December 10, 2019

Election Handbook: What the Last Numbers Say

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.

This is a Timesaver Guide to Israel’s Coming Elections. This is a usual feature on Rosner’s Domain until next Election Day, September 17. We hope to make it short, factual, devoid of election hype.



Bottom Line

A very tight race.


Main News

Netanyahu in a blitz of interviews, focuses on campaign fraud in the Arab sector.

Blue and White made a last minute decision to run with an anti-religious message. The party vows to establish a secular liberal unity coalition.

Otzma is close (on average) to the electoral threshold. In many recent polls it gets four seats.

Labor is dangerously close to the electoral threshold.


Developments to Watch

In the next two days, it will be mostly spin. So the only developments that should be treated seriously are on-the-ground security challenges, or other crises.

But – there are still good ways for you to prepare for Israel’s coming election.

Two podcasts with Israel’s leading political analysts:

Yaron Dekel. Here.

Dana Weiss. Here.

A detailed guide of what to watch on Tuesday night: Here.


The Blocs and Their Meaning

The blocs: The last legal public polls were released on Friday. They tell us a few things.


The race is tight in the sense that Netanyahu might, or might not, get to 61 with his base coalition.


This depends, among other things on whether the radical right party, Otzma, crosses the Electoral Threshold. Five of the last eight polls predict that Otzma will get four seats. But if it doesn’t, the right is expected to lose close to four seats.


Labor is in a precarious situation. All polls say it has the votes to get in, and yet the pollsters (I spoke to three) are hesitant to say that Labor is safe.


The wonder kid of this election, Avigdor Lieberman, is losing steam. In the last polls he declines from 10 to 7-8 seats.


The Arab party is getting stronger – possibly as strong as in 2015 (13 seats).


Likud and Blue and White run neck to neck.

Below you can see two graphs. First: the blocs. That is, the for-Netanyahu and the never-Netanyahu blocs. Note that what you see here are averages of the most recent polls (from the 12-13 of September), the polls since the 9th, the polls since September 1st, the polls of the last month. Also note that the total is a little more than 120 seats, because of the complications posed by calculating averages for parties that might or might not cross the threshold.



Here are the same averages for Israel Beitenu and Lieberman. As you can see, the more recent the polls, the lower Lieberman gets.




Shmuel’s book, #IsraeliJudaism, Portrait of a Cultural Revolution, is now available in English. The Jewish Review of Books called it “important, accessible new study”. Haaretz called it “impressively broad survey”. Order it here: