Likud Just in Front of Old Age Pensioners Party!
Israel's Likud fall from grace (BBC).
Allow me, for once, a good dollop of schadenfreude, regarding Likud's dismal election result: few politicians used to make my blood boil more than arch-conservative, political opportunist Binyamin "Bibi" Netanyahu. If Kadima didn't do quite as overwhelmingly well as expected, then Likud did even worse than anticipated and rolled in in fifth position, four seats ahead of Gil, a single-issue group advocating a better deal for old age pensioners.
For once, the Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu appeared lost for words.
The former Israeli prime minister's eyes darted through the convention centre as he stood in front of supporters and a small army of cameramen and photographers.
The once mighty Likud Party, the dominant force in Israeli politics for almost 30 years, had fallen to its knees.
"We have no doubt the Likud has suffered a tough blow," Mr Netanyahu told the crowd.
Binyamin Netanyahu's future is under question
One elderly woman, dressed in a black trouser suit, stood in the centre of the hall crying and dabbing her eyes with a tissue.
"I'm in a state of shock," said Yoram Eytan, 47, a campaign volunteer standing outside the circular hall drawing on a cigarette, his right hand visibly shaking.
"Right now, Likud supporters are trying to wake up from this bad dream. But from tomorrow, the knives will be out."
In fact, a brutal and unsparing political autopsy was almost immediately under way.
"This election result has sent us back 40 years," said Likud campaign manager Danny Danon, not trying to hide his disappointment.
After leaving the rally, Mr Netanyahu was holed up in the Likud headquarters at the Jabotinsky building in central Tel Aviv until the early hours of the morning.
Ariel Sharon became Likud Party leader in 2001
Between sips of whisky and puffs of his cherished cigars on the building's 14th floor, Mr Netanyahu was telling close associates that he was not going to quit, said one senior Likud official.
But privately, some Likud supporters were already saying he must go.
"He ruined the party," said one party official. Another accused Mr Netanyahu of arrogance.
Throughout this election campaign, Likud posters had featured a slim, younger Mr Netanyahu - a picture of the politician when he was prime minister from 1996 to 1999.
But after coming in fifth place on election day, it seems that Binyamin Netanyahu, like his poster, is a man of the past.
Keywords: Israel, Palestine