pledged during the election campaign to put his ego aside and concede the premiership if that was what it took to unseat Mr. Netanyahu, Israel’s longest-serving prime minister.

collapsed after seven months of political and administrative paralysis.

Some analysts say that Mr. Netanyahu, a political survivor, is happy to function as a caretaker prime minister, riding the wave of electoral turmoil from one transitional government to another, as long as he remains in office. And if the latest imbroglio ends in a fifth election, he is likely to run again.

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