Analysis: Fence didn't affect settler vote

Investigation shows their vote was unaffected by their location in or outside of the separation barrier.

settlers 88 (photo credit: )
settlers 88
(photo credit: )
An initial investigation of the election results in the 57 Jewish settlements in the electoral district of Judea indicates that most settlers voted according to traditional political affiliations and that their preferences were not affected by whether or not they were located inside or outside the separation barrier currently under construction. Perhaps the most noteworthy development was the strong showing of Baruch Marzel's National Jewish Front in many of the settlements, particularly among the most ideological of them. The Judea electoral district contains 57 settlements, including the city of Ma'aleh Adumim and the Jerusalem suburb of Givat Ze'ev. Of these 57, 18 are included within the fence, 28 are located outside the fence, and 11 are located along the Jordan Rift. The latter are technically also outside the fence, but Prime Minister-designate Ehud Olmert has made it clear that he intends to maintain control over the Jordan Valley. The area includes the Gush Etzion bloc, most of whose settlements are expected to remain within the fence. The results indicate, that even though the future of these residents is "assured," they voted en masse for the National Union-NRP list. In Alon Shvut, for example, 72.87 percent of the 1,504 voters cast their ballots for the NU-NRP and another 13.36% for the Likud. Efrat, with 3,456 voters, voted 64.24% for the NU-NRP list and 15.26% for the Likud. Kadima received less than 2% of the votes in these communities. In other communities, which are to remain within the fence and are more or less satellites of Jerusalem, the figures were strikingly different. In Har Adar, for example, with 1,223 voters, 27.56% cast their ballots for the Labor Party and 33.61% for Kadima. Only 3.6% voted for the NU-NRP and 9.32% for the Likud. In Har Gilo, 30.4% voted for Kadima and 14.98% for Labor, while 9.25% voted for the NU-NRP and 10.13% voted for the Likud. Ma'aleh Adumim, the only real city in this electoral district, leans strongly to the right. A total of 39% voted for the National-Union-NRP and the Likud, and another 15.6% voted for Israel Beiteinu. Perhaps the most ominous results among the settlements which are slated to remain within the separation barrier were recorded in Bat Ayin, where 42.32% of the 241 voters cast their ballots for Marzel. It was his strongest proportional showing in the district. The settlements that are slated to remain outside the separation barrier include some of the most ideological of all the communities in the West Bank. They include Beit El, Ofra, Ma'aleh Levona, Shilo and Kiryat Arba. In all of these, the NU-NRP list scored high. In Beit El, for example, 81.92% of the voters cast their ballots for that party. In Ofra, 82.75%; in Ma'aleh Levona, 71.88%; and in the less monolithic Kiryat Arba, 42.67%. The NU-NRP scored high in other, less historic settlements, most of which were originally founded by Gush Emunim. In Eli, 74.3% voted for the party; in Otniel, 83.81%; in Psagot, 84.95%; in Shilo, 76.92%. Haredi settlers stuck to their own parties even though Shas and United Torah Judaism appeared to be less committed to maintaining Israel's presence in the West Bank than the NU-NRP and the Likud. In Betar Illit, which is included within the fence, 54.16% of the 7,779 voters cast their ballots for United Torah Judaism, while 37.83% chose Shas. Assuming that Olmert is serious about his plans for a disengagement in the West Bank, he will have to pay serious attention to the strength of Marzel's supporters in many of those which are to be evacuated. Marzel, it should be noted, advocated civil war against those "traitors" willing to relinquish more West Bank territory. In the old city of Hebron, it is not surprising to find that Marzel won 35.56% of the district's 225 votes. However, he also managed to garner relatively large support in more established settlements. In Beit El, for example, 7.24% of the settlement's 2,279 voters cast their ballots for him. In Kochav Hashahar, he won 10.58%; in Kochav Ya'acov, 12.44%; in Karmei Tzur, 8.8%; in Ma'aleh Levona, 14.73%; in Ma'aleh Michmash, 9.9%; in Nahliel, with 95 voters, 36.84%; in Tekoa, 11.58%. All of these settlements are slated to end up on the Palestinian side of the fence. It appears that the events of the past decades have not caused major political changes in the group of kibbutzim and moshavim built by the Labor Party in the decade after the Six Day War. In Mitzpe Shalem, Labor won 36.11% of the vote; in Niran (with 36 voters) 80.56%. In Na'ama, Kadima won 61.82%. In Kalya, Kadima and Labor together took 45% of the vote.