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From The Makeup Of Voter Blocs To Ideology, This Is Your Definitive Guide To The Political Parties Competing In The New Israeli Elections

Consolidations in Israeli politics give Israelis a clear choice in the March election, but expect plenty of surprises nonetheless

Chris Yunker from St. Louis, United States [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

There are several reasons why the elections to the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, that will be held on March 2nd of this year will be the most consequential in over a generation. Most glaringly, this election is the third in a row after the first two (April 2019 and October 2019) failed to result in parliaments that could form governing coalitions of 61 members. The reason for this impasse is not technical; Israel is undergoing a real identity crisis. It is the perfect storm in which deep divisions and lack of consensus on all three of the key issues in Israeli politics: the Arab conflict and permanent borders, the economy, and the secular-religious divide all need to be simultaneously rebalanced.

As we have reported here last night, there were last moment consolidations among several small parties on both the left and the right of the political divide, but now the deadline to make changes has come and gone and the final lists have been published.

This is a comprehensive list:

  • The Likud under the leadership of incumbent PM Benjamin Netanyahu
    • Voters represented: center-right, traditional, but (mostly) non-observant middle class Jews
    • Economic ideology: free enterprise with low to medium progressive taxation
    • Arab conflict management: robust defense, border expansion to include parts of Judea and Samaria
    • Globalist/Nationalist score (10 being ultra-nationalist): 7
    • Secular/Religious balance (with 10 being ultra-religious): 5
    • Expected result: second largest faction, over 30 Knesset seats, form government or lead opposition
  • Blue and While (Kachol Lavan) under the leadership of Benjamin Gantz
    • Voters represented: center-left, secular, mostly Ashkenazi, middle to upper middle class Jews
    • Economic ideology: free enterprise with medium to high taxation
    • Arab conflict management: some concessions to Arabs, no border expansion, possible withdrawal from “isolated settlements” in Judea and Samaria
    • Globalist/Nationalist score (10 being ultra-nationalist): 5
    • Secular/Religious balance (with 10 being ultra-religious): 3
    • Expected result: largest faction with over 30 Knesset seats, forms government or leads opposition
  • United Arab List under the leadership of Aiman Odeh
    • Voters represented: Israeli Arabs
    • Economic ideology: socialist to communist
    • Arab conflict management: full concessions to Arabs, withdrawal from Judea and Samaria, removing the Jewish nature of Israel
    • Globalist/Nationalist score (10 being ultra-nationalist): 1
    • Secular/Religious balance (with 10 being ultra-religious): N/A
    • Expected result: third largest faction with over 10 seats, helps Blue and White to form government supporting it from the outside or opposition
  • Rightward (Yamina) under the leadership of Naftali Bennett
    • Voters represented: Nationalist Jews, highly traditional to religious
    • Economic ideology: free enterprise with low to medium taxation
    • Arab conflict management: very robust posture, extending Israeli law to all Jewish-held territories in Judea and Samaria
    • Globalist/Nationalist score (10 being ultra-nationalist): 9
    • Secular/Religious balance (with 10 being ultra-religious): 8
    • Expected result: difficult to predict because party was created last minute and because of the flux in Israeli right wing politics, four to eight seats likely, joins Likud-led coalition or opposition
  • Labor-Gesher-Meretz under the leadership of Amir Peretz
    • Voters represented: Affluent, liberal, secular, Ashkenazi Jews AND lower socio-economic strata Sephardi and Mizrahi Jews AND organized labor
    • Economic ideology: European-style liberal with large government sector, high taxation on the “rich”, extensive social and welfare programs
    • Arab conflict management: major concessions, withdrawal from Judea, Samaria, East Jerusalem, and the Golan Heights
    • Globalist/Nationalist score (10 being ultra-nationalist): 2
    • Secular/Religious balance (with 10 being ultra-religious): 2
    • Expected result: between four and 8 seats, will join government or opposition under leadership of Blue and White
  • Israel Our Home (Israel Beitenu) under the leadership of Avigdor Lieberman
    • Voters represented: First and second generation of repatriates from former USSR
    • Economic ideology: free enterprise with low to medium taxation
    • Arab conflict management: nominally right wing, but subservient to promoting secular issues and fighting “religious compulsion” such as closing of stores on the Sabbath
    • Globalist/Nationalist score (10 being ultra-nationalist): 8
    • Secular/Religious balance (with 10 being ultra-religious): 0
    • Expected result: four and 8 seats, unpredictable behavior after election results are known, will likely serve (again) as the king maker between Likud and Blue and White
  • Torah Judaism (Yahadut Ha’Torah) under the leadership of Yaakov Litzman
    • Voters represented: ultra-Orthodox Ashkenazi Jews
    • Economic ideology: free enterprise, but with robust social and welfare nets
    • Arab conflict management: agnostic, in recent years mostly right wing supporting settlement in Judea and Samaria
    • Globalist/Nationalist score (10 being ultra-nationalist): 9
    • Secular/Religious balance (with 10 being ultra-religious): 10
    • Expected result: six to eight seats, will join Likud-led coalition willingly, but may be enticed to join Blue and White coalition in exchange for budgets and promises not to change the secular-religious status quo in the secular direction
  • Shas under the leadership of Aryeh Der’i
    • Voters represented: ultra-Orthodox Sephardi Jews
    • Economic ideology: free enterprise, but with robust social and welfare nets
    • Arab conflict management: agnostic, in recent years mostly right wing supporting settlement in Judea and Samaria
    • Globalist/Nationalist score (10 being ultra-nationalist): 9
    • Secular/Religious balance (with 10 being ultra-religious): 10
    • Expected result: six to eight seats, will join Likud-led coalition willingly, but may be enticed to join Blue and White coalition in exchange for budgets and promises not to change the secular-religious status quo in the secular direction
  • Jewish Might (Otzmah Yehudit) under the leadership of Itamar Ben-Gvir
    • Voters represented: Ultra-nationalist, religious Jews living in Judea and Samaria
    • Economic ideology: agnostic
    • Arab conflict management: extreme animosity towards Arabs, annexation of all of Judea and Samaria
    • Globalist/Nationalist score (10 being ultra-nationalist): 10
    • Secular/Religious balance (with 10 being ultra-religious): 9
    • Expected result: will not cross four seat minimum and will not be represented in the next Knesset

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