The protest won. The middle class, in its broader definition, has spoken. The new Israelis said: We've had it with Netanyahu's regime. We want a new face in the political mirror. We want Lapid, Yachimovich, Bennett. Not Bibi.
A different kind of politics won. The votes were tallied and the surprise is great. Netanyahu, as I predicted, erred when he brought the elections forward, and people pay for such mistakes – for the purity of politics and the future of our children. The young and innovative parties made headway. Likud –a tired party with a detached leader – was defeated. Netanyahu, who has led to the dramatic collapse of his party for the second time, must go home.
This, supposedly, is what the elections were moved up for. Now the mission is to establish a new government and determine its leader ahead of the budget test. This situation is not healthy for the economy, but it is not disastrous either.
To deal with the budget issue the next government will first have to define the problem, something the previous government did not do. The numbers are important. The 2013 budget deficit must not amount to more than 3% of the GDP, which is NIS 30 billion. The deficit in 2014 must not amount to more than 2% of the GDP – some NIS 22 billion. Achieving these two goals will assert Israel's credibility in the eyes of the international community. Another deviation from these goals will not be forgiven.