© Israel Votes 2019 | About Us | Contact Us | 

  • Facebook

Election Updates

Key developments and news about the upcoming elections.

9/18/19 – Results of the Online Election

With all the votes counted, at least in our online election, the results are in and they do not mirror the reality on the ground in Israel, with a couple of exceptions.

 

The result of the online vote are:

Seats  -  Party
46 - HaLikud - The Likud
29 - Kechol Lavan - Blue White
8 - Yisrael Beiteinu - Israel Our Home
7 - Da'am - Green Economy, One State
7 - Yahadut HaTorah - United Torah Judaism
7 - Yamina - Rightward
5 - HaMachane HaDemocrati - The Democratic Union
5 - HaPiratim - The Pirates
5 - HaRishima HaMeshutefet - The Joint List

The actual results, with 96% of vote counted, are as follows:

Seats - Party
33 - Blue White
31 - Likud
13 - Joint List
9 - Shas
8 - Yisrael Beiteinu
8 - United Torah Judaism
7 - Yamina
6 - Labor-Gesher
5 - Democratic Union 

Thanks for participating in Israel Votes!

9/17/19 – Election Day Has Arrived

Just over 5 months ago, Israel went to the polls.  Today, the very same citizenry will enjoy another government mandated holiday from work to cast their votes. Polls are already open and will close at 10pm. In the meantime, Israelis who are not campaigning for their party will likely enjoy a beautiful and warm day of outdoor activities. At 10pm exactly, they'll tune into the news to hear the initial outcome of the exit polls. 

 

9/16/19 – Last Day of Campaigning

With the country set to go to the polls tomorrow, all parties are doing their utmost to sway undecided voters to their camp. With the road to a coalition looking as confusing as ever, the job of convincing them is the name of the game, and parties are issuing emphatic appeals for support.  The Democratic Union has stated that it fears that Blue White will wipe out the remaining left-wing parties. On the right, Yamina leader Ayelet Shaked has questioned why the Likud is attacking them as they are erstwhile coalition partners.  Blue White is appealing to everyone who seeks a unity government without the ultra-Orthodox parties while the Likud's message is that only a large Likud will be able to prevent a left-leaning government led by Blue White. We'll know soon enough if these appeals made an impact on Israeli voters. Vote now!

 

9/13/19 – Final Polls Show a Mixed Mess

In the last polls prior to the elections on Tuesday, the signals are mixed, and the potential outcome messy.

 

The Yisrael HaYom newspaper has Likud leading with 33 seats vs Blue White 31. The broadcaster Kan News has Blue White at 33 seats and Likud at 31.

 

The poll has the other parties ranking as follows:

  • Joint List:  12 (Yisrael HaYom) | 11 (Kan News)

  • Yisrael Beiteinu: 9 | 7

  • Yamina: 7 | 9

  • Shas: 7 | 7

  • Yahadut HaTorah: 7 | 8

  • Labor-Gesher: 6 | 5 

  • Otzma Yehudit: 4 | 4

  • Democratic Union: 4 | 5

These numbers conjure up the 1973 Stealers Wheel song, Stuck in the Middle with You. (listen here!)

Clowns to the left of me,
                 Jokers to the right,

                                   here I am,
                                           Stuck in the middle with you

                                                      

Troubles to the Left:  The polls often lump together the "left-bloc" and in doing so often include the 11 or 12 seats of the anti-Zionist Joint List. While this makes it look like the left-bloc could cobble together 61 seats, the likelihood of Blue White including anti-Zionists in the coalition is slim to none. Without those parties, the best result shows Blue White with 50 seats, 11 short of a government. Even if they convinced Yisrael Beiteinu to join, there's still no path to a governing coalition of 61.

Problems on the Right: The polls are indicating that Likud could come up with 58 or 59 seats if they included the ultra-orthodox parties and excluded Yisrael Beiteinu. They remain short of a coalition.

