On Wednesday night, official results of the Israeli elections for 120 seats in the Israeli Knesset were announced.

According to Israeli law, the president of Israel receives the results of the elections and then bestows the job of prime minister on the party leader that would be most likely to gain the confidence of 61 members of the Knesset.

On Thursday morning, it became clear that Benjamin Netanyahu, head of the Likud Party, had won the confidence of at least 65 members of the new Knesset. This came after Avigdor Lieberman, the head of the Israel Beitenu party, told Israeli President Shimon Peres his party’s 15 seats, won in the elections, would provide Mr. Netanyahu with at least 65 members of the Knesset backing him.

Mr. Netanyahu’s Likud-led government will comprise six diverse political parties.

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Likud won only 27 seats, one seat less than Kadima, which heads the current Israeli government.

Kadima, a young political party, was founded by former Likud leader Ariel Sharon, in November 2005. However, Mr. Sharon fell into a coma in January 2006 and has been hospitalized ever since, existing on life support machines and remaining unconscious.

Mr. Sharon was succeeded by his then-finance minister Ehud Olmert, who was elected with 29 seats in March 2006, after which he joined forces with four other political parties to form a government.

Mr. Olmert announced his resignation on July 31 2008. This came after the Israel State Attorney said enough evidence existed to indict Mr. Olmert for embezzling funds from American philanthropies and for receiving cash payments from an American businessman who sought Mr. Olmert’s help advancing his business interests. Mr. Olmert remains under investigation by the Israeli police fraud squad in 10 other matters of financial improprieties, leaving a legacy of corruption behind him and a crisis of public confidence in the government of Israel.

Jay Bushinsky, KYW’s Middle East correspondent, said “we will have to wait and see Mr. Peres does. He may still try to create a coalition government between Likud and Kadima.”

David Bedein can be reached at dbedein@israelbehindthenews.com

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David Bedein is an MSW community organizer and an investigative journalist.   In 1987, Bedein established the Israel Resource News Agency at Beit Agron to accompany foreign journalists in their coverage of Israel, to balance the media lobbies established by the PLO and their allies.   Mr. Bedein has reported for news outlets such as CNN Radio, Makor Rishon, Philadelphia Inquirer, Los Angeles Times, BBC and The Jerusalem Post, For four years, Mr. Bedein acted as the Middle East correspondent for The Philadelphia Bulletin, writing 1,062 articles until the newspaper ceased operation in 2010. Bedein has covered breaking Middle East negotiations in Oslo, Ottawa, Shepherdstown, The Wye Plantation, Annapolis, Geneva, Nicosia, Washington, D.C., London, Bonn, and Vienna. Bedein has overseen investigative studies of the Palestinian Authority, the Expulsion Process from Gush Katif and Samaria, The Peres Center for Peace, Peace Now, The International Center for Economic Cooperation of Yossi Beilin, the ISM, Adalah, and the New Israel Fund.   Since 2005, Bedein has also served as Director of the Center for Near East Policy Research.   A focus of the center's investigations is The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA). In that context, Bedein authored Roadblock to Peace: How the UN Perpetuates the Arab-Israeli Conflict - UNRWA Policies Reconsidered, which caps Bedein's 28 years of investigations of UNRWA. The Center for Near East Policy Research has been instrumental in reaching elected officials, decision makers and journalists, commissioning studies, reports, news stories and films. In 2009, the center began decided to produce short movies, in addition to monographs, to film every aspect of UNRWA education in a clear and cogent fashion.   The center has so far produced seven short documentary pieces n UNRWA which have received international acclaim and recognition, showing how which UNRWA promotes anti-Semitism and incitement to violence in their education'   In sum, Bedein has pioneered The UNRWA Reform Initiative, a strategy which calls for donor nations to insist on reasonable reforms of UNRWA. Bedein and his team of experts provide timely briefings to members to legislative bodies world wide, bringing the results of his investigations to donor nations, while demanding reforms based on transparency, refugee resettlement and the demand that terrorists be removed from the UNRWA schools and UNRWA payroll.   Bedein's work can be found at: www.IsraelBehindTheNews.com and www.cfnepr.com. A new site,unrwa-monitor.com, will be launched very soon.


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