Update below on coalition possibilities.
[Programming note: In addition to following the Israeli results, I am also following the much-slower-to-come-in Ukrainian results, updating periodically as more protocols are processed. Granted, Ukraine is vastly larger than Israel, and has less experience with election administration. But given that, like Israel, it is now a single nationwide PR election, it should not take this long to count!]
What a crushing defeat for Bibi and Likud!
29 March. The count has now reached 99%. The Knesset representation appears to be shaping up as follows. I have edited the seat totals, and also the analysis below.
Israel Beitenu: 12
NRP / NU: 9
United Torah Judaism: 6
United Arab List: 4
Wow. I was prepared for the possibility that Israel Beiteinu might pass Likud, but I was not expecting Shas to do so as well!
So, if these are accurate as a projection of the final official result, Kadima + Labor would be thirteen seats short of a majority, which can count only as a disappointing result. The inclusion of Meretz (whose seats have fallen from five in earlier partial results) would Kadima + Labor within
eight nine seats. Pensioners’ surprisingly strong showing (but now one seat less than earlier reported) would get the coalition to within two seats of a majority, but only the most bare one.
One of the religious parties will need to be brought in as well. I suspect that Shas is the least likely one, because its very strong showing will put it in a position to demand too much from its potential partners. Of course, if a deal is not struck with Pensioners for any reason, then it will take more than one of the religious parties.
For reasons discussed in comments earlier, NRP/NU is unlikely to be included. That would leave UTJ in a strong bargaining position as the most palatable coalition partner to get those last two (plus) seats needed.
The one thing the religious parties and Pensioners share is demand for public resources for their own narrow constituencies and an apparent malleability on everything else.
UPDATE: Jonathan’s discussion of likely coalitions is well worth a read. I just posted a comment to it (which should appear over on the right sidebar here, under “cross pollination”). A really interesting angle here is the possibility of multi-level coalition bargaining, as in this Ha’aretz report that suggests Labor, Shas, and Pensioners may be forming a “social bloc” that would agree amongt themselves on some priorities and then negotiate as a bloc with Kadima. Very interesting (and, of course, denied by various alleged participants)!