Saturday, February 27, 2021

The Israel File Appendix: Rise of the Right

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Shmuel Rosneris an Israeli columnist, editor, and researcher. He is a contributing opinion writer for the International New York Times and is the political editor of the Jewish Journal.

Shmuel Rosner
Shmuel Rosneris an Israeli columnist, editor, and researcher. He is a contributing opinion writer for the International New York Times and is the political editor of the Jewish Journal.

We send The Israel File every Sunday, and that’s a good way for you to know everything you need about Israel’s coming week in just five minutes of reading. Thank you for signing up.

Oftentimes, we also post an appendix to the File, to update you on the political situation with more detail and nuance. Our update follows the updated table of poll-averages. Note that the table includes both a simple average of the last 10 polls, and a weighted average that takes into account the time of the poll, it’s sample size and other things. So, first let’s look at the table:

What do we see here? Here are five things:

  1. The current coalition is highly unpopular. It’s main two parties, Likud and Blue and White, declined. It’s total expected number of seats is about 15 seats less than what it has today. It is a dysfunctional coalition – and the voters take note of it.
  2. While the coalition declines, the main beneficiary is the Yamina Party. This leads to a somewhat weird situation: while Netanyahu’s coalition gets meager marks from the voters, the most likely outcome of another election seems to be another Netanyahu coalition – just more to the right. The right is rising.
  3. But there are two important questions we need to ask about Yamina’s voters and leader. On the voters: is their support solid, or just a temporary expression of dissatisfaction? Many pollsters and politicians believe that the rise of Yamina is far from being set. On the leader: will he entertain a coalition other than the one with Likud? Surely, this will only be a valid question if a new election produces results that make such coalition feasible.
  4. Why are we talking about coalition? Because (as always) the threat of such thing is real. There is an ultimatum from Blue and White to pass the 2021 budget by the end of November, there is a response by Netanyahu that the budget can wait for February 2021. If both will stick to their guns, Israel will vote in March. If Netanyahu wins this fight, Israel might still vote in June (having failed to approve a budget by March). The political system operates under the assumption that 2021 is an election year.
  5. Watch the electoral threshold. Currently, a few parties that have representatives in the Knesset do not seem to have a chance of crossing it – Labor is the most notable. There is one party that in recent weeks moves dangerously close to the threshold. That’s leftwing Meretz. Its average of the last three polls is 5.33 (lower than its average of the last 10 polls), and its weighted average is even lower (because Meretz tends to get more in the polls than on Election Day).



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