Another problem for the right-bloc is that there is no home for ex-Kulanu voters.  In the last election, the Kulanu party filled the gap for not-Netanyahu-right-of-center voters and won 4 Knesset seats. Under the assumption that a government was on the way to being formed, Kulanu merged with Likud. Without Kulanu on the ballot, a significant contingent of right-leaning voters have no obvious political home, so they may actually stay at home and not vote, something that will damage the Likud's chances of coming out on top.

Stuck in the Middle:  Yisrael Beiteinu, whose newfound political principles were the key driver of these new elections, may find itself in the enviable position of crowning the new Prime Minister, and will certainly exact a high price in terms of ministerial appointments for doing so.  They can either decide to forego their secular-oriented campaign promises and join a right-bloc that includes the ultra-Orthodox or demand a national unity government that includes Blue White and Likud. The former scenario is highly unlikely. The latter scenario is also unlikely as Blue White has stated unequivocally that they will not join a government with Netanyahu. It remains unclear if Netanyahu will step down in such a situation, and there's no real reason to believe he will just to make it easier for Lieberman to play kingmaker. 

Tuesday's outcome will be interesting, that's for sure, and it will keep Israel's politicians busy for quite a few weeks post-election as they try to pull a government together.
 

9/10/19 – Whisked Away

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was forced to leave the stage of a campaign event in Ashdod to take cover as two Hamas rockets were shot at Ashdod and nearby Ashkelon. Both were intercepted by the Iron Dome air defense system, according to the Israel Defense Forces. The event, which illustrated the ongoing vulnerability of Israeli citizens in these cities and in communities surrounding Gaza, became fodder for Netanyahu's opponents. 

One of the key members of the Blue White party was at a separate campaign event in the area and didn't leave the stage when the sirens wailed. Blue White leader, Benny Gantz, attempted to capitalize on the different reactions, saying that his party is not afraid of Hamas. This message, however, implies that Israelis should not to take cover when their home are fired upon--a sentiment that Blue White would surely walk back had the episode ended differently. 

On the right, Yamina's Naftali Bennett derided the government's inability to curb Hamas terror over the years although he was a minister in the previous government prior to the April election and therefore assumes some responsibility for the current situation.

9/6/19 – Polls Show Close Race

The Friday polls of Yisrael Hayom newspaper and i24 News show a close race. Likud is barely in the lead with 31 seats, wiht Blue White close behind at 30. Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu looks set to more than double the current number of Knesset seats it has with 11. The Joint List is also polling at 11, while Yamina dropped two seats from last week and is polling at 8, along with Shas. Yahadut HaTorah is at 7, Labor-Gesher maintains it current strength at 6 and the Democratic Union and Otzma Yehudit both are polling at 4 seats each. 

When asked about who they find most suited to serve as Prime Minister, 40% said Benjamin Netanyahu, and 23% Benny Gantz of Blue White. Gantz's agreement to share the premiership with Yair Lapid might be doing Blue White harm as only 3% of respondents felt he was most suited to be Prime Minister, the same number that former Prime Minister Ehud Barak garnered.

9/4/19 – Israel Votes 2019 is Back!

By popular demand, and because Israel is heading to new elections, we have updated the site which now includes updated information on all the parties running, new and old alike. More to come as we approach the September 17th elections. 

4/17/19 – Absolute, Final Results 

The Central Election Committee has published the absolute final results after investigating all claims emanating from any of the parties and the results now stand as follows: 

  • Likud– 35 seats in the Knesset

  • Blue White – 35 seats

  • Shas - 8 seats

  • Yahadut HaTorah – 8 seats 

  • Hadash-Taal – 6 seats

  • Labor – 6 seats 

  • Yisrael Beiteinu - 5 seats

  • Union of Right-Wing Parties – 5 seats 

  • Meretz – 4 seats

  • Kulanu – 4 seats

  • Raam-Balad – 4 seats 

4/12/19 – With 100% of Votes Counted, Likud Wins

It took the Central Election Committee two days to get 100% of the votes counted and when they finished it was announced that wasn't a tie after all -- Likud gained a seat at the expense of Yahadut HaTorah. 

