April 24, 2019

Israel’s Election Handbook: Right Getting Closer to 60

Israeli lawmakers attend a preliminary vote on a bill at the Knesset, the Israeli parliament, in Jerusalem November 16, 2016. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

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

A relatively quiet election week. No splits, no mergers.

Main News

Northern front in the news: Israel bombing Iranian installations in Syria.

Netanyahu’s lawyers tried to convince the Attorney General not to publicize a decision on indictment before Election Day.

More details about the PM’s involvement in media manipulation was revealed.

Developments to Watch

Political: Benny Gantz launched a campaign that’s very much focused on him as a brave and combative soldier. Polls do not yet tell us if this campaign makes him more appealing to Israelis (see “focus on one party” at the bottom of this post).

Political: The Jewish Home is slated to decide on Thursday how to compose its next leader – by a committee of by party operatives.

Personal: Four MK’s (out of current 10) already left Kulanu. More to come.

Material: Security issues and the Syrian front creep into political campaigns. Netanyahu’s decision to take responsibility for Israeli attacks is criticized by opposition parties (the attacks themselves are supported by almost all parties).

What’s the Race About

Netanyahu’s legal troubles.

Possible Wild Cards:

Syria.

Dramatic damning information against Netanyahu.

Benny Gantz-Yair Lapid last-minute merger.

The Blocs and Their Meaning

We want to save you time. So here is all you need: the political blocs’ averages of the last year, and of the last week (last five polls). As usual, there are two options for counting the blocs, but the overall picture is clear. 1. There are few changes. 2. The left (Labor, Meretz, Arab parties) is slightly smaller. Right and center slightly gained. In fact, in the latest polls the right-religious bloc is getting close to a desired 61 bloc – a bloc that could give it the option of leaving all centrists outside the next government.

The blocs are:

Option 1:

  • Right: Likud, New Right, Jewish Home, Israel Beiteinu, UTJ, Shas
  • Left: Labor, Meretz, UAP, Taal
  • Center: Resilience, Yesh AtId, Hatnuah, Kulanu, Gesher

Option 2:

  • Right: Likud, New Right, Jewish Home, UTJ, Shas
  • Left: Labor, Meretz, UAP, Taal
  • Center: Resilience, Yesh AtId, Hatnuah, Kulanu, Gesher, Israel Beiteinu

Focus on One Party

How is General Gantz doing? Here is the graph of all polls in which he appeared as running with a separate party (that is to say: we did not include scenario polls of him running with Labor or Lapid). As you can see, his numbers slightly declined. His average of polls since new election were called on December 25 is more than 13 seats (13.2), but his average of the last five polls is almost a seat less (12.4). Does this mean he is losing steam? Not necessarily. Gantz just started his campaign, did not yet speak, did not yet reveal his list of candidates, did not yet merge with anyone.