After three brutal campaigns, three elections and three failed attempts at forming a government, Israel now finds itself right back where it was over a year ago: deadlocked over the fate of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
His devotees in Parliament still insist he should stay. They remain outnumbered by lawmakers who want him gone.
But the outcome this time, after Monday’s election, may be different.
Mr. Netanyahu’s trial on bribery and other serious corruption charges starts in less than two weeks. His opponents appear wounded and exhausted after he outfought them to win a solid plurality for his right wing and religious coalition in this election. And no one in the country appears eager to contemplate a fourth.
The prospect of yet another failure to form a government after more than a year of stalemate resurfaced troubling questions about Israeli democracy: Can a system that depends on a fractious jumble of political parties to come together to build a majority function in so polarized a country?