At the end of a grueling campaign, Yisrael Beitenu Chairman Avigdor Liberman reached the finish line with just eight seats. It was fewer than he hoped, but it was enough to achieve his first objective. He now holds the key to forming the next government. He also holds the political fate of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in his hands. In that sense, he walked away the winner of round 2 of the 2019 election.
Netanyahu lost his duel with Liberman. He failed to brand Liberman as a “leftist” or hurt him in the major bastions of Russian immigrants. He even lost Likud voters to Liberman. Fed up with Netanyahu’s behavior and the alliances he formed with extremists and the ultra-Orthodox, they switched allegiance and voted for Yisrael Beitenu instead.