Jerusalem Post’s guide to the April 9 elections

Who could have known then that the election would end up as exciting as it has become?

By
March 10, 2019 13:19
THE BALLOT slips from the last elections are seen this week at the Israel Central Election Committee

THE BALLOT slips from the last elections are seen this week at the Israel Central Election Committee Logistics Center in Shoham. . (photo credit: AMMAR AWAD / REUTERS)

 
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The night that the election was initiated, on December 24, an Al Jazeera anchor asked whether there was any chance that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu could lose the election.

When she received a reply that Israel is a democracy – unlike most of the countries that watch Al Jazeera – and therefore anything can happen, she laughed a little too loud and too long.

But who could have known then that the election would end up as exciting as it has become?
Since that day in December, the election has had four critical turning points:

• December 27 – Former IDF chief Benny Gantz entered the race,
• January 29 – Gantz delivered his maiden political address,
• February 21 – his Blue and White Party was formed with Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid, and
• February 28 – Netanyahu’s indictment pending a hearing was issued.

At each of those points, the polls changed – although out of the four, the indictment surprisingly ended up having the least political impact. The Likud has remained relatively consistent through each turning point, while its opponents have rearranged themselves strategically.

This is an election that could be decided not only at the top of the mandates list – with the usual “To Bibi or not to Bibi” vote that Israelis have become accustomed to – but also at the bottom of the list, by which parties cross the 3.25% electoral threshold, and which parties are left out beneath it.

When the voting is over, President Reuven Rivlin will look at which party received the most votes, which bloc is the largest and which party leader received the most recommendations from the factions, and decide who can form the most stable government.

But between now and then, the election could turn upside down and either Center-Left or Center-Right side up – dozens of times.
To ease that vertigo, as in past elections, The Jerusalem Post presents a political guide to the perplexed, with the parties, polls and personalities, as well as the crucial question of preferences for the coalition that will be built after April 9.

Blue and White
Poll Position seats: 35-37
Current Knesset seats: 11 from Yesh Atid
Top candidates: 1. Benny Gantz, 2. Yair Lapid, 3. Moshe Ya’alon, 4. Gabi Ashkenazi, 5. Avi Nissenkorn, 6. Meir Cohen, 7. Miki Haimovich, 8. Ofer Shelah, 9. Yoaz Hendel, 10. Orna Barbivai
Anglo candidates: 12. Chili Tropper, 42. Moshe Tur-Paz, 43. Ruth Wasserman Lande, 45. Alon Tal, 6. Michal Cotler-Wunsh
Coalition preference: A national unity government led by Gantz as prime minister, with the post-Netanyahu Likud as its top coalition partner. Would not join Netanyahu-led government.

Likud
Poll Position seats: 29-31
Current Knesset seats: 30
Top candidates: 1. Benjamin Netanyahu, 2. Yuli Edelstein, 3. Israel Katz, 4. Gilad Erdan, 5. Gideon Sa’ar, 6. Miri Regev, 7. Yariv Levin, 8. Yoav Gallant, 9. Nir Barkat, 10. Gila Gamliel.
Anglo candidates: 28. Sharren Haskel, 42. Yehudah Glick
Coalition preference: A right-wing government led by Netanyahu with 61 MKs from the Center-Right bloc, plus another party or two for insurance.

Labor
Poll Position seats: 7-9
Current Knesset seats: 19
Top candidates: 1. Avi Gabbay, 2. Tal Rousso, 3. Itzik Shmuli, 4. Stav Shaffir, 5. Shelly Yacimovich
Anglo candidates: 12. Yair “Yaya” Fink
Coalition preference: A government led by Gantz. Won’t join Netanyahu-led government or coalition with Yisrael Beytenu or Union of Right-Wing Parties (URP).

Hadash-Ta’al
Poll Position seats: 7-9
Current Knesset seats: 6
Top candidates: 1. Ayman Odeh, 2. Ahmad Tibi, 3. Aida Touma-Sliman, 4. Osama Sa’adi, 5. Ofer Kassif
Anglo candidates: None
Coalition preference: None

United Torah Judaism
Poll Position seats: 7
Current Knesset seats: 6
Top candidates: 1. Ya’acov Litzman, 2. Moshe Gafni, 3. Meir Porush, 4. Uri Maklev, 5. Yaakov Tessler
Anglo candidates: 8. Yitzhak Pindrus
Coalition preference: Netanyahu-led coalition that does not include Blue and White.

