Likud not only reversed expectations of upset, but earned the Israeli equivalent of a landslide. The win might be attributable to a Likud panic at the results of the final few polls published five days prior to the election that showed a 4-seat lead for the Zionist Camp. The final few days saw a dramatic attempt by the Prime Minister to reach out to Israelis.
They included several interviews - three of which were to English-speaking news outlets, including Arutz Sheva. He pressed one point hard: without a heavy Likud, there would be a certain danger of a national unity government or worse, a left-wing government.
That message likely resonated with American voters, says Director of Likud Anglos, Daniel Tauber. Those Americans are more used to a system with two heavily anchored right- and left-wing parties.
"Larger parties appeal to English-speakers. With Likud, we're a national party that is not restricted to one or another specific demographic group."
That might be especially true of what Mr. Tauber perceives as a more conservative Anglo Jewish community in Israel.
"I believe that we vote a little more to the right, but not necessarily always for Likud. Naftali Bennett definitely has attraction among Anglos because of his American parents"
Tauber’s guess is correct. In 2012, the majority of some 80,000 American Israeli absentee votes in the US presidential elections went to Republican Mitt Romney – fully 85% to be precise.
But some elements of the Likud campaign might also have shaken some American and other Anglo-origin Jews. Conscious of the controversy opposition to the Two State Solution causes in their home countries, Arutz Sheva asked if he noticed any surprise by Netanyahu's seemingly abrupt about-face on the concept.
"Maybe it was a surprise (to us) that he was so forthright but his language was not a completely resounding statement."
Tauber holds Netanyahu to his word, but his point is that Netanyahu rejects the Two State Solution at this juncture mainly because it would become a vacuum for militant Islamist groups were it to become independent.
"There won't be any state because the land (Judea & Samaria) would fall to militant Islam. I think the Bar Ilan speech does not apply on a practical level."
Those are also the Prime Minister's words, who said earlier this week that he feels that speech "was said at a time when the Middle East was in a different place and even then I said they have to recognize a Jewish state and they have to demilitarization and security arrangements and many other things..."
"He said what people thought he was actually thinking," says Tauber. "It might have been what composed his thinking behind the Bar Ilan speech itself."
Tauber went on to emphasize that the large windfall of votes was likely from Jewish Home (which members of both the Likud and Jewish Home seem ready to admit) because "everybody (in Jewish Home) already knew they had to vote for Likud in order to preserve Bibi's position. They understood there was a danger."
"Everybody knows that Bayit Yehudi will be in the government. There has never been a government led by Likud without the Mafdal/Bayit Yehudi."
"People didn't believe this idea he would actually try to form a government with Herzog and get into the same troubles that led him to fell this past government because of Livni and Lapid."
One of the questions starting to bubble to the surface is how much Likud is willing to give away in order to form a government.
It is likely that two of the five parties who he will entice to join him will be Shas and United Torah Judaism, who have repeatedly said they will seek to reverse the 'damage' done by Yair Lapid and Naftali Bennett in changing how Haredi Jews related to the IDF draft and other matters of religion and state.
Will Bibi roll back to the times of the Tal Law?
"Nobody in the campaign has made a decision about this yet, I think. One of the things about winning 30 seats is that he won the elections in a clear victory so the idea that Shas or UTJ would refuse to build a coalition with him and build with Herzog is wrong."
"I don't know specifically, but I don't think he's going to completely reverse everything to the way it was before."
Tauber does offer the take that the discourse at the time the new law was passed was too antagonistic toward the haredi community, place in a difficult position many people in that community less opposed to military or civil service. What is more important for Netanyahu is that there not be a unity government.
The next Netanyahu government will likely be a consolidation of the previous two, where as the difficult partnership he had with Yair Lapid will be a thing of the past and his centrist position likely replaced by former Likudnik Moshe Kahlon. He will revive a classic political partnership with Haredi parties, who are seen as agreeable to most policies that don't concern their own communities.
None of this resolves problems with foreign policy though, especially in light of Netanyahu's strong statements in the final three days of the campaign. We asked Mr. Tauber asked if his statement about Arabs going to the polls might come back to haunt him if it lingers in foreign media.
"They were hinting that they (most Arab voters) would support a Labor government. I think it's legitimate for Netanyahu to say 'the Arab turnout is high' and it is going to lead to this party having a significant influence on the direction of the country and who is Prime Minister. Therefore, Likud supporters have to turn out as well."
There is a need to push certain points though, and to reemphasize that despite charges Netanyahu did not try, that under extreme pressure he made major concessions and it still did not force the Palestinians to budge.
"The Palestinians wouldn't negotiate during the settlement freeze and waited until the last month to try ensuring that those talks failed. Then during the recent talks Bibi released (dozens of) terrorists and it wasn't enough. Then they went to join international organizations" in contravention to the understandings of the negotiations. "Even Tzipi Livni has said this."