If anyone gains from the national election likely to take place in early September, it probably will be incumbent Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
At least one major public opinion poll gives his right-wing Likud party a two-to-one edge over its closest rival, the Labor party.
A reaffirmation of Netanyahu's leadership for up to four more years will enable him to change the partisan and personal make-up of his next coalition government.
In that case, the losers might include the Yisrael Beytenu party of Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman.
This blunt and gruff Moldavian-born politician helped set the stage for the seemingly unnecessary election by declaring that he and his followers no longer were bound by the strictures of Netanyahu's current coalition.
Under other circumstances, an election this year could have determined whether negotiations on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian dispute can get under way.
That would have given the balloting international importance. But the fact that the Palestinian Authority has lost control of the Gaza Strip amid the fact that its current domain is limited to the West Bank seriously detracts from the election's relevance.
The negotiations, if they were renewed and am agreement were reached, would result in the existence of three states instead of two in pre-1948 Palestine, and that is a non-starter.
Gaza's Hamas rulers have declared that they oppose recognition of Israel. The Islamic organization's deputy leader, Moussa Abu Marzuk, who until recently was based in Damascus along with its supremo, Khaled Mashaal, has said that any agreement reached with Israel would be regarded only as a hudna, meaning a temporary arrangement.
His stand is based on Hamas's overriding ideological principle: That all of pre-1948 Palestine is an "Islamic legacy" and therefore must be governed by an Islamic regime. This was the view of Hamas's founder, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, and it has not changed since his death.
Consequently. the impending Israeli election will have to focus on domestic issues only, the most prominent among them being the institution of a new law covering military conscription. The legislation favored by Netanyahu not only would reduce the number of deferments extended to ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students to a minimum, but also would draft Israeli Arabs for military or other national service such as work in hospitals and other humanitarian institutions.
If Netanyahu manages to forge a new coalition that would have the middle-of-the-road Kadima party as a major component and leaves the Jewish religious and nationalist extremists on the parliamentary sidelines, he may escape the pressure constantly bearing down on him from the West Bank settlers who constantly seek territorial acquisitions.
Theoretically, he could then launch a process that would require the dismantling of a substantial number of settlements and the removal of unauthorized outposts further to the east.
A proposed exchange of territory that might enable many of the settlements to remain intact already has public support from Kadima. Its newly elected leader, Shaul Mofaz, is on the record as favoring a deal of this kind. But the transfer of thousands of hard-line settlers from the West Bank to ante bellum Israel would be a daunting if not politically impossible task.
This apparent fact of life bears out the contention that the permission given by the incumbent government and several of its predecessors for 350,000 to 500,000 Jewish settlers to move into the West Bank was a major mistake.
The financial cost of relocating them would be prohibitive, not to mention the fury of the inevitable social backlash in ante bellum Israel that would be a by-product.