Sunday, November 18, 2018

Situation in Israel

Israel is potentially heading towards early elections. This article gives a bit of a background on that.

The current government is lead by Likud and Benjamin Netanyahu. Member parties are Likud, Jewish Home, Kulanu, Shas, and UTJ. Yisrael Beiteinu was a member party until recently. Jewish Home is also negotiating to prevent a withdrawal. Such a withdrawal would leave the government with 53 seats in the 120 seat Knesset.

Polls taken this month, averaged, compared to the results in 2015, are below. The current polling average is on the left, and the number on the right indicates gains or losses since the 2015 election.

29 Likud -1
17 Yesh Atid +6
12 Joint List -1
11 Zionist Union -13
11 Jewish Home +3
8 Kulanu -2
7 Yisrael Beiteinu +1
7 UTJ +1
6 Shas -1
6 Meretz +1
6 Orly Levy +6

Should Jewish Home leave the coalition, and should the results be as the polls indicate, this would see the coalition drop from 53 to 50 seats. The two parties that would withdraw from the coalition in such a situation would gain a combined 4 seats, perhaps putting them in the driver seat for any current negotiations.

Orly Levy is a defector from Yisrael Beiteinu who has a more progressive stance on the issues than her former party. If counted on the left of any right-left political divide, the net result of an election would be a loss of one seat for the progressives vs a gain of 1 seat for parties in Netanyahu's 2015 coalition. Most of the change comes from within the various voter blocs, with Zionist Union's losses being offset by gains in Orly Levy and Yesh Atid.

If this comes to pass it would be a disaster for the Labour party. From 1949-1977 the party was consistently first in elections. 1977 saw the party defeated by Likud, but the party would go on to finish either first or second up to the 2009 election.

In 2009 the party obtained only 13 seats, finishing behind Likud, but also Yisrael Beiteinu and Kadima. 2013 saw them rise to 3rd behind Yesh Atid, while 2015 saw them form an alliance with Hatunah, a breakaway party from Kadima.

Both 2009 and 2013 saw the party effectively standing on its own. It has never finished worse than second when in an alliance with another party. The current alliance, Zionist Union, is polling very poorly, and could leave the party in 5th.

The party has been on somewhat good terms with Yesh Atid and an alliance with that party may be part of the long-term future of Labour.

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