Israel Elections: Left-wing Labor, Meretz secure 8-9 seats - exit polls

These parties make up the left-wing bloc together with bloc leader Yesh Atid, led by current prime minister Yair Lapid. In total, the left-wing bloc is estimated at 55 seats.

 Labor Party leader Merav Michaeli, Meretz leader Zehava Galon (photo credit: TOMER NEUBERG/FLASH90, YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)
Labor Party leader Merav Michaeli, Meretz leader Zehava Galon
(photo credit: TOMER NEUBERG/FLASH90, YONATAN SINDEL/FLASH90)

As voting booths closed throughout the country at 10pm, early exit polls have shown left-wing parties Labor and Meretz securing 11 Knesset seats — 6 to Labor and 5 to Meretz.

These parties make up the left-wing bloc together with bloc leader Yesh Atid, led by current Prime Minister Yair Lapid. In total, the left-wing bloc is estimated at 55 seats as of Tuesday night, though the final count may differ.

The challenges facing the Israeli Left

The Labor Party’s presence in Knesset was anticipated, as polls indicated that the party would receive more than the necessary 3.25% vote threshold and secure around 5 seats by the end of the day.

The primary challenges facing the party were the risk of left-wing voters turning away from Labor in favor of supporting bloc leader Yesh Atid, led by Lapid; and the chance that the party’s voting base may not vote in its entirety.

 Labor leader Merav Michaeli is seen at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on June 13, 2022. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST) Labor leader Merav Michaeli is seen at the Knesset in Jerusalem, on June 13, 2022. (credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

Labor leader Merav Michaeli issued a call to democratic arms to her voting base at the outset of the day, saying: “Take yourselves, your family, your friends, put up a post, make phone calls, make sure that no one succumbs to despair, God forbid, because it’s in our hands, we can win.”

“Take yourselves, your family, your friends, put up a post, make phone calls, make sure that no one succumbs to despair, God forbid, because it’s in our hands, we can win.”

Merav Michaeli

This election carried a great deal of weight for Meretz. At the outset of election day it was uncertain whether the left-wing party would garner enough votes to surpass the 3.25% voting threshold in order to enter Knesset, which would result in a bolstered presence from the bloc of right-wing parties led by Likud’s Benjamin Netanyahu.

At a voting station in Petah Tikva earlier today, Meretz leader Zehava Galon reiterated that a stronger presence from right-wing parties — including the Otzma Yehudit party led by outspoken political extremist Itamar Ben Gvir — could lead to the establishment of a highly prejudiced regime.

“These are the first elections in the country’s history [presenting a choice] between democracy and Kahanism,” Galon said.

In former elections, parties which rest on the verge of the vote threshold have run what are sometimes referred to as “gevalt” campaigns — a Yiddish term which expresses exasperation — heavily emphasizing the importance of their role in mitigating potential disaster. Speaking to Ynet earlier this week, Galon referred to the high stakes of the party’s current campaign as the “mother of [all] gevalt.”