November 22, 2019

Election Handbook: The Nasrallah Factor

People watch Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah as he appears on a screen during a live broadcast on May 25. Photo by Hassan Abdallah/Reuters

We call this format a Timesaver Guide to Israel’s Coming Elections. This will be a usual feature on Rosner’s Domain until next Election Day, September 17. 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 last two weeks.

Main News

Lebanon is the focus of attention as Hezbollah hits Israeli targets in retribution for Israel’s actions (see here).

The media is the new front for Netanyahu (especially TV’s channel 12). The channel exposes more about Netanyahu’s alleged corruption, he says this channel is guilty of no less than a “terror attack against democracy”.

The polls are basically unchanged.

Zehut the right-religious-libertarian party is out of the race. Moshe Feiglin rejoins Likud. Netanyahu vowed to seat him as a minister when he forms a government.


Developments to Watch

Security: Rockets and bombs change trajectories of elections. Not always in the expected direction.

Electoral threshold: Most eyes are on Labor. In current polls, it is above the threshold. But if it fails the test this will be 1. A historic moment, and 2. A possible boon for the pro-Netanyahu bloc.

Right: Zehut is out, but Otzma is still a pain in the right’s neck, as it steals many votes without crossing the threshold. The dynamics of the coming days will determine whether Netanyahu’s interest is to kill it (by campaigning against it), or save it (taking action to help the radical rightist party inch over the threshold).

The Blocs and Their Meaning

Note of clarification: The division to right vs. left blocs (or right vs. center-left) has no meaning. The only two blocs that matter in this election are the one that aims to have Netanyahu as PM, and the one that aims to unseat him.

As you can see here, the blocs picture is unchanged. Netanyahu does not have a majority. But remember: the never-Netanyahu bloc is not one that can form a coalition, it can only prevent Netanyahu from forming a coalition.

Party to Watch

In the last couple of days, I was comparing polls from 2-3 weeks before Election Day vs. the actual results of the election. One party stands out as the most-difficult to poll accurately: Likud. Since Netanyahu became Prime Minister, the Likud Party always outperform the polls. In many cases, the change is significant. In fact, un the last two rounds Likud pulled about seven seats more than the polls (2-3 weeks before Election Day) predicted. If this happens again, Likud will have a good chance to form the next coalition. Take a look: