Israel's most significant challenges will not go away, regardless of who holds office in Jerusalem. And elections are unlikely to change Israel's security policies.
The top priority is — and will be for the foreseeable future — preventing Iran from becoming a threshold nuclear weapon's power. To achieve this, Israel will also need to continue to sound the alarm about the potential for an ill-advised deal between Iran and the so-called P5-plus-1 countries (Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States — plus Germany). This has been a source of tension between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Barack Obama.
It will remain an issue of contention for the next two years no matter who is prime minister. Indeed, Obama appears committed to a deal, while the Israelis have voiced repeated concerns about a deal that doesn't dismantle Iran's nuclear program, and a wide range of other Iranian activities that will not be addressed in any nuclear deal, such as its ballistic missile program and support for the terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah.
Nor is it likely that the elections will change the prospects for Palestinian-Israeli peace. The Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas appears to have decided to pursue the case for Palestinian statehood in international forums rather than through negotiations with Israel. Abbas' support for the recent outbreak of violence in Jerusalem has also prompted much of the Israeli political spectrum to sour on further talks with him.
Finally, changes in the internal Israeli political dynamic will do nothing to change the other regional challenges that Israel faces. Neither a new prime minister nor the return of Netanyahu will stop the Turkish government from providing safe haven to terrorist groups like Hamas and the Islamic State. Nor would either outcome change the course of the civil war in Syria, which has spawned a spate of new jihadist groups.
Some might argue that a more moderate prime minister might help reset relations with Israel's allies. These are the same people who argue that Netanyahu's right-wing policies have been a contributing factor to Israel's security challenges. But even if Netanyahu is unseated (which is extremely unlikely) it will soon become clear that Israel's fight for survival looks roughly the same under any leadership. It's a tough neighborhood.
Jonathan Schanzer, a former terrorism finance analyst at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, is vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. He is on Twitter.