The ‘Israeli’ Electoral Map

The ‘Israeli’ electoral arena is currently unstable as the ‘Israeli’ voters are heading to the fourth round of elections in 2 years without any indications of a political solution in the future. The conditions have resulted in tension and rage among the ‘Israelis’ forcing each political side to confront the other.

The nature of the ‘Israeli’ parties is greatly affecting the scene. Less than 10 days before submitting the final electoral lists, the estimations remain vague. This is normal due to the huge number of ‘Israeli’ parties that work hard to lead the polls but soon fade to hardly reach the threshold. All of this happens at a very short time.

The current ‘Israeli’ polls show the Likud in the lead with 32 seats. The other parties are as follows:

Party

Expected Seats

Party

Expected Seats

Yesh Atid

16-18

Tikva Hadshah

14-16

Yamina

10-11

The Arab Joint List

10-11

Shas

6-8

The United Torah Judaism

7-8

Israel Beitunia

5-7

Meretz

5

The Israelis

4

Kahol Lavan

4

 

As for the remaining parties, statistics show that they could not pass the threshold. Examples are the new Religious Zionism, headed by Bezalel Smotrich, and the Labor, headed by Merav Michaeli, which is still trying to pass the 3.25% threshold.

Benjamin Netanyahu is winning the biggest number of votes as the most suitable for becoming Prime Minister. He received 43% while Gideon Sa’ar received 40%. Against Naftali Bennett, he received 41% while the other received 33%; and against Yair Lapid, head of Yesh Atid, he received 54% while Lapid received 32%.

Analysis

  1. The polls show that the Likud, headed by Netanyahu, is in the lead, and that it managed to maintain its popularity despite Sa’ar’s split and other political crises. The results also reflected how new parties soon vanish and only strongly-based parties quickly heal.
  2. Gideon Sa’ar’s split from the Likud brought back the voters who took Bennett’s side against Netanyahu. Sa’ar presented himself as an alternative for the members of the Likud who hated Netanyahu. He also managed to win the support of the extreme right leaders such as Ze’ev Elkin, very powerful among the Russian immigrants; Dani Dayan, former Chairman of the Settlements’ Council; and the current Chairman David Al-Hayani.
  3. Netanyahu can guarantee 45-47 seats which are not enough to form the government. He would be depending on the Likud, the Shas and the United Torah Judaism. Netanyahu’s rivals would win 50 seats (Shas, Yesh Atid, Tikva Hadshah, Israel Beitunia, Kahol Lavan, and Meretz). Yamina and the Arab Joint List have not made their decision yet.
  4. Statistics show that although the Likud has improved, Netanyahu is still incapable of forming a stable government even if Bennett joins him. His rivals, too, will not be able to form the government without the support of the Joint List. Therefore, another crisis, similar to the previous ones, will come into place.
  5. Tikva Hadshah, led by Sa’ar, first won 21 seats in early December but the polls now show less than 14 seats. Therefore, Lapid may lead the opposition and form the coming government not Sa’ar.

Possible Scenarios:

First Scenario: the parties that are against Netanyahu will continue their work to topple him through making a joint political program and an agreement that guarantees everyone’s adherence to its slogan which is toppling Netanyahu and ending his rule. The possibility for this scenario to happen is increasing as the hate towards Netanyahu increases as well. Other factors are Sa’ar’s split among other Likud leaders and the formation of Tikva Hadshah. The lesson that was learned was Netanyahu’s retreat from his agreement with Benny Gantz, his partner in the dissolved 35th government. Netanyahu’s rivals understand that Netanyahu is not looking for partnerships as much as he is seeking to lead solely. He is using the others as a means to his end.

Second Scenario: Netanyahu may be able to expand his base by making new partnerships with Naftali Bennett or Gideon Sa’ar only to the extent that enables him to be assigned to form the government. This scenario seems far from happening but not impossible for a person as smart as Netanyahu. His political wit and ability to elude previous crises and influence on his rivals in the right or center-left, like the Blue and White, blocs leading to their partition. His efforts are currently focused on dissolving the Arab List and Yamina.

Third Scenario: It is possible that Netanyahu and his rivals fail to topple each other. This can be possible because none of the parties can have enough seats to form the new government. They all need to prove themselves in the elections and win +60 seats. Polls show that it is quite unlikely. Perhaps none of the parties will be able to form the government or reach an understanding. Therefore, the occupation might hold a fifth round of elections.

Source : PALM Strategic Initiatives Centre