An immediate consequence of the election is that coalition-building will be difficult and time-consuming, he said. The worst-case scenario would be government paralysis and maybe another election sooner rather than later.
David Makovsky, an Israeli analyst at the Washington Institute, said the election is good news for the Obama administration, which has had prickly relations with the right-wing Netanyahu government. The results came from a high turnout -- the percentage of eligible voters who cast a vote was 66.6%, 1% more than the 2009 election.
"It's unclear if Netanyahu wanted a pure right-wing option in the first place," Makovsky said.
"But Washington can breathe a sigh of relief that Netanyahu will need to reach accommodation with some parties at the center of the map who essentially would like to see progress on the Palestinian issue as well as on economic issues."