A Pyrrhic victory

The results speak for themselves. Shas, headed by Arye Deri, registered a resounding success with traditional voters.

By GILAD MALACH
October 17, 2019 19:31
3 minute read.
A Pyrrhic victory

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

The haredi (ultra-Orthodox) parties won the battle – but they lost the war. Their electoral success this month is indeed remarkable, but their political situation is now much worse than it was after the election in April. Even if they join the next coalition, their standing within it will not be that of kingmaker, but of a fifth wheel, and today even that is not assured.

The ultra-Orthodox flocked to the polls en masse, and against all odds, kept their parliamentary representation of 16 seats, the same as their already impressive performance in April. It was a tough fight, because voter turnout in general – and in the Arab sector in particular – was higher than five months ago. The air-of-crisis campaign waged by the ultra-Orthodox parties proved very effective this time. Avigdor Liberman’s call for a secular unity government, which Blue and White ultimately subscribed to, made the ultra-Orthodox genuinely fearful that their political achievements were in danger.

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