The Israeli elections are now history, and while the final formation of a new government is yet to occur, it seems certain that Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, has won a fifth term of office and will form the next governing coalition. Returns indicate that the rightist parties that typically back Netanyahu’s Likud party have won 65 seats in the Israeli Knesset and the left-leaning and Arab parties have won 55 seats (first link and second link). The fact that Netanyahu won re-election despite alleged scandals and possible indictments indicates that the Israeli people have strong confidence in his decision-making abilities and leadership. Security issues were very important in the election, and Netanyahu excels on that issue.
For Americans, it is sometimes difficult to understand how parliamentary elections work. Instead of voting for a specific candidate who is the nominee of a political party (as in the USA), voters cast ballots for a political party, and the winning party often has to ally itself with smaller but closely-aligned parties to form a majority governing coalition. In Israel’s election, one media source I saw said there were over 40 political parties on the ballot, but only those obtaining a certain threshold of the overall vote percentage can be represented in the next Knesset. The third link has a very good chart indicating each of the parties that will be represented in the next Knesset and how many seats they will each have. The final results of this recent election will have a result very similar to the last Knesset’s result. The third link also mentions a factor that seems to be increasingly present in recent national elections in Israel, the USA, the UK, and other locations. The initial exit polls proved to be unreliable. In the Israeli election, Netanyahu’s opponent, Benny Gantz of the new Blue-White party, was initially reported to be the winning candidate and he even claimed victory. As more actual votes were counted, Netanyahu pulled ahead. Another aspect of the Israeli election bears comment. The chart of the parties in the next Knesset found in the third link reveals that the Labour Party, which has been one of the two major parties for decades and is on the Left side of the political spectrum, is seeing a rapid decline in its level of support. It is now a mere shadow of its old self.
Netanyahu’s win also makes it more likely that the negotiations for a comprehensive Mideast peace deal will result in a publicly-announced deal of some kind. If Netanyahu had lost, it would have delayed any such deal as Benny Gantz would have been the new Prime Minister and he would have had to review and approve all aspects of the deal from the Israeli point of view. Since Mr. Netanyahu won, that delay will not occur. Let’s examine what may be in the Mideast’s “deal of the century” as some have dubbed it. The fourth link offers what it says will be some of the deal’s terms. It includes Jordan accepting many of the Palestinians for resettlement in Jordan in exchange for a large cash payment. It also reportedly includes a joint Saudi-Jordanian-Israeli administration of what is called “the West Bank,” and possible creation of industrial zones in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula for Palestinians in Gaza to have jobs. Some columnists have written that Israel may openly annex some regions in the Judea-Samaria region (i.e. the West Bank) which are already inhabited by Israeli settlers.
The fifth link offers information about an effort by several Sunni Arab nations to create better ties to Israel, and the sixth link addresses the prospects of an “Arab NATO” whose mission would be to create a formal alliance vs. Iranian militarism and expansionism in the Mideast. The sixth and seventh links examine some of the advantages and roadblocks to implementing such an alliance. Egypt is also very important to this process, and the fact that Egypt’s President al-Sisi visited President Trump in Washington, DC for talks just prior to the Israeli election indicates that any “deal of the century” or an “Arab NATO” were discussion items at their meeting (eighth link).
Keeping in mind that the leaked terms of this deal may or may not be included in the final version, the “deal of the century” will have clear winners and losers. The biggest loser will be the Palestinians in one sense as the long-standing chimera of a “two-state solution” would appear to be dead. If so, the Palestinian Authority will have only itself to blame. They had generous offers from Israel for such outcomes and the PA turned them down. However, the Palestinian people in Gaza will be winners if their impoverished people can have new industrial jobs in a work zone along the Egyptian-Gaza border. Palestinians with jobs will be less inclined toward radicalism, and that would weaken the power of Hamas in Gaza. Israel and the Arab Sunni nations would be winners if an Arab NATO aligned with Israel becomes a reality. It would be very beneficial for all of them as they would present a much stronger united front vs. Iran. Having a strong Sunni alliance aligned with Israel would make Syria and Iran losers as it would make it much harder for Iran and its proxies to wage wars against any Sunni nations. Russia would still stand aligned with Iran and its allies while the USA would stay aligned with the Sunni nations and Israel. The Israeli settler bloc would also be winners under such a deal if their cities and towns are annexed to Israel. The Palestinian Authority would likely be the biggest loser and it may cease to exist in its current form. Any joint Jordanian-Saudi-Israeli administration in the West Bank would limit the jurisdiction of the PA, and act to pacify that region (hopefully).
Some key questions remain that have yet to be addressed or revealed. One major source of tension in the city of Jerusalem is the authority of the Palestinian-approved Waqf entity which administers the Temple Mount and refuses to allow Jews to pray on that plot of Holy Ground. If there is a joint Jordanian-Saudi-Israeli presence governing/controlling the West Bank, might such a joint Jordanian-Saudi-Israeli authority replace the Waqf and govern the Islamic Holy sites in a way which allows people of all faiths to have access to the Temple Mount to pray? The Palestinians would object, but they have little room to negotiate on anything. The PA openly aligned itself with Shiite Iran and the Hamas-led Palestinians in Gaza have been firing Iranian-made rockets and projectiles into Israel. Other questions include whether Egypt would replace Hamas in governing the Gaza region. Students of biblical prophecy will be watching any deal very closely to see if it allows the Israelis to start the siting and building of a Third Temple on the Temple Mount, or whether the Vatican will also become a party to the agreement and whether the Sunnis, Jews, and Vatican will administer Holy Sites on the Temple Mount as a kind of “international zone” within the city of Jerusalem. If the deal allows Israel to begin in any way the siting or measurement of the boundaries of a new Third Temple, it could have major prophetic significance.
Revelation 11:1-14’s account of God’s final Two Witnesses (who will wield massive divine power) prophesies that they will be sent during a time when the boundaries of a new Temple in Jerusalem are being measured (obviously for purposes of constructing such a Temple). The existence of a Temple almost certainly has to happen in order to fulfill prophecies about a yet-future “abomination of desolation” which will “stand in the Holy Place” (Matthew 24:15) and for the “daily sacrifices” at a Temple site to be stopped by an evil power (Daniel 8:11-19). It is my understanding that the daily morning and evening sacrifices could begin at a Jewish Temple site as soon as the site was measured and consecrated as a Temple site. It may be that the proposed Sunni-Israeli agreement will not yet include a new Jewish Temple. That reality may have to wait until a later agreement is reached, but if progress on a new Jewish Temple is included in the deal, it will mean we are getting very close to the end of our age. It would also cement Netanyahu’s popularity with the Israelis and especially with the Orthodox/Observant Jews, and make him virtually “unimpeachable” by his political enemies. A recent post I did on President Trump’s recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights mentioned that Zephaniah 2 prophesied the re-founding of a Jewish nation in the old Holy Land in the latter days of our age and those surrounding enemies would be disputing the borders of the latter-day Jewish nation. Ever since the founding of the Jewish state in 1948, there has been a long series of wars, conflicts and political disputes about where the borders of the Jewish nation should be. Border and sovereignty issues will surely be addressed in a “deal of the century” if one does get proposed. Perhaps we won’t have long to wait until this new comprehensive Mideast peace deal is announced.