This could be the beginning of the end for Israel's Netanyahu

17 September 2019, 23:19 | Updated: 18 September 2019, 07:32

Avigdor Lieberman was once a nightclub bouncer. He may now be in a position to decide who is let into government in Israel and who is not, as the country's kingmaker.

The right-wing politician is calling for a government of national unity involving Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party and the new Blue and White party led by ex-general Benny Gantz.

But Mr Gantz says he will not sit in government with Mr Netanyahu given the corruption scandals engulfing him.

One question now, is will Likud commit regicide, dumping their long serving leader to ensure they remain in power.

The signs are that once again Benjamin Netanyahu failed to win enough seats to form a government outright and may have one fewer seat than Mr Gantz's party.

In the past he would have teamed up with Mr Lieberman's small right-wing party and others, but in the last election Mr Lieberman refused to join in as long as the religious right were on board, which prevented Mr Netanyahu forming a government - giving rise to these elections.

Mr Lieberman's strategy appears to have paid off. His share of the vote has increased. He is unlikely to reverse course, suggesting Benjamin Netanyahu is in trouble.

Days of wrangling and horse trading could lie ahead, but the momentum seems to now lie with his rivals in the Blue and White party.

They, Lieberman and Likud, may be mulling ditching Israel's longest-serving prime minister in the name of national unity.

Benjamin Netanyahu is one of the political survivors of our age. He has been counted out in the past before rising again, but he is in a corner and this looks more serious.

We could be looking at the beginning of the end of the Netanyahu era.