While incumbents around the world are struggling to hold on, one is thriving. By bringing the rival Kadima party into his ruling coalition, Benjamin Netanyahu has become “king of Israel,” in Aaron David Miller’s phrase. He has an unusual, perhaps unique, opportunity to use his new power to secure Israel’s future.
Netanyahu’s coalition now commands the largest parliamentary majority in Israeli history. He faces no plausible rival as prime minister. When pushed on the Palestinian issue, Netanyahu has often cited the constraints of his coalition to explain why he had not taken bolder steps toward resolution. Perhaps he liked being constrained: He refused to form a national unity government in 1996 (with Shimon Peres) and refused again in 2009 (with Tzipi Livni). But now he has a broad enough base of support — with many moderates — and could move toward a peace settlement without endangering his hold on power.