Israel Election 2021: Who is running and what do you need to know?

POLITICAL AFFAIRS: For the fourth time in two years, we present the Guide for the Politically Perplexed

THE PARTIES vying for the next Knesset have six weeks left to woo voters before the March 23 Election Day. (photo credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)
THE PARTIES vying for the next Knesset have six weeks left to woo voters before the March 23 Election Day.
(photo credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)
 The campaign for Israel’s fourth election in under two years began in earnest with the completion of the process of submitting lists to the Central Elections Committee last Thursday night.
Since then, the parties have done the expected mudslinging against their rivals, with every party aiming at Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Gideon Sa’ar and Naftali Bennett fighting each other more and more intensely. 
But they have also made an effort to emphasize content and policies, in order to woo voters who are sick of political infighting.
Sa’ar presented a plan on education. Bennett convened his coronavirus cabinet. Yair Lapid unveiled a plan for helping the elderly. 
Netanyahu’s spokesmen made a point of emphasizing that he left his trial after 15 minutes to focus on serious issues like fighting the coronavirus and meeting with the prime minister of Greece.
The parties are just getting into their political strategy for the March 23 election, sending out campaign videos on WhatsApp and social media. 
The polls have not changed dramatically since the lists were set. The Likud remains well ahead of any other party, and Yesh Atid is set solidly in second place.
As expected, Yamina is in place to act as the kingmaker to either empower Netanyahu again or bring about his downfall. The poll numbers apparently worried Netanyahu so much that he went to the right-wing Channel 20 to warn against more “rotations” in the Prime Minister’s Office, after the rotation he promised last time and did not honor. 
But the election could end up being decided not at the top of the polls but at the bottom, where Meretz, Blue and White, the Religious Zionist Party and United Arab List (Ra’am) are fighting for their political lives and Labor could soon join them. It is impossible to predict which parties will survive the 3.25% electoral threshold and which will flush away tens of thousands of votes.
As with past elections, The Jerusalem Post presents a “guide for the politically perplexed” as a service to its readers. The guide includes the candidates, poll numbers and strategies of every party that crossed the threshold in the past week’s polls. The guide also includes Anglo candidates, as defined by their parties, and English websites if the parties have them. 
Poll position: 28-31
Top five: Benjamin Netanyahu, Yuli Edelstein, Israel Katz, Miri Regev, Yariv Levin
Top Anglo candidate: US citizen Yair Gabai, 36; US-born Yehudah Glick, No. 43
English website: (Top story is Netanyahu hosting Prince William three years ago.)
Strategy: Presenting Netanyahu as a leader running against politicians. Painting him as a unifier and statesman and emphasizing his role in bringing vaccines and peace deals. Warning that voting for another party on the Right could result in missing an opportunity for a right-wing government and could bring “Yair Lapid and the Left” to power. 
Yesh Atid
Poll position: 18
Top five: Yair Lapid, Orna Barbivai, Meir Cohen, Karin Elharar, Meirav Cohen
Top Anglo candidate: US-born Moshe Tur-Paz, 21; Anglo division head Michal Cababia, 29
Strategy: Presenting Lapid as a clean and professional alternative to Netanyahu, who will form a “sane government” and end political chaos. Disregarding Netanyahu’s mudslinging against Lapid and presenting Netanyahu’s handling of the coronavirus as a failure that cost thousands of lives. 
New Hope
Poll position: 13-14
Top five: Gideon Sa’ar, Yifat Shasha-Biton, Ze’ev Elkin, Yoaz Hendel, Sharren Haskel
Top Anglo candidate: Canadian-born Haskel, 5; English campaign head Jonathan Javor, 42
Strategy: Presenting Sa’ar as the candidate most fit to succeed Netanyahu and bring about unity and stability. Emphasizing the need to replace Netanyahu while keeping the Right in power. Focusing on the need to decentralize the national government in favor of local authorities.
Poll position: 11-13
Top five: Naftali Bennett, Ayelet Shaked, Alon Davidi, Matan Kahana, Amichai Chikli
Top Anglo candidate: Former US citizen Bennett, 1; Chicago-born Jeremy Saltan, 16 
English website: None. Party also lacks Hebrew website. Both coming soon. 
