Israel's election: The hawks? wings are clipped | The Economist YAIR LAPID, a former television talk-show host whose secular, middle-of-the-road party soared into second place in Israels election on January 22nd, wrote a popular column for years in the newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, in which he would ask, What is it to be Israeli? What, in other words, does it take to feel you belong in the Jewish state? The question became his trademark. Now a large chunk of the electoratea lot larger than the pollsters predictedhas given an answer that may reshape Israels future, not least by improving the chance of a durable peace with the Palestinians. Mr Lapids party, Yesh Atid (There is a Future), running for the first time, got 19 seats in the 120-seat parliament, against 31 for Likud-Beitenu, led by the incumbent prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, who is still expected to retain his post. But he will find it much harder in the next month or so to rejig his ruling coalition. Hawkish and religious parties that have been generally loth to offer the sort of territorial and other compromises needed to revive the peace process got half the seats. But the election result shows that Israelis on the more malleable middle ground are still a force to be reckoned with. The post-election bargaining will be a lot trickier than Mr Netanyahu expected. Two key consequences may ensue. One is that Naftali Bennett, the religious hawk who rejects the idea of Palestinian state altogether, may not have to be brought into a government. Pollsters had expected his new party to do so well that Mr Netanyahu would have had to give him a senior post.