Candidates on the cusp: Voters to decide their fate

Voters to decide fate of candidates on the pollsters’ borders.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
March 16, 2015 07:43
3 minute read.
Campaign billboards in Tel Aviv

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni are depicted on Likud and Zionist Union campaign billboards in Tel Aviv March 15. (photo credit: REUTERS)

The Panels Research poll published in Friday’s Jerusalem Post found that 12 percent of the voters eligible to cast ballots in Tuesday’s election remained undecided.

The poll found that about half the respondents leaning toward Likud were also considering Bayit Yehudi, and vice versa. Among respondents leaning toward Zionist Union, more than half were mulling ballots for Yesh Atid.

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It also found that Yesh Atid’s unsure voters might change their minds to Zionist Union or Kulanu. Undecided voters leaning toward Kulanu were all over the political map, some considering Bayit Yehudi, some Yesh Atid and some Likud.

When asked what would decide their vote, respondents tended to say socioeconomic issues, with security a close second. Some admitted they would also consider the personality of the party leader before casting their ballot.

But almost no one takes into account what their votes actually do: Decide the fate of the candidates on the cusp of the parties they are considering.

No matter what happens Tuesday, party leaders Benjamin Netanyahu, Isaac Herzog, Yair Lapid, Naftali Bennett and Moshe Kahlon will be elected to the next Knesset. After all, they are first on their party’s list of candidates.

It is the candidates on the cusp who will be working hardest on Election Day, because they have no idea whether they will be winning a new, sought-after job that pays well, brings them to the limelight and enables them to serve the public.

The website Jeremy’s Knesset Insider, which averages polling figures, found that the 16 polls published in major media outlets from March 8 to March 13 gave the Zionist Union an average of 24.38 mandates, the Likud 21.69, the Joint (Arab) List 23.63, Yesh Atid 12.38, Bayit Yehudi 11.88, Kulanu 8.81, Shas 7.25, United Torah Judaism 6.56, Yisrael Beytenu 5.31, Meretz 5.06, and Yahad 4.25.

The following candidates are on the cusp, according to those figures:

Zionist Union:

No. 24 = Eyal Ben-Reuven, a reserve IDF major-general who left Meretz shortly before the final day for submitting lists to the Knesset.

He was offered a reserved slot on the Zionist Union list by Hatnua co-head Tzipi Livni.

No. 25 = Yael Cohen Paran, an environmentalist who heads the Green Movement and is active in a Conservative synagogue. She wants to advance religious pluralism in the Knesset and was also given a reserved slot by Livni.

Likud:

No. 21 = David “Dudi” Amsalem, former head of the Jerusalem municipal beautification committee, who won a slot on the list reserved for a candidate from the capital.

No. 22 = Kiryat Gat deputy mayor Miki Machloof Zohar, who won a slot reserved for a candidate from the Negev.

No. 23 = Dr. Anat Berko, an internationally respected authority on terrorism who was given a reserved slot by Netanyahu.

Joint (Arab) List:

No. 12 = Osama Sa’adya, a lawyer who represented security prisoners in Israeli jails, brother-in-law of MK Ahmed Tibi and secretary-general the Ta’al Party.

No. 13 = Abdullah Abu Maruf, a Druse doctor involved with Physicians for Human Rights.

Yesh Atid:

No. 12 = Hatnua MK Elazar Stern, a former IDF general who fought in the outgoing Knesset for more moderate laws on conversion and other matters of religion and state.

No. 13 = MK Pnina Tamanu-Shata, a lawyer and journalist, and the first Ethiopian-born female MK in Israel’s history.

Bayit Yehudi:

No. 11 = Nir Orbach, a Bennett confidant who is the party’s director-general.

No. 12 = Former IDF chief rabbi Avichai Ronsky.

No. 13 = MK Orit Struck, a Hebron resident who heads the Knesset’s Land of Israel caucus.

Kulanu:

No. 8 = Eli Cohen, an accountant who was vice president of the Israel Land Development Company.

No. 9 = Roy Folkman, a former adviser to Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat who went to Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

Shas:

No. 7 = MK Yitzhak Vaknin.

No. 8 = MK Avraham Michaeli.

United Torah Judaism:

No. 6 = MK Yisrael Eichler.

No. 7 = MK Ya’acov Asher.

Yisrael Beytenu:

No. 5 = Journalist Sharon Gal.

No. 6 = Druse MK Hamed Amar.

Meretz:

No. 5 = MK Tamar Zandberg.

No. 6 = Former MK Mossy Raz.

Yahad:

No. 4 = Hebron activist Baruch Marzel.

No. 5 = Rabbi Sasson Trabelsi.


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