The final tally of Israeli Elections 2019 is therefore: 

  • Likud– 36 seats in the Knesset

  • Blue White – 35 seats

  • Shas - 8 seats

  • Yahadut HaTorah – 7 

  • Hadash-Taal and Labor – 6 seats each

  • Yisrael Beiteinu and Union of Right-Wing Parties – 5 seats apiece

  • Meretz, Kulanu and Raam-Balad – 4 seats each


All other parties failed to pass the electoral threshold of 3.25% of the votes cast.

4/10/19 – Results of Online Vote (see actual results further below)

Remarkably, the overall voting in the online election showed the same tie of 35 seats each for Likud and Blue White! But that’s where the similarities end.


The remaining 50 Knesset seats would be divided among the following parties:

 

  • Zehut – Identity – 24 seats

  • HaYemin HaChadash - The New Right – 11 seats

  • HaAvoda - The Labor Party – 8 seats

  • Meretz - Meretz (Energy) – 7 seats

All other parties failed to pass the electoral threshold of 3.25% of the votes cast.


In the above scenario, it would most certainly be Blue White who would be tasked with forming the government, and would do so easily with Zehut, Labor and Meretz. They would enjoy a mammoth 74 seat majority.

4/10/19 – Successes, Surprises, Failures & Pipe Dreams

It’s the day after Israeli elections and officials are still counting the votes. But with nearly all of the votes in except for those of the soldiers on active duty, these are the results:

  • Likud and Blue White – 35 seats a piece

  • Shas & Yahadut HaTorah – 8 seats each

  • Hadash-Taal & Labor – 6 seats each

  • Yisrael Beiteinu & Union of Right-Wing Parties – 5 seats apiece

  • Meretz, Kulanu & Raam-Balad – 4 seats each

See how each Israeli city and community voted with this interactive voting map (in Hebrew).

Successes: Both Likud and Blue White had impressive results. After seeing the initial exit poll data that showed a 4-seat lead, Blue White leaders claimed victory at 10pm Israel time only to have to walk the claim back much later in the night as it became clear they would not actually beat Likud. For his part, Netanyahu was absent early in the evening and made a victorious entry into campaign headquarters when the actual results showed Likud gaining considerably on Blue White.


Other Successes Include: Shas, the Sephardic ultra-orthodox party is now the second largest party along with Yahadut HaTorah, the Askenazi ultra-orthodox party. Both have will be key coalition partners. 
Surprises: Yisrael Beiteinu who was polling under the electoral threshold emerged as a viable party with nearly the same number of seats it won in 2015. The Union of Right-Wing parties also emerged victorious despite the divisions an maneuvering which rankled the members of the union at the onset of the election cycle. 


Failures: In terms of Knesset representation, the Labor party has reached its lowest point in its 71-year history garnering just 6 seats. Labor is the party of Ben Gurion, Yitzchak Rabin and Shimon Peres and it was once axiomatic that they ruled Israel. Today, the future of the party looks bleaker than ever.  While two parties led by Arab Israelis both entered the Knesset and have a combined 10 seats, in comparison with the result of their parties in 2015 for which they banded together to run and won 13 seats, today’s results show their split to have been a political blunder. Perhaps the most dramatic failure was that the New Right (Yamin HaChadash) party failed to pass the electoral threshold.  Led by Education Minister Naftali Bennet and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, the party was banking on the star power of these two young and powerful politicians to propel them to electoral greatness; they will now have to find different jobs. 


Pipe Dreams: Many of the 35+ small parties running for the Knesset never really expected win a seat in the Knesset, save one.  The Zehut party, running on a libertarian platform that included cannabis-legalization, was heralded by the media as the emerging surprise of the election and polls suggested they could win up to 10 seats. Alas, such a stunning electoral success was apparently hallucinatory as the party failed (miserably) to reach the threshold of garnering 3.25% of the vote. Zehut’s leader, Moshe Feiglin said, “There will be more elections in the future,” but it is fairly clear now that his political future has gone up on smoke. 


