August 20, 2019

Israel’s Election Handbook: Generals War

Minister of Construction and Housing Yoav Gallant speaks at the SOSA Construction Zone launch. Photo courtesy of Israel21c

We call this format a Timesaver Guide to Israel’s Coming Elections. This will be a usual feature on Rosner’s Domain until April 9. We hope to make it short, factual, devoid of election hype, and of he-said-she-said no news, unimportant inside baseball gossip.

Bottom Line

Benny Gantz under fire from the right.

Main News

Gantz promises to fix Nationality Law – or maybe not. He wasn’t clear.

Intentions aside, he is attacked and tagged as leftist.

An ugly ex-generals war is underway: Yoav Gallant (a Likud joiner) vs. Gantz and Moshe Yaalon. The IDF is not all about comradery.

Bezalel Smotrich is the new leader of Haichud Haleumi, a religious-right party (a faction of the Jewish Home).


Now they say Gantz will break silence, present his party, at the end of January.

Developments to Watch

Political: There is still a month to go before lists are closed. Many changes are still possible, hopefully (and likely) more mergers than splits.

Personal: Tzipi Livni still does not have a party – other than her own party. Rumors suggest that Orly Levy-Abekasis might join Gantz.

Material: Likud activists are asked to approve (on Tuesday) new rules that aim to marginalize candidates who run in districts, and advance candidates who run nationally. This is a technical maneuver that could be meaningful for some current MK’s.

What’s the Race About

Can Likud convince the voters that Gantz and Lapid are “left”.

Possible Wild Cards:

A Gantz – Yair Lapid merger. Unlikely, but not impossible. 

The Blocs and Their Meaning

We offer two options of political blocs. In the graphs bellow you can see what happened to these blocs since Dec. 30. Since then, parties fractured, but blocs remain relatively stable. Columns 13 and 14 are the averages for all polls (13) and the last five polls (14). Note that the slight increase in centrist bloc is mostly due to slight decline is the leftist bloc.

Focus on One Party

This is what it looks like, when a party has a clear constituency, ideology and tradition. United Torah Judaism, the party of Ashkenazi ultra-Orthodox voters (Haredi) is projected to win seven  seats is most polls, and then there are some that project six and a few that project eight (and one outlier of five). Clearly, all talks about possible merger of all Haredi parties is aimed at saving Shas – the Sephardic Haredi Party – from extinction. UTJ seems stable and safe.