Ultra-Orthodox voters for non-ultra-Orthodox parties declines

One reason for this might be that the many attacks on ultra-orthodox parties had brought back several voters to them.

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September 26, 2019 06:04
2 minute read.
Ultra-Orthodox voters for non-ultra-Orthodox parties declines

Shas leader Arye Deri prays at the grave of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef on the morning of elections. (photo credit: YAAKOV COHEN/MAARIV)

Electoral support from inside the haredi (ultra-Orthodox) community for non-haredi parties declined in this month’s general election from the levels seen in the April election.

At the same time, both mainstream haredi parties garnered more votes in the September election.

The Ashkenazi party United Torah Judaism gained an additional 20,000 votes, while the Sepahrdi Shas Party gaining an extra 70,000 votes – although the majority of those votes were likely from the religiously traditional community, particularly from Israel’s geographic periphery, not new haredi voters.

Votes for non-haredi parties, particularly Likud and Yamina, in the key haredi strongholds of Bnei Brak, Elad, Beitar Illit and Modiin Illit, all declined in September from their April tallies.

Using the Likud Party as a barometer, which enjoys the highest rate of haredi support among the non haredi parties, the decline is obvious.

In Bnei Brak, the rate of votes for Likud dropped by half a percentage point, in Elad it dropped by 1.5 percentage points, in Beitar Illit by six tenths of a percentage point and in Modiin Illit by one tenth of a percentage point.

Support for Yamina and Otzma Yehudit also dropped in these haredi strongholds.

There are several reasons for this decline.

One main cause was the notably anti-haredi atmosphere in which the September election was conducted, with Yisrael Beytenu engaging in a vociferous and harsh campaign against the haredi community, it’s political parties and their policies.

Yisrael Beytenu vowed to exclude the ultra-Orthodox from any government, a promise that was duplicated by Blue and White in the final days of the campaign.

According to Dr. Gilad Malach of the Israel Democracy Institute, the fierce attacks against the haredi community led significant numbers of modern haredim to abandon whichever party they had voted for in the past and cast their ballot instead for United Torah Judaism.

Malach said that UTJ may have benefited from an extra 5,000 votes from this sector.

He also estimates that some 5,000 voters from the hard line sector of the religious-Zionist community also voted for UTJ, as well as 5,000 new voters from the haredi community who turned 18 between April and September.

Perhaps 3,000 voters from the Chabad community also switched their votes from the Union of Right-Wing Parties in April, including Otzma Yehudit, which has always done well in the Chabad population.

In this election, however, the Chabad rabbis told their community not to vote for a party which would likely not pass the electoral threshold, so many switched their vote to UTJ, a phenomenon which can be seen in the party’s significantly better results in Kfar Chabad in September over its April showing, where it doubled its support.


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