(photo credit: REUTERS)
For the second election in a row, more settlers voted for Bayit Yehudi then for any other party, but the right-wing movement headed by Naftali Bennett just barely beat out the Likud, headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Data compiled by Dani Dayan, former head of the Council of Jewish Communities of Judea and Samaria and The Jerusalem Post, show that Bayit Yehudi garnered 25 percent of the settler vote, compared with 24% for the Likud. That compares with the 28% received by Bayit Yehudi and 21% by Likud in the 2013 election.
Overall, a higher number of settlers voted, 79% compared to the national average of 72%, though the actual number of settler ballots – 163,708 – represents just 3.8% of the total 4.2 million votes cast.
In the last two years, settlers have been quick to express their frustration with Netanyahu, who they felt did not do enough to support West Bank settlement building.
For example, yeshiva students may have greeted Netanyahu with song and dance during his campaign stop in the Eli settlement, but voters there overwhelming chose Bayit Yehudi at 50% compared to the 21% that supported the Likud.
The Likud did particularly well in Ma’aleh Adumim, however, with 24% of all its votes in Judea and Samaria coming from that one settlement alone. The strong showing there also helped the Likud regain steam compared to the previous election. On Tuesday, some 47% of Ma’aleh Adumim residents voted Likud, compared to 41% in the last election.
Similarly, in Ariel, long a Likud stronghold, 46% of that city voted for the prime minister’s party. The Likud also did well in Oranit, Alfei Menashe and Givat Ze’ev.
The Bayit Yehudi, in contrast, did well in a larger number of settlements, such as Efrat, Karnei Shomron, Kiryat Arba, Kedumim and Ofra.
Not all of the settler votes went to the Likud and Bayit Yehudi, however.
The majority of residents in the haredi settlements of Modi’in Illit and Betar Illit voted for the ultra-religious party United Torah Judaism.
Overall, that party garnered 17% of the vote in Judea and Samaria, followed by the far-right party Yahad headed by Eli Yishai at 10% and Shas at 7%.
The Zionist Union received 5% of the settler vote, doing particularly well in settlements that also are kibbutzim and which were built by the Labor party. It also did well in some settlements close to the pre-1967 border such Har Adar, where more residents, 38%, voted for it than any other party.
Although Avigdor Liberman lives in the Nokdim settlement, he received just 2.8% of the vote in Judea and Samaria, compared to Yair Lapid’s party, Yesh Atid, which received 4.2% of the vote, and Kulanu at 3.7%.
Even in Nokdim itself, Bayit Yehudi received 39% of the vote, followed by the Likud with 28% and then Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu with 16% of the vote.
Just before the election Liberman visited the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, but didn’t actually receive any votes from that community, although two of its members voted for the Zionist Union.