PS: But of course much of the media coverage and analysis continues to insist on themes that have nothing to do with reality. Here's the AP piece by Josef Federman:
"In a stunning setback, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s hard-line bloc fared worse than expected… possibly forcing the incumbent Israeli leader to invite surprisingly strong moderate rivals into his government and soften his line toward the Palestinians."
By prevailing standards this is relatively moderate since it at least admits Israelis voted for moderate parties (others continue to insist that the election proves Israel is right-wing, anti-democratic, and anti-peace). But the label "hardline" is editorializing (anyone see the major mass media outlets talking about a hardline Hamas or a hardline Muslim Brotherhood?).
It is not in the least bit surprising that more liberal parties did well because they always do. The only surprise was the distribution of the votes, particularly the large number received by Lapid's party.
Moreover, the article makes it appear that the government has been mean to the Palestinians. This point is reinforced by the conclusion:
""The coalition-building process could force him to promise concessions to restart long-stalled peace talks with the Palestinians."
Since Netanyahu has been trying to hold talks for four years and the Palestinians have refused, plus Hamas is still in power and launched a war against Israel, plus the new Palestinian Authority line is that the peace process is over, it has a state, and doesn't need to negotiate with Israel, Federman's analysis is rather ridiculous and is certainly biased.
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest book, Israel: An Introduction, has just been published by Yale University Press.
Professor Barry Rubin, Director, Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center http://www.gloria-center.org
The Rubin Report blog http://rubinreports.blogspot.com/
He is a featured columnist at PJM http://pajamasmedia.com/barryrubin/.
Editor, Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal http://www.gloria-center.org