February 22, 2019

Israel’s Election Handbook: The New Face of Likud

Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during an event by his Likud Party in Tel Aviv, Israel August 9, 2017. Photo by Amir Cohen/REUTERS.

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

The Likud Party has a decent list of candidates.

Main News

Likud Primaries: a solid outcome, with experienced and respectable candidates at the front row.

Netanyahu failed to block the rise of former minister Gideom Saar within Likud.

Benny Gantz is still doing well in the polls. But his rise came to a halt.

Talk about possible last-minute merge of centrists (Gantz and Yair Lapid) intensify.

Five to six parties are close to the electoral threshold and might not get any Knesset seats.

The Jewish Home chose its new leader: Rabbi Rafi Peretz, from the conservative wing of the Zionist-religious sector.

Developments to Watch

Political: Will the new Likud party list give Likud a boost in the polls?

Personal: Gideon Saar just bit Netanyahu in his own home court and earned a Likud front seat against the PM’s will. Netanyahu must decide if wants this internal Likud fight to continue or declare a cease fire.

Personal: Are there any signs that Lapid is getting used to the idea of being Gantz’ No. 2.

Political: The Jewish Home must decide if it is ready to become a party of an even more conservative rightwing religionists and take under its wing the Kahanist wing of the ultra-right.

The Blocs and Their Meaning

Simply put, Likud still has best chance of both winning and forming the next coalition. The Netanyahu 67 coalition is now at average of 63. A slight decline, but still a majority. The right-religious bloc is very close to 60 seats, and with a small addition from the center can form the next coalition.

 

Focus on One Party

Not long ago, Orly Levy Abekasis was getting ready to becoming Israel’s political rising star. She was to be the newcomer who made it against all odds, all on her own, by forming a party focused on social justice. Today, above Levy’s party there’s a huge question mark. She can still run and get a seat at the table. She can merge with one of the other parties (it’s a little complicated for her, because of legal issues involving her decision to quit her previous party and stay in the Knesset). Or she can see more decline and end up bellow the electoral threshold. He average of seats for the year is 4.7. Her average in the last five polls is 3.2. That is – not enough.