Who will rule? 
Even though Likud and Blue White won the same number of seats, the Likud has a clear path to creating a strong ruling governing coalition; not so with Blue White. Therefore, the Likud, with Benjamin Netanyahu at the helm, will be tasked with forming the next government which will likely include both Shas, Yahadut HaTorah, the Union of Right Wing Parties, Yisrael Beitenu and Kulanu giving Netanyahu a coalition of 65 seats, one less than he ruled with the last four years.

 

4/9/19 - Election Day - Beautiful Weather & a Day Off

Election day in Israel has finally arrived! Not only is this particular electinon day sunny and warm in Israel, it is also national holiday! So, aside from the few minutes needed to vote, Israelis will be enjoying time with friends and family, with a good many opting for the beach! Exit polls will be published at 10pm Israel time when the polling stations close and by that time, everyone will be glued top the TV. Stay tuned!

4/7/19 - Blue White in Lead in Last Poll Before Election

Benny Gantz’s Blue White party leads Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud in the weekend polls, the last allowed to be published before the elections on Tuesday. Blue White garnered 32 mandates versus 27 for Likud in the joint Yisrael HaYom and i24News survey published on Friday. A poll in Yediot Achranot newspaper showed a similar outcome, with 5 seats separating the parties. The polls continued to show, however, that the center-right bloc of parties have a better chance of forming a ruling coalition with 64 seats compared to just 56 seats center-left parties. Among the smaller parties, those showing an increase from the last survey include: Labor (+2, 10), Yahadut HaTorah (+2, 8), Meretz (+2, 8) and Kulanu (+1, 6). Only Shas dropped from 6 to 5 seats in the poll while the following party’s results remained the same: Hadash-Taal (6), New Right (6), Union of Right Wing Parties (6) and Zehut (6).  

Given the results, Likud has called for voters on the center-right to abandon the idea of voting for a small right-wing party and instead support the Likud so it wins a plurality of the votes and secures the right to form a coalition. Smaller right-wing parties, notably Naftali Bennet’s New Right, are bristling at this idea which threatens their viability. In past elections, migrations of voters from small right-wing parties to Likud have occurred. With Likud polling so far behind Blue White, Netanyahu will certainly continue to call for right-of-center voters to “come home” to Likud in the coming days. 

4/4/19 - Netanyahu Appears to Be On a Roll

With elections early next week and a recent rise in polls, Netanyahu appears to be riding a wave of success that includes three important events in the international arena as well.

 

Most politicians in a close election campaign—particularly those with an impending (potential) indictment hovering over their personal future—would probably not spend time on foreign affairs just days before the election. But over the last 10 days, Netanyahu has been to the USA to meet President Trump, hosted the Brazilian Prime Minister on a state visit to Israel and is currently wrapping up a short visit to meet President Putin in Russia. Yet Netanyahu’s trips and time have paid extraordinary political dividends. In the USA, he garnered America’s recognition of Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights; in Jerusalem he accompanied the new Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro on an official visit to the Western Wall (which nearly all countries refrain from as Judaism’s holiest site as often considered disputed or even occupied territory) and personally thanked President Vladmir Putin for Russia’s role in finding and arranging the return of the body of an Israeli soldier killed in the 1982 Lebanon War and whose whereabouts were unknown for decades.

 
While these events certainly make for great photo ops, the achievements are so impressive that even the dovish Haaretz newspaper—while certainly not endorsing Netanyahu—has cited them in a recent editorial.  All this sets the stage for a dramatic election in six more days. 

 

4/3/19 - Poll Claims Likud Leads Now

A new poll published by Israel’s Channel 13 and conducted by a renown pollster showed Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud with 29 seats besting Benny Gantz’s Blue White by one Knesset seat. This is the first time a poll has shown Likud in the lead since Blue White was formed in February. The poll also showed the Labor party rising to 14 seats, a huge increase compared to previous surveys which showed the party garnering 7-8 seats. The results also indicated that it would be easier for the right-of-center bloc of parties to assemble a coalition led by Likud as compared to the left-of-center led by Blue White, a fact which has to worry Benny Gantz with the elections just a week away. 

