Monday, February 09, 2009

MZ's Complete Israeli Election Coverage

As of this typing, the polls in Israel are just hours from opening, and the military voting has already begun. MZ will be tracking all the latest results, updates, analysis and reports to keep you informed of how things are shaping up in the election. Keep checking back regularly to see the latest updates and analysis.

With polls about to open, what will be the political landscape in Israel 24 hours from now? Who will win? What coalitions will be formed? There will no doubt be some surprises, as Israeli polls are notoriously inaccurate.

Heading into election day, here is MZ's "Poll of Polls" results forecast:
  • Likud - 28 seats
  • Kadima - 22 seats
  • Yisroel Bieteinu - 21 seats
  • Labor - 14 seats
  • Shas - 9 seats
  • Ichud Leumi (NU) - 6 seats
  • Meretz - 6 seats
  • Torah Judaism - 5 seats
  • Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) - 3 seats
  • Hadash (Arab) - 3 seats
  • Ra'am Taal (arab) - 3 seats
So, based on these numbers there will be some real complicated coalition options for Bibi and Likud. Does he form a center-left, center-right government? Trying to figure it out is anyone's guess, but here's my best whack.

Bibi wants to build the largest coalition possible, we know this, and he must have Lieberman in order to do this if these numbers hold true. Having Lieberman means not having Labor, who has made it clear they will not sit in a government that includes him. So, what will that shake out? Well, let's look at the possibility that I believe makes the most sense.

  • Likud - 28
  • Yisroel Beteinu - 21
  • Shas - 9
  • National Union - 6
  • UTJ - 5
  • Jewish Home - 3
  • Total - 72

What you'll see from this is the most right wing coalition possible given the current lineup, and Netanyahu would have pressure from the smaller rightwing parties to avoid any concessions with the arabs if he hopes to maintain his government. Kadima and Labor (why are these parties not merged?) would lead the opposition from the left.

Now, if things swing a little differently in the final tally the whole coalition landscape could change. If Bibi only wins 25 seats, NU gets only 3-4 , Jewish Home misses the threshold, Lieberman picks up only 16-17 seats, and Kadima gets 23-24 seats the government will be a unity looking something like this:

  • Likud - 25
  • Kadima - 23
  • Labor - 14
  • Shas - 9
  • UTJ - 5
  • Total: 76

In this scenario, Yisroel Bieteinu would lead a very weak, disjointed opposition that would essentially comprise of tiny NU, Meretz, and Arab parties, which could not really work together at all. Bibi would be free to concede whatever he and the US wishes to the arabs without worrying about losing his coalition. This is the dangerous scenario for the right, and if it comes to pass will be a total disaster for the Yishuv communities of Judea and Samaria.

I think it could go either way, but if the scenerio of a leftwing coalition comes to pass than we should all point the finger directly at Moshe Feiglin, who after being expelled to 36th on the Likud list still campaigned AGAINST the nationalist parties, particularly harming the National Union which is Feiglin's ideological home. If the NU is a tiny, weak party instead a robust coalition force that could have forced Bibi to form a right leaning government, than Feiglin's division of the nationalist camp would prove an epic, tragic mistake that has disastrous ramifications for the Settler communities of Eretz Israel.

We shall see in the next 24 hours...


UPDATE, 2/10, 9:00am ET: NU's Baruch Marzel, a Zionist activist, was banned today at the last minute by police from entering the city of Umm El Fahm as election station supervisor. Umm El Fahm is a city in Israel comprised entirely of arabs that has long been a hotbead of islamic extremism and election fraud. Dr. Arieh Eldad of the NU has replaced Marzel, but that didn't stop the moslems from rioting and threatening him outside of the station. Rocks were thrown at security forces, and shouts of "Death to the Jews!" could be heard.

It's rather ironic that Israel permits gay parades in Jerusalem and allows anti-Israel protests in every city by PLO activists, but bans Jewish nationalists from entering arab-Israeli cities because it may offend and provoke them.


UPDATE, 2/10, 3:55pm ET: Livni beats Bibi...or did she? The exit polls show Kadima has won the election with roughly 29 seats to Netanyahu's 27, which is a stunning reversal over the final week of the election cycle. The problem for Livni is how she will put together a coalition, because the rest of the left lost badly, meaning her only chance of forming a unity government is with the right. MZ's party, Ichud Leumi, fell sharply from the polls prediction of 6 seats down to just 3, while the left-leaning national religious party, NRP, was able to overachieve and net an anticipated 4 seats.

Here are the early results:
  • Kadima: 29
  • Likud: 27
  • Israel Bieteinu: 15
  • Labor: 14
  • