than a decade and wait for the next elections to run for office. No one would even notice.

The remaining Yamina voters would split between the Religious Zionist Party, Likud, New Hope, Yisrael Beitenu and maybe Blue & White. Would it be enough to allow Benjamin Netanyahu’s bloc to cross the 60-seat glass ceiling it has failed to break through time and again? Highly unlikely.

Should Shaked decide to run and ends up making it into the next Knesset, she will hand Netanyahu the coveted majority and the levers of power with it on a silver platter. She said so herself.

But what would happen if she decides to run and fails to scale past the voter threshold? This is undoubtedly Netanyahu’s worst nightmare.

Ayelet Shaked and Benjamin Netanyahu
Ayelet Shaked and Benjamin Netanyahu (Photo: Yoav Dudkevitch, Dana Kopel)


In such a scenario, he is the biggest loser since it will most likely leave his bloc just shy of 60 seats, and so he will do everything in his power to find his former aide a place in Likud or any other scheme that would ensure she is part of the next Knesset without running independently.

Ballots that go to parties that fail to pass the electoral threshold are simply not counted and effectively go down the drain. This is something Netanyahu wants to avoid at any cost – tens of thousands of potential votes going to waste and him missing out on the opportunity to retake the premiership, maybe for good this time.

Shaked has supporters in Likud, but also powerful interest groups that oppose her homecoming. Netanyahu has ways to square this circle, as he had demonstrated many times in the past.

One opposition the Likud chairman is going to have a hard time quelling comes from within his own household. But who knows, maybe the hope of regaining power can help blunt the animosity between Shaked and her erstwhile boss’s family so they can bring about this forced, but necessary cooperation.

As reported by Ynetnews