4/2/19 - Israeli College Students Choose Blue White (and Green)

The National Union of Israeli Students conducted an election survey of 3000 Israeli college students who study in universities and colleges throughout Israel. The percentages of votes each party received were converted into Knesset seats and Benny Gantz’s Blue White party was the big winner with 47 Knesset seats. The next biggest party was Zehut—the party best known for its desire to legalize recreational use of cannabis—which garnered 17 seats. Meretz and Labor garnered 15 and 14 seats, respectively. On the right, Likud received just 13 seats with Union of Right-Wing Parties and the New Right both with 7 seats each. The ultra-orthodox parties as well as the Hadash Arab-Israeli parties among many other would not have passed the election threshold according to the poll.


In terms of assembling a ruling coalition, the left-of-center bloc would receive 76 of 120 Knesset seats, putting Gantz in the Prime Minister’s seat. If Zehut, which espouses right-wing policies despite its stance on recreational cannabis, would also join Gantz, the coalition would grow to an unprecedented 93 seats. Compared to this, the right-bloc of parties, including Zehut, would only reach 44 seats.


Students also sounded off about the major issues of the election and cited “the economy and cost of living” as the most important issue (49%), followed by “political/security” issues (21%), the “state of democracy in Israel (14%) and issues of “religion and state” (12%).

3/29/19 - Weekend Polls Show Right Bloc Dominating

With the election just 12 days away, two weekend polls predict the right bloc dominating.  The Yisrael HaYom newspaper poll showed Blue White still leading Likud 32 to 28, but the bloc of right-of-center parties growing to 68 mandates. The Yediot Achranot newspaper shows the same 4 mandate gap between Blue White (31) and Likud (27) and the right-of-center bloc at 64 mandates vs 56 for the left. If Blue White is taken at its word to consider only Zionist parties for coalition partners, then they and their potential left-of-center parties only garner 45 to 46 mandates according to the polls, a fact that does not bode well for the new party. 


Parties that showed an increase compared to last week include: Hadash-Taal (+1), Shas (+2), Kulanu (+1) and Yisrael Beiteinu (+1), at least according to the Yisrael HaYom poll. Those decreasing were: Labor (-1) and Ichud HaYamin (-1). The public still views Netanyahu as more suited to the premiership by a margin of 10%.

The Yisrael HaYom poll also surveyed respondents about the importance of key issues.  Twenty-nine percent of the respondents stated the economy was the most important issue in their opinion, with 28% cited security concerns. Despite the Attorney General's decision to potentially indict Netanyahu's, only 10% of the respondents stated that corruption was their main concern. Only 7% stated that finding a solution to the Arab-Israel conflict was their primary concern, a statistic that gives witness to the underlying skepticism many Israelis feel about trying to renew the 25 year-old peace process with the Palestinians which has yet resolve the conflict, as the missile attack on central Israel earlier this week by Hamas illustrated.

3/27/19 - Voting Starts For Israeli Diplomats Abroad

Israeli diplomats stationed outside of Israel will begin voting in the Israeli elections starting Wednesday, March 27th. Nearly 5,000 Israeli diplomats stationed in 96 embassies and consulates around the world, as well as other Israelis on official state business have the right to vote while abroad. However, Israeli citizens who live outside of Israel or happen to be abroad on April 9th cannot vote as there is no absentee ballots system in Israel.  Israelis who reside abroad can come to Israel and vote in person on election day and in the past special chartered flights of dedicated citizens have made the trek over to exercise this basic democratic right!

3/25/19 - US Recognizes Golan as Israeli; Hamas Missile Hits Home

With just two weeks to elections, Monday was a day chocked full of news events.  Early morning Israel time a missile fired from Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip scored a direct hit on house in central Israel, injuring 7 Israelis, including two children and an infant. Hamas claimed the missile was launched accidentally, citing inclement weather, an excuse the terror organization has employed in two other recent attacks. The bombing prompted Israeli Prime Minister to cut short his visit to the USA and return to Israel. The Israeli army retaliated by attacking Hamas headquarters as Hamas fired more projectiles at Israeli communities surrounding Gaza. Twenty-four hours later, an uneasy calm prevailed. Nevertheless, Tel Aviv, Netanya, other central Israeli cities have opened bomb shelters in preparation for an escalation. Hamas' malevolent use of the Gaza Strip to launch attacks on Israel after it relinquished the area in 2005 is a key reason why many Israelis fear the creation of a Palestinian State. Read more about the peace process here.