Strategy: Presenting Bennett as the true professional who can bring about a more efficient government focusing on the needs of the people, especially in the fight against the health and economic crises caused by the coronavirus. Saying that Netanyahu needs to be replaced but avoiding at all costs being defined as either the pro-Netanyahu or anti-Netanyahu camp, in order to maintain support from both camps.
Joint List
Poll position: 8-9
Top five: Ayman Odeh, Ahmad Tibi, Sami Abu Shehadeh, Aida Touma-Sliman, Osama Saadi
Top Anglo candidate: None
English website: None
Strategy: Presenting the need for Arabs to get out the vote to maximize the power of the Joint List in the next Knesset.
Poll position: 8
Top five: Arye Deri, Ya’acov Margi, Yoav Ben-Tzur, Michael Malkieli, Haim Biton
Top Anglo candidate: None
English website: None
Strategy: Presenting Shas as an island of stability in a chaotic world that its voters can rely on, inspired by God and by the late Shas mentor Rabbi Ovadia Yosef.
Poll position: 7
Top five: Moshe Gafni, Ya’acov Litzman, Uri Maklev, Meir Porush, Yakov Asher
Top Anglo candidate: Former US citizen Yitzhak Pindrus, 7
English website: None 
Strategy: Presenting the need for haredim to get out the vote to maximize the power of UTJ in the next Knesset.
Yisrael Beytenu
Poll position: 6-7
Top five: Avigdor Liberman, Oded Forer, Evgeny Sova, Eli Avidar, Yulia Malinovsky
Top Anglo candidate: None
English website: None 
Strategy: Presenting Netanyahu as weak against the haredim and failing at stopping the coronavirus, using the slogan “Liberman: Ending the rule of the haredim.”
Poll position: 5-7
Top five: Merav Michaeli, Omer Bar Lev, Emilie Moatti, Gilad Kariv, Efrat Rayten
Top Anglo candidate: None, but party emphasizes that Kariv is a Reform rabbi, and eighth candidate Nachman Shai chaired the United Jewish Communities
English website: (still lists Amir Peretz as leader) 
Strategy: Presenting Michaeli and Labor as an honest alternative for voters on the Left. The Hebrew word for truth, “emet,” is the party’s symbol on the ballot. Not directly endorsing Lapid to form the next government. 
Blue and White
Poll position: 4-5
Top five: Benny Gantz, Pnina Tamano-Shata, Chili Tropper, Michael Biton, Orit Farkash-Hacohen
Top Anglo candidate: South African-raised Ruth Wasserman Lande, 10; US-born Alon Tal, 11 
English website: None 
Strategy: Portraying Gantz as an honest leader who can end the political manipulations of Netanyahu. Gantz, who is acting justice minister, says he wants to keep the portfolio in the next government, which he says will not be led by Netanyahu.
Religious Zionist Party
Poll position: 0-5
Top five: Bezalel Smotrich, Michal Woldiger, Itamar Ben-Gvir, Simcha Rothman, Orit Struck
Top Anglo candidate: None
English website: None 
Strategy: Emphasizing the need for ideology and substance on the Right and not abandoning the ideals of the Right despite the current focus on the coronavirus. 
Poll position: 0-4
Top five: Nitzan Horowitz, Tamar Zandberg, Yair Golan, Ghaida Rinawie Zoabi, Esawi Frej
Top Anglo candidate: US-born Laura Wharton, 12 
English website: None, but English platform available from Wharton
Strategy: Using the betrayals by other parties in the past three elections to remind voters on the Left that Meretz is the only safe vote for those who do not want to continue to empower Netanyahu.
Ra’am (United Arab List)
Poll position: 0-4
Top five: Mansour Abbas, Mazen Ghanaim, Waleed Taha, Saeed Alharomi, Iman Yassin Khatib
Top Anglo candidate: None
English website: None 
Strategy: Persuading Arab voters that they can have an impact on the next government’s policies, despite not joining it, by cooperating with parties on the Right and not being seen as in the Left’s pocket.•