August 19, 2019

The Very Short Rosner Guide to Voting in Israel’s Elections

 This is a translation of a guide for the Israeli voter that was published in the Hebrew-language daily newspaper Maariv. If you are an American who could not vote in Israel’s election, it still could help you understand how and why Israelis vote the way they do.

Is it hard for you to decide? It shouldn’t be. The very short Rosner Guide for voting is going to solve your problems.

1. If you are an Arab who wants to annoy the Jews: Vote Ra’am-Balad.

2. If you are an Arab or a Jew who wants to do something really radical (or a communist, but there are no real communists): Vote Hadash-Ta’al.

3. If you are a Jew who wants to do something radical but not as radical as voting for an Arab party: Vote for libertarian Zehut.

4. If you are an Israeli who thinks that Israel is to blame for the fact that there is no peace (but also do not want to vote for an Arab party): Vote Meretz.

5. If you are an Israeli with a strong historical sentiment for the founders’ generation: Vote Labor.

6. If you are an Israeli who thinks that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is doing everything right but incites the public and creates a polarized political atmosphere: Vote Blue and White.

7. If you are an Israeli who thinks that Netanyahu is doing everything right: Vote Likud.

8. If you are an Israeli who thinks that Netanyahu is doing everything right except for economics: Vote Kulanu.

9. If you are an Israeli who thinks that Netanyahu is doing everything right except for security, and also that voting for Likud is not cool: Vote for the New Right.

10. If Naftali Bennett’s kippah looks too small to you, and Yaakov Litzman’s kippah looks too black for you, and you find it difficult to forget that Netanyahu does not have a kippah: Vote for the United Right.

11.  If you are an Ashkenazi ultra-Orthodox Jew who thinks that someone sees you even behind the curtain: Vote United Torah Judaism.

12. If you tear up at the mention of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef: Vote Shas.

13. If you trust only a leader with a Russian accent like yours: Vote Yisrael Beiteinu.

14. If you go with the heart, regardless of the electoral threshold: Vote Gesher.

Appendix for difficult cases:

If what really matters to you is the bloc, not the party, vote Likud or Blue and White.

If it is difficult for you to decide which bloc, see points 6 and 7. Then you’ll know.

If you answered yes to two questions — say, you have sentiments for the founders but you also go with the heart — vote for a party that has a chance to pass the electoral threshold. If both have a chance, vote for the smaller of the two parties — it probably needs you more (and we already said you have a heart).

If you do not feel like voting for any party, try something radical (options 2 and 3). If that does not help, exercise your right (yes, in a free country this is also a right) to not vote.

In such case, do not complain about the results.


Shmuel Rosner is senior political editor. For more analysis of Israel and international politics, visit Rosner’s Domain at jewishjournal.com/rosnersdomain.