Netanyahu ponders lowering electoral threshold

Internal polling shows Shas and Yisrael Beytenu are in danger of not reaching the current 3.25% threshold.

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October 23, 2017 01:02
1 minute read.
A general view shows the plenum during the swearing-in ceremony of the 20th Knesset, the new Israeli

A general view shows the plenum during the swearing-in ceremony of the 20th Knesset, the new Israeli parliament, in Jerusalem March 31, 2015.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is considering to lower the electoral threshold, his office confirmed on Sunday night.

Three-and-a-half years ago, the Knesset raised the electoral threshold from 2% to 3.25%, as part of a Yesh Atid-pushed legislative package meant to stabilize governments. The increase pushed Arab parties to form the Joint List and nearly left Meretz outside of the Knesset. 

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Channel 2 reported that Netanyahu is thinking of bringing the threshold back to 2%, but his spokesmen said the prime minister hasn’t decided on a number.

In addition, Netanyahu has yet to discuss the idea with his coalition partners. A source close to Netanyahu said the idea came after the prime minister saw polls indicating that Shas and Yisrael Beytenu may not pass the threshold.

Lowering the electoral threshold will “reinforce the right-wing bloc,” he said.

Some of those partners are likely to rally behind the proposal because a source close to Netanyahu said the idea came after the prime minister saw polls indicating that Shas and Yisrael Beytenu may not pass the threshold.

The source said lowering the electoral threshold will “reinforce the right-wing bloc.

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Shas leader Arye Deri, however, told a close associate that “Netanyahu stabbed us in the back… Shas will grow stronger in the next election and doesn’t need any favors from Netanyahu. “Netanyahu gets Shas’s support, and in response, he is initiating moves against Shas without consulting with us… Lowering the electoral threshold will not pass – don’t even try it,” Deri warned.

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