Israeli poll

Israel’s general election is three weeks from today. The first opinion poll since the end of the Gaza war shows the right-wing opposition Likud still ahead.

The best way to view the poll and the trends is not at the Haaretz English link above, but at the Hebrew site, which has an interactive graphic. Not too much Hebrew is needed to navigate it, though someone with better Hebrew than I have might be able to help us figure out what the two bars mean. They refer to different version of the poll (Hebrew seker). The English article refers only to the blue bar, not the red one (which is the one labeled something like teleseker). The two variants differ from each other only by 1 seat in most cases.

You can place your mouse over the bars for any party to see a graphic that shows several polls, back to the last (2006) election.

At the graphic, the parties are arrayed as follows, from right to left (which actually has ideological meaning for the first three, but not after that): Likud, Kadimah, Avodah (Labor), Shas, Yisrael Beteinu, Meretz. I do not immediately recognize all of the smaller parties, except for Hadash and the two Arab parties that the Electoral Commission voted to ban (these are all in the inset for ‘extra’ parties–miflagot nosafot).

Of the Knesset’s 120 seats, Likud would win 29 or 28 seats (listing the “blue” poll first), followed by Kadimah* at 25 or 26, Labor at 16 or 17, Shas 8, YB 12 or 14, Meretz at 7 or 5, and no one else above 6 in either poll (though because of the need for multiparty coalitions, some of those smaller parties will matter to the eventual government).

Given the need for 61 seats if a government is to have a majority, and given that no party is likely to have more than a quarter of the seats, at least two of the three largest parties will be in government. The main questions thus are whether the PM is Benjamin Netanyahu of Likud or Tzipi Livni (the current Foreign Minister) of Kadimah, and who the coalition partners are.

Likud has held steady or declined a bit since the previous poll, conducted just a few days into the Gaza war. Kadimah has lost some ground. Labor, headed by current Defense Minister (and former PM) Ehud Barak, is a big gainer, having been at just 11 or 12 seats before the attacks on Gaza. Not surprisingly, Yisrael Beteinu (headed by Avigdor Lieberman, who equates Arab MKs with Hamas and talks of a “right of expulsion“), has also gained, too–almost as much as has Labor. Meretz, the most dovish party and one of the most left, has held steady, despite a position on the war that has been anything but.

* I know, it is usually spelled Kadima. But the word ends in a hei, after all!

3 thoughts on “Israeli poll

  1. Just a note about the parties you missed:

    – First from the left is ???? ?????? (HaBayit HaYehudi, “The Jewish Home”), the successor to the National Religious Party (NRP, aka Mafdal). It represents the nationalist/religious vote, including most modern-orthodox voters and many settlers.

    – Second from the left is ????? ????? (Yehadut HaTorah), better known in English as United Torah Judaism or UTJ. It’s the party of the Ashkenazi haredim (ultra-orthodox).

    – Rightmost in the inset is ??”? (Khadash, “New”), the Communist party. It tends to be mostly (but not completely) Arab.

    – Leftmost in the inset is ?????? ?????? (HaIchud HaLeumi), known in English as National Union. They used to be the main far-right non-denominational party, but I’m not sure what their raison d’être is now that they’ve been eclipsed by Avigdor “Jean-Marie” Lieberman.

  2. Vasi, thanks; I knew we could count on you!! I had gotten a couple of those, but did not recognize the English equivalents of their Hebrew names, given that they are usually referred to by English names in the English-language press (not unreasonably, I suppose, but then again Kadimah and Likud are never translated!).

    More to the point, I was not sure what had happened to the National Religious Party, so it is very helpful to know which one it is. I got Khadash (a better spelling than the usual Hadash), but for some reason neglected to mention it. It is an interesting case inasmuch as it was not subject to the (now rescinded) ban on Arab parties. Of course, that is–as you note–because it is not exclusively Arab. Like the old Communist Parties in many places in the world, its ideology calls for working within the existing “bourgeois” institutions. Kind of interesting in the insight it gives into the motivations behind the ban, but I’ll leave that point to others to develop.

    Unfortunately, the new version of Word Press does not allow the rendering of Hebrew letters. In fact, there are many characters on this blog that now appear as weird symbols. At least your Hebrew got changed to question marks.

  3. A Channel 2 poll last week has the following seat estimates for the five biggest parties:

    30 Likud
    22 Kadima
    16 Yisrael Beiteinu (gasp!)
    14 Labor
    11 Shas

    That leaves 27 for various others, including 5 for the two un-banned Arab parties.

    (Source: Haaretz)

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