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, March 2, 2020. We hope to make it short, factual, devoid of election hype.
The Final Week.
Campaign: Focus on Blue and White inability to form a coalition without Arab support.
Netanyahu Trial: To begin March 17.
Gantz favorability: Most voters don’t see his as fit as Netanyahu to be the next PM.
Investigation announced of the Fifth Dimension artificial intelligence company, in which Blue and White chairman Benny Gantz served as an executive.
Lieberman: Fully committed to not forming any coalition under Netanyahu.
Polls: No change.
Developments to Watch
Netanyahu momentum? The political class begins to talk about such thing, but the polls don’t yet show it.
Coronavirus and its possible impact on voter turnout. If Israelis decide to stay this one out, a surprise becomes more likely.
The Blocs and Their Meaning
Take a look at this graph, as it tells you the full story of Israel’s coming election in three scenarios.
The polls are completely off, and the Netanyahu bloc (the blue column) rises to 61 seats. In such case, Netanyahu forms a government (and probably moves to use his majority to solve his legal troubles by legislative means).
The polls are off in the other direction and the Blue and White bloc without the Arabs (yellow column) has more seats than the Netanyahu bloc (blue column). This is what Blue and White leaders call “A Jewish majority” or “a Zionist majority”. Based on such majority Benny Gantz forms a minority government (he does not have 61 members in his coalition) with the Arabs abstaining.
The polls get it right. The Arab party must decide if it gives Gantz its recommendation (and Gantz gets a mandate to form a government) or not (and Netanyahu gets to try). Either way, Netanyahu cannot form a government so Gantz must decide if he wants to form a government without even having a claim on a “Zionist majority” (if the Arabs agree to abstain from opposing his coalition). If he does, see scenario 2 (Gantz will have a minority government with Arab support and very little room for maneuver). If he doesn’t, a fourth election is forthcoming.
Shmuel Rosner’s book #IsraeliJudaism, Portrait of a Cultural Revolution (with Prof. Camil Fuchs) is available on Amazon.