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A primer on the upcoming Israeli elections

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Ballot boxes will once again be shipped from the Central Elections Committee warehouse to polling stations, for yet another Israeli election. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)

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Israel is headed for a fourth election in under two years, as the government failed to pass a budget and also faces a third lockdown because of a surge COVID-19 cases.

The current coalition of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, has been in power for seven months, he has stated that the upcoming elections in March are the fault of his coalition partner, the Blue and White Party, headed by chief Benny Gantz.

Channel 12 published its latest poll on January, 12th with the results as follows:
https://www.mako.co.il/news-israel-elections/2021_q1/Article-ccb7441ab67f671027.htm?sCh=31750a2610f26110&pId=173113802

  1. Likud – 30 seats
  2. New Hope (party of breakaway Likudnik Gideon Sa’ar) – 15 seats
  3. Yesh Atid (center-left party of former TV personality Yair Lapid) – 14 seats
  4. Yamina (right-wing party of Naftali Bennet) – 13 seats
  5. Joint Arab List – 10 seats
  6. Shas – 8 seats
  7. United Torah Judaism (UTJ) – 8 seats
  8. Yisrael Beiteinu – 7 seats
  9. Meretz – 6 seats
  10. Blue and White – 5 seats
  11. Israelis – 4 seats

Netanyahu and Likud need 31 more seats to garner the required 61/120 for a Knesset majority.

Who will and won’t coalition 

New Hope, Yesh Atid, Yisrael Beiteinu are secular parties that have pledged not to stand with Netanyahu.

New Hope is a breakaway faction and has been getting a lot of media coverage lately. The new challenger has a lot of pull.  If the 3 form a coalition, they could ‘rock the boat’ in a huge way. 

The Joint Arab List and the far-left Meretz also are unlikely to sit with Netanyahu despite much speculation regarding the former. 

Blue and White has also expressed that it will not join up with Bibi. In fact, it once lead the ‘Just-not-Bibi movement’ and later coalesced with him.

So their concept of alliance has been ‘fluid’ we can say. 

Yesh Atid, Yisrael Beiteinu, The Israelis (a new party) and Meretz won’t ever coalition with the ultra-Orthodox Shas and UTJ, so the chance of a center coalition with the religious right is unthinkable. This is mostly because of social issues as well as the fact that Ultra Orthodox don’t serve in the military and are obstinate when it comes to compromise on this issue. UTJ and Shas remained loyal to Likud for the last five years, but their loyalty may waiver depending on incentives. Saar has been known to have good ties with Haredi groups, but what transpires is anyone’s guess at this point. 

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Most of these won’t coalesce with the Joint Arab List. The Joint Arab List is predicted to drop from 15 seats to 10 as a growing number of Arabs might cast ballots for “mainstream” parties this time.

Netanyahu’s option to form a coalition with Shas and UTJ could garner him 40+ seats – still short of the 61 threshold but it’s the strongest bet at this point. 

A previous alliance failed because the Ultra-Orthodox refused to serve in the military and this has put them at odds with other coalition groups. 

Nevertheless, Benjamin Netanyahu has confidently stated that he believes that Likud will ascend to 40 seats or more in the upcoming election, helping him secure a majority and continue on as the longest serving PM Israel has ever had. 

Of course we have to keep in mind that polls reflect what people think at the time they are taken; and things can and most likely will change when it comes to voter’s opinions and party alliances as the election date draws near.

Avi Kumar is a historian of Sri Lankan descent who lives in New York.

He has a unique spin on current affairs.

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

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