As a lesson about the importance of turnout, voter turnout yesterday in Israel was slightly up at 71%, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appears on track to win 59 seats, leaving his party two seats short of a majority in the Knesset. That total could rise when the votes of soldiers are counted, but Netanyahu still considers it a major victory. He plans to quickly form a strong nationalist coalition government with other conservative parties.
Full disclosure: Netanyahu is a friend, and I admire him greatly, not only as a great leader of Israel but as a great world leader. I was in Israel just last week, where I gave a speech on his behalf and he graciously thanked me for being such a longtime friend of Israel. I’ve watched in dismay over the past year or so as leftwing opponents who couldn’t beat him at the ballot box have attacked his character and his family and tried to defeat him with politicized charges and investigations (sound familiar?) I congratulate the voters of Israel for seeing through these tactics and making the right choice, for their own security and the security of the entire Middle East.