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Left wing parties continue to fade after Oslo Accord failure

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addresses supporters at Likud Party headquarters on election night in Jerusalem, March 23, 2021. (Photo by Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90)

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After 87% of the votes have been counted as of Wednesday morning, Israel Hayom reported that Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling Likud Party is the largest party and won 30 mandates, followed by Yesh Atid at 18, Shas at 9, Blue and White at 8, United Torah Judaism at 7, Yamina at 7, Labor at 7, Yisrael Beiteinu at 6, New Hope at 6, Joint Arab List at 6, the Religious Zionist Party at 6, Meretz at 5, and Ra’am at 5. The Economic Party did not pass the electoral threshold needed to enter into the Knesset.

According to the results so far, N12 News reported that the Likud won 24.22% of the vote, and Yesh Atid won 13.91% of the vote, with the other p[arties all below ten percent support as follows:  

Shas 7.33%, Blue and White 6.6%, Yamina 5.89%, United Torah Judaism and Labor tied with 5.87% of the vote, Yisrael Beiteinu 5.55%, The Joint Arab List 5.01%, the National Religious Party 4.97%, the New Hope Party 4.70%, Meretz 4.54%, and Ra’am 4.03%. 

Various media reports noted that the supporters of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presently got 52 mandates, while the “anyone but Bibi” camp got 56 mandates. This tally does not include Yamina, who has pledged to neither sit in a government led by Netanyahu nor Lapid, and the Arab Party Ra’am, which in recent times has been increasingly supporting cooperation with the Likud yet is still an Arab party that was part of the Joint Arab List in the past.  

How both Ra’am and Yamina will vote remains to be seen, thus making them the kingmakers determining the outcome of the election.  

The day after the election, prominent Middle East scholar Dr. Mordechai Kedar stressed: “The results of elections are still unclear. It will be immature to try and shape the government, much less foresee the future, until we see the results. Things might change. The threshold is very narrow.  There are some parties right under the threshold, some right above it. We must wait till the final official results.”

Indeed, counting the votes this election is expected to be more challenging due to the coronavirus pandemic, prompting many to vote by absentee ballot.  Also, according to Israel Hayom, there are some 600,000 votes casted via absentee ballots sent in by IDF soldiers, police officers, diplomatic representatives, and coronavirus patients in isolation, which will need to be counted. In a tight race such as this, these votes are critical.   

Nevertheless, regarding what the final outcome will be, Kedar noted that forming a coalition will be an uphill struggle: “There are some parties like Sa’ar’s party (New Hope) and Lieberman’s party (Yisrael Beiteinu) that are part of the right, yet their raison d’etre prevents them from sitting with Netanyahu. When Netanyahu leads, the political arena will be dramatically changed.  Sa’ar could rejoin the Likud.  Lieberman could join the right side for his constituency supports the right. There is no doubt, the right side of the political arena could much more easily form a coalition government.”

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However, former Israel Consul General Dr. Yitzhak Ben Gad is more skeptical: “The problem is that these parties are divided. For example, Lieberman is a right-wing party yet he cannot be in a coalition with the ultra-religious parties, like Shas and United Torah Judaism. Sa’ar, head of the New Hope, got insulted by Netanyahu and therefore cannot be in his coalition. Two thirds of the population support right wing parties, yet forming a coalition is hard for they are all divided.”

Ben Gad pointed out that the left wing has faded into oblivion following these elections: “The Labor Party and Meretz, the ultra-left, what happened to these parties? They are losing the support of the majority in Israel. The main reason”, he explained, “was the Oslo Agreements.”

In his view, “the left was in power and pushed for these agreements, yet everything was a bluff. Over a thousand Israelis were massacred by the PLO in buses, restaurants, cafes, hotels, etc.  People do not vote for those pipe dreams anymore.”

On the other hand, he continued, “the right-wing parties are divided and cannot support Netanyahu in forming a government. More than that, people are sick and tired already of having four elections in two years. The number of voters this time was much less than a year ago. People don’t want to bother with the elections.” 

As a result, the future of Israeli citizens hangs in the balance. 

Rachel Avraham is a political analyst working at the Safadi Center for International Diplomacy, Research, Public Relations and Human Rights.  She is the author of “Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings at the American, Israeli and Arab Media.”  

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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.

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