On the diplomatic front, President Donald Trump formally recognized Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights on Monday in a proclamation that stated, “the United States recognizes that the Golan Heights are part of the State of Israel.”  Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu who was present for the signing, said, “Your decision to recognize sovereignty is a two-fold act of historic justice: Israel won the Golan Heights in a just war of self-defense, and the Jewish people’s connection to that land goes back generations.” He continued saying, “We hold the high ground and we shall never give it up.” The move was greeted positively by Netanyahu’s main rival in the election, Benny Gantz of Blue White who thanked President Trump for “recognizing Jerusalem as the eternal capital of the Jewish people, and for placing your embassy there, and thank you for recognizing Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights.” Read more about the territories captured in the 1967 Six Day War.

3/22/19 - Blue White Drops to 30; Likud at 26

A key weekend poll showed Blue White dropping to 30 mandates from 33 last week and Likud holding steady at 26.  Among small party gainers were Labor who added 2 seats to reach 9 and Zehut who added one seat and now stands at 6 seats. Two parties that were polling below the election threshold—Gesher and Raam-Balad now rose above it potentially garnering 4 seats each. Those new entrants took seats from 7 small parties who all lost one seat, except for Meretz who lost two. This situation is likely to put Netanyahu in the premiership, which 43% of those polled preferred. 

3/21/19 - Trump Intends to Recognize Golan as Israeli

US President Trump declared his intention to recognize Israel’s sovereignty over the Golan Heights which Israel captured nearly 52 years ago from Syria in the June 1967 Six Day War.  This is a major shift in policy, although it reflects a decades-old. The move was likely bolstered by the fact that Syria has been in a bloody civil war for the last 8 years and only recently has regained full control of the country with the help of Russia and Iran. The two larger parties, Likud and Blue White, as well as many other smaller parties in Israel were thrilled with the announcement which validated Israel’s own move back in 1981 to apply civil law to the area. 

3/18/19 - New Poll Shows Likud on Top

For the first time since the new Blue White party was formed, a poll shows that it would fail to beat Likud if elections were held at present. The survey, conducted by Israel's Kan Broadcasting network suggested that Likud would win 31 seats compared to Blue White's 30. The center-right bloc of parties grew to 63 seats; Blue White's potential coalition parties would only net 45 seats if it excluded anti-Zionist parties and only 57 seats if it included them.  Although this was positive news for Likud, forming a functional government with a coalition that includes six other parties will certainly be an ongoing challenge if the actual results resembled this poll's outcome.

3/12/19 - 5.8 Million Israelis Eligible to Vote

Israel's Central Bureau of Statistics announced that 5.8 million Israelis—out of a total population of 8.9 million—will be eligible to vote in elections on April 9, up over 430,000 from the last election in 2015. Young Israelis aged 18-24 make up 14% of the eligible voters while 30% are between ages 25-39, 32% between ages 40-59, and 25% are 60 or older. Jewish Israelis, who are over 74% of the overall population, make up 79% of voters, 16% are Arab Israeli, and the remaining 5% belong to various other minority communities such as the Druze. 

3/11/19 - Going for Green

One of the reasons cited for the upstart Zehut party's recent rise in polls has been its clear call for the legalization of cannabis. Apparently, many of the voters of the former Green Leaf party have expressed a willingness to support Zehut, even though the latter has right-wing views that some proponents of legalization may not share. Zehut's newfound popularity might be undercut, however, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has intimated that his Likud party may decide to adopt the policy as well. Not to be left out of the party, Meretz leader Tamar Zandberg has claimed that it was her party that started the struggle for legalization and that Meretz is on the vanguard of many key issues. 

