The final results of the Knesset elections now enable a balanced and realistic assessment of the new political situation in Israel.

It was impossible to build the bloc of 61 seats in the Knesset to prevent Netanyahu from obtaining majority coalition, because the Orthodox parties (Haredim) won three more seats compared to the previous Knesset, and the Arab parties lost three seats. The center-left parties went from 40 to 45, while the far right parties had 14 seats, now only 10.

But Netanyahu’s achievement is not only the high number of seats he won. No party defied his basic concept that Israeli settlements in the West Bank are vital to Israel’s security. He succeeded in turning the word “leftist” into a synonym to “traitor.” and no one really protested. He succeeded in delegitimizing the participation of Israel’s Arab citizens in the democratic process. The nation-state law was a blunt manifestation of his policy of exclusion and discrimination.

The center-left parties can’t evade one conclusion of these elections: there is no majority bloc without the Arabs voters; there is no coalition without the Haredim.

If these parties are seriously intending to oust Netanyahu from power in the next elections, they have to change their attitude now towards these two communities. What remarkably reduced the Arab turn-out in ballots was the lack of chance to share power and be partners in government in a way that can improve their economic and social position. A distinction should be made between supporting the creation of a Palestinian state, living side by side with Israel in a two-state Solution and rejection of the existence of a Jewish state. That is why it is not justified to prevent Arab parties that are not against the state of Israel, and are interested in  the Israeli society from participating in the ruling coalition or supporting it in the Knesset.

Those who want to prevent in the next Knesset another far-right government, should send a clear message to the Israeli Arabs that they are not outside the democratic game, and that they can participate in government ministries, not only as mid-level employees.

The Orthodox parties do not necessarily have to be part of the right-wing camp. But the Orthodox parties will remain members of this camp if the center-left continue to disparage them and show them disdain. The Orthodox community is largely poor, and economic policy based on social justice can substantially improve that situation. This will also require efforts to improve Haredi participation in Israeli society, with a focus on becoming more productive, to join the working part of the population, and to not only be consumers of government services.

A new formula of coexistence between different cultures, secular one and Orthodox one, should be created, if new political alliance is built. But this formula should be based on a genuine mutual respect.

Those who want to replace the right-wing government next time should not only change their attitude towards Israeli Arabs and Haredim. A change must take place inside the parties themselves.

The Labor Party should entirely return to its historic ideology. It is useless to do this only just before elections to call home its traditional voters. One who wants to obtain the electoral results of late Itzhak Rabin (44 seats) has to revive the identiTY Rabin gave to Labor: a social-democratic party, national security minded, seeking peace with neighbors. A Zionist left party that can serve a political home to many Israelis.

The Kachol Lavan party had an impressive achievement in last elections. But in the opposition it faces a danger of fragmentation. It happened in the past to successful centrist parties. If Kachol Lavan call open election of its institutions,  including primaries for the next Knesset list, then it may become the Democratic Party of Israel. Israelis already have a Republican Party. The challenge is to replace it in power.