Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Israeli Elections Today

I don't have any information at the moment. Israel is 6 - 9 hours ahead of us here in the States, so their day is already finishing as I write this. Election returns should begin to become available, although the question of who will be able to form a coalition government will not be known for some days yet.

Discuss. I will add data as I find it.


(first update 8:30 am CDT):

Israel is 6 hours ahead of US Eastern Daylight Time, 7 hours ahead of CDT, 8 hours ahead of Mountain Daylight Time, and 9 hours ahead of Pacific Daylight Time.

Polls opened at 7 AM in Jerusalem, and the first exit polling is expected around 10 PM, but that is generally considered unreliable.  In the last election in 2013, almost six million votes were cast, in over 10,000 polling places. The voter turnout then was 67.8 percent of eligible voters.

There is a good rundown of some of the issues in the Israeli election here.

In  recent days, Prime Minister Netanyahu's popularity in Israel seems to have taken as hit, as his campaign appearance before the US Congress at the invitation of Republicans appears to have backfired. In an attempt to drive up the far-right vote, he responded in recent days by taking a very hard line on Palestinian statehood. This is a risky gamble, as it might also fire up his opposition.


(Update 3:00 pm CDT):

There is this interesting development:
Increasingly worried that he could lose Tuesday’s elections, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel lashed out at the country’s Arab voters, expressing alarm that a large turnout by them could determine the outcome. Opponents accused him of baldfaced racism.

(Update 3:30 pm CDT):

For what it's worth, results seem to be coming in earlier than expected:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and his chief challenger, Isaac Herzog of the center-left Zionist Union, appeared to win about the same number of seats in Parliament in Tuesday’s election, according to Israeli news media and exit polls, promising a protracted and messy process of forming the next governing coalition.

After a divisive campaign that was seen as a referendum on Mr. Netanyahu’s tenure, an intense push in the final days apparently brought a surge in votes for both major parties, with each expected to take about 27 of the 120 seats.
Together, Each of these two parties looks to take about 22.5% of the total number of seats, which will leave them both scrambling to form a ruling coalition. It would be amusing, of course, if neither of them is able to.

If these preliminary numbers turn out to be the final count, this would be a drop of almost 13% for  Netanahu's Likud party, which won 31 seats in the 19th Knesset in the election of 2013 -- itself a drop of eleven seats from the 18th Knesset. This is a pretty clear trend that doesn't look good in the long run for Likud.


(Update 9:00 pm CDT):

Here's the latest.  It appears that the Likud Party may have the narrowest of pluralities, with 27 or 28 seats as compared to the Zionist Union Party's 26 or 27.
Mr. Netanyahu and his allies seized on the early numbers to create an aura of inevitability, celebrating with singing and dancing. While his opponents vowed a fight, Israeli political analysts agreed that he had the advantage, with more votes having gone to the right-leaning parties likely to support him.

It was a turnabout from the last pre-election polls published Friday, which showed the Zionist Union, led by Isaac Herzog, with a four- or five-seat lead and building momentum. To bridge the gap, Mr. Netanyahu embarked on a last-minute scorched-earth campaign, promising that no Palestinian state would be established as long as he remained in office and insulting Arab citizens.
In what seems to be a typical right-wing pattern there as well as here, Mr. Netanyahu may still win by having played up some of the darkest aspects of political prejudice and mysanthropy.


(final update 8:30 am CDT 3/18):

With the counting all but finished, Netanyahu's Likud Party has won 30 of the 120 seats, to Herzog's Zionist-Union Party's 24, in what amounts to a clear victory. Herzog has conceded defeat, and Israeli pollsters are scrambling to discover how their projections were so far off. Netanyahu has pledged to work "quickly" to form a new government.


  1. Liberals desperately want Bibi to lose, given his increasing alliance with the American right and disgust with Obama. Many liberals are giddily announcing that he is behind, The thing they don't realize is that there are many right wing/religious parties in Israel and that Bibi was able to win last time by forming a coalition with them, So, even if he doesn't get their vote explicitly, he can win by allying with them

    Bibi got a slight bump from the speech, but now is about where he was beforehand. He's still likely to win. If he does lose, it certainly won't be from the speech. Israelis generally hate Obama, but thinking they vote on a speech is about as dumb as thinking Americans vote on Obama giving a speech 2 weeks before an election. Most people vote on their pocketbook, just like here.

    Bib would be only the 2nd Israeli PM to serve for 10 years if he wins.

  2. +++ Israelis generally hate Obama,+++

    You're free to provide evidence of that.

    Conservatives desperately want Bibi to win, because they imagine the election of an ultra-orthodox religious hardliner in another country bodes well for ultra-orthodox religious hardliners in America. What most of them don't realize is a) even if Bibi's party wins a plurality in today's election, that doesn't mean he can cobble together a governing coalition, and b) the United States is not a theocracy anyway, and won't accept the equivalent of Sharia law regardless of what other nations do.

  3. Not looking good for the anti-Bibi forces, based on exit polls. Very high turnout. Clearly, Bibi won't lose although there seems to be conflicting tales of whether Bibi will have to form a unity government with the Left. For now, he is claiming a "great victory" and in negotiations with the Right. Poor Obama is kicking his dog.


  4. +++ Poor Obama is kicking his dog. +++

    Meh. I don't think President Obama cares that much.

    But don't count your chickens yet. With less than 23% of the seats, I wouldn't see Netanyahu has scoring a responding victory. Hell, President Obama absolutely kicked ass, and Republicans still can't acknowledge him as being president.

    But then, you don't know how to even calculate an average.

  5. RG, you must really have some great sources, since the rest of the world thinks the race in Israel is too close to call.

    1. Not so much. Nearly all votes in and its a fairly big win for Bibi. It appears he took many votes from some of the right wing parties and he also slightly outperformed late polls. .My guess is effectively running against Obama was a great last minute move as Obama's petulant response to his speech merely galvanized US Democrats and the MSM against Bibi.....but galvanized Israelis that hate Obama, to vote for Bibi. Huge voter turnout.


    2. Netanyahu's last-minute pitch wasn't to run against President Obama. He ran against Palestine and against Arabs.

      I get that American conservatives are all about hating the Black Guy. You guys really can't get over the fact that Obama won - TWICE -- and very convincingly both times. Other nations have their own concerns though, that aren't about hating the black guy in the White House. It was, after all, YOU who said the Israeli elections would be about pocketbook issues.

      Nice try, though, even if it was pretty out there.