There has been a small political earthquake in Israel, likely to reverberate for weeks. On Wednesday night, local time, Yair Lapid of the centrist Yesh Atid party informed President Reuven Rivlin that he could form a coalition government which could win a majority in the Knesset, the parliament.

If this succeeds, it will be the end of the 12-year run of Benjamin Netanyahu as prime minister; he also held the post for three years previously in the 1990s. No one is likely to match this record. But lately Israeli politics had become all about him and his bid to hang on to power. Four elections in just over two years had proved inconclusive. It was the possibility that Israel could be plunged into a fifth election that helped the coalition of eight parties led by Yair Lapid to come together.