Union of Right-Wing Parties (URP)
Poll Position seats: 5-8
Current Knesset seats: 5
Top candidates: 1. Rafi Peretz, 2. Bezalel Smotrich, 3. Moti Yogev, 4. Ophir Sofer, 5. Michael Ben-Ari
Anglo candidates: None
Coalition preference: Right-wing government led by Netanyahu. Would not join government led by Gantz.

New Right
Poll Position seats: 5-7
Current Knesset seats: 3
Top candidates: 1. Naftali Bennett, 2. Ayelet Shaked, 3. Alona Barkat, 4. Matan Kahana, 5. Shuli Moalem-Refaeli
Anglo candidates: 1. Bennett, 6. Caroline Glick, 23. Jeremy Saltan
Coalition preference: Right-wing government led by Netanyahu, with New Right as its largest coalition partner. Would not join government led by Gantz.

Meretz
Poll Position seats: 4-6
Current Knesset seats: 5
Top candidates: 1. Tamar Zandberg, 2. Ilan Gilon, 3. Michal Rozin, 4. Esawi Frej, 5. Ali Salalha
Coalition preference: Center-Left government led by Gantz, without the Union of Right-Wing Parties or the New Right. Would not join government formed by Netanyahu.

Shas
Poll Position seats: 4-6
Current Knesset seats: 7
Top candidates: 1. Arye Deri, 2. Yitzhak Cohen, 3. Meshulam Nahari, 4. Ya’acov Margi, 5. Yoav Ben-Tzur
Anglo candidates: None
Coalition preference: Netanyahu-led coalition that does not include Blue and White.

Kulanu
Poll Position seats: 4-6
Current Knesset seats: 10
Top candidates: 1. Moshe Kahlon, 2. Eli Cohen, 3. Yifat Shasha-Biton, 4. Roy Folkman, 5. Tali Ploskov
Anglo candidates: None
Coalition preference: Prefers Netanyahu-led government but does not rule out joining coalition led by Gantz. Would join Netanyahu-led government, but would leave if he is indicted after his hearing.

Yisrael Beytenu
Poll Position seats: 0-4
Current Knesset seats: 5
Top candidates: 1. Avigdor Liberman, 2. Oded Forer, 3. Evgeny Sova, 4. Eli Avidar, 5. Yulia Malinovsky
Anglo candidates: None
Coalition preference: Right-wing government led by Netanyahu. Would not join government led by Gantz.

Balad-United Arab List
Poll Position seats: 0-4
Current Knesset seats: 6
Top candidates: 1. Mansour Abbas, 2. Mtanes Shehadeh, 3. Abdel Hakim Haj Yahya, 4. Hibi Yazbek, 5. Taleb Abu Arar
Anglo candidates: None
Coalition preference: None

Gesher
Poll Position seats: 0-4
Current Knesset seats: 1
Top candidates: 1. Orly Levy-Abecassis, 2. Dedi Perlmutter, 3. Yifat Bitton, 4. Hagai Reznik, 5. Gilad Semama
Anglo candidates: 9. Haggai Lavie
Coalition preference: Politically flexible. Would join Netanyahu-led government, but would leave if he is indicted after his hearing.

Zehut
Poll Position seats: 0-4
Current Knesset seats: 0
Top candidates: 1. Moshe Feiglin, 2. Haim Amsalem, 3. Gilad Alper, 4. Ronit Dror, 5. Libby Molad
Anglo candidates: 10. Ben-Zion Spitz, 12. Shmuel Sackett, 13. Shlomo Gordon, 19. Zvi Sand, 20. David Sidman, 31. Rafi Farber
Coalition preference: Politically flexible

Parties that don’t cross threshold in any poll
Poll Position seats: 0
Current Knesset seats: 0 (Tzomet leader Oren Hazan does not count. He is still a Likud MK)
Top candidates: None
Anglo candidates: 1. Dennis Avi Lipkin in the Bible Bloc Party, 9. Rumi Zonder-Kislev in Magen
Coalition preference: Any

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