Yesterday, Israelis went to the polls for the fifth time in under four years. As with the previous rounds, I followed the results with trepidation. It's too early to know yet exactly what Israel's next coalition government will look like, but what we can see now does not bode well for Israel's future.

The politician who will put together the next governing coalition will shape the character of public life in the country and determine its future as a democracy and as a member of the family of nations.

According to initial election results available as I write this article, shortly after the polls closed, that politician may again be Benjamin Netanyahu, the man who has dominated Israeli politics for the past two decades.

Israel is a multi-party system with a 120-seat parliament, the Knesset. To form a government coalition, a Knesset member (typically the leader of the largest party) must cobble together a coalition of parties with a combined total of at least 61 Knesset seats.