The soldiers' votes have all been counted. Now Israel's official 2013 election results are conclusive. In the final tally, one of the Arab parties lost a seat and Habayit Hayehudi gained a seat. Thanks to their excellent media campaign, Kadima and Shaul Mofaz succeeded in getting enough pity votes to remain in the Knesset.
You can read my views on the election here: The Israel Has Spoken
At this point, the final revision of the votes has very little relevancy. Yair Lapid, the big winner of the election, stated last night that he was not going to make any attempt to block Netanyahu. Rather, today Lapid had his first meeting with Netanyahu on forming a government. Lapid had always said he was willing to go into a coaltion with Netanyahu - if he was not "the window dressing" for a right-wing, religious government. Now Lapid does not have to make that choice, since he is in the driver''s seat. Netanyahu would prefer a broad coalition with everybody possible in it. However, thatâ€™s not the direction Lapid is likely to pick.
It's mostly Lapid's choice to decide what he prefers- a government made up of Yesh Atid, the Haredim and Likud, or Yesh Atid, Likud and HaBayit Hayehudi. Without the Haredim the government will be able to deal with the issues of a draft for the Haredim, and cutting back money they receive. It will not however be able to address the peace process. Alternatively, if the coalition goes with the Haredim, the government can try to move the peace process forward. However, they will be able to do little to change the amount of money going to the Haredi community or deal with the issue of the shared burden that most of Israel is demanding.
My guess is that the first coalition will be selected; including Likud/Beiteinu, Yesh Atid, and Benett's HaBayit Hayehudi. If I was Yair Lapid, my calculation would be simple: Given the situation (as it is in the Middle East at the moment), it is very unlikely that we can make very much progress on the Palestinian front. Therefore, we might as well deal with the issues that we can agree on, and have a government without Shas and that would also mean getting Shas out of the Interior and Housing Ministries. Lapid will make sure his people get the ministerial positions of: Interior, Education and Housing. Lapid himself will likely take the post of Foreign Minister. With Lapid as Foreign Minister of Israel, Israel's face in the world will improve drastically, and if, in the unlikely case that a real breakthrough with the Palestinians is possible, he can always count on support of the labor party and others who do not join the government. That will also give him the experience on the international front to make him a viable candidate for Prime Minister next time around.
That is my prediction. Below is the final election results as well as a letter that Lapid sent out to his supporters an hour ago- the letter was in Hebrew and the translation with a few corrections by me as by Google translate- which is getting much better.