3/8/19 - Friday Polls Show Right Bloc Ruling

Polls published on Friday showed the new Kachol Lavan (Blue White) party of Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid losing 5 seats as compared to last week's survey and Likud losing 3.  Nevertheless, the right-leaning bloc of parties still has a majority with 62 Knesset seats.  The parties that may have benefited from the voter migration according to the poll were Labor (+1 seat), Meretz (+2) and Hadash-Taal (+2) on the left and on the right Yahadut HaTorah (+2) and Zehut, who would enter the Knesset with 4 seats.  Interestingly, last week's political bombshell of Netanyahu's indictment (pending a hearing) didn't make much of an impact as 86% of respondents said the Attorney General's decision did not change the way they intend to vote. The survey also showed that Yisrael Beiteinu would not enter the Knesset. Lieberman responded saying that "If I believed in polls, I would have never run for Knesset, and we are celebrating 20 years of Yisrael Beiteinu this weekend."  When asked about who is more suited to be Prime Minister, 42% of respondents said Netanyahu and 38% Gantz with 20% undecided.

3/6/19 - Blue White Party Publishes Platform

The Kachol Lavan (Blue White) party of Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid published its political platform today. The party, expected to challenge the incumbent Likud at the polls, said the platform addresses all the major issues facing the State of Israel and the citizens of the country. Regarding the peace process and potential concessions to partners, Blue White stated that there will not be a “second Disengagement,” referring to the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza undertaken by Ariel Sharon’s Kadima party in 2005. Rather, the party intends to put any “historic diplomatic decision” before the country in a referendum or to require a special majority in the Knesset for approval.  Notably missing from the platform was an explicit mention of the party’s stance on the creation of a Palestinian state. Instead, the platform references the party’s plan to intensify the process of separation from the Palestinians.  Learn more here.

2/28/19 - Netanyahu To Be Indicted (Maybe)

Israel’s attorney general announced his intention to indict Netanyahu who is accused of bribery, fraud and breach of trust. While the announcement at this juncture caused a major stir in Israeli politics, the intent to prosecute is not final as it is conditional upon a pre-trial hearing in which Netanyahu could possibly persuade the attorney general to drop the charges. Netanyahu has already and will continue to capitalize on the ambiguity of the situation by declaring it "fake news" meant to pave the way for his replacement and the ouster of Likud, a message that may resonate with supporters. 

2/24/19 - Netanyahu Under Fire

The deal brokered by Benjamin Netanyahu to unify two small right-wing parties who threaten to siphon off votes from a potential right-leaning governing bloc has come under fire.  One of the parties is considered as the spiritual heir of the outlawed Kach party created by Rabbi Meir Kahane's who was assassinated in New York in 1990. 

2/22/19 - Labor Rejects Merger with Meretz 

Labor leader Avi Gabbay engineered his party's decision to reject a merger with Meretz and the parties will therefore run separately. The merger was initiated due to fears that the struggling Meretz party would not receive the minimum 3.25% of votes to enter the Knesset. By rejecting it, votes for the small but prominent left-wing party could be lost if they fail to pass this threshold. Such a situation could benefit the Likud which seeks to create a bloc of right-of-center parties to govern.  

2/21/19 - Gantz & Lapid Join to Form New Party

Benny Gantz (Hosen Yisrael) and Yair Lapid (Yesh Atid) agreed to join up to create a new political party called Kechol Levan (Blue White) to challenge Netanyahu. Polls published immediately after the party's creation showed it potentially beating Likud.

2/18/19 - HaTnuah Leader Tzipi Livni Quits Politics

One time Prime Minister hopeful Tzipi Livni has quit politics. In late 2008, Livni, as head of the governing Kadima party called for new elections as she was unable to form a government after her coalition changed. Kadima actually beat Likud by one Knesset seat, but since she was unable to form a coalition, Likud was given a shot and has been in power ever since. Four years ago, Livni teamed up with the Labor party to create the Zionist Union party that ran against Netanyahu and lost. In late 2018, Labor leader Avi Gabbai unceremoniously and publicly cut ties with Livni, and she found herself in a perilous political position, leading her to quit politics altogether.  

12/24/18 - New Elections Called

The Knesset votes to dissolve itself and new elections are set for April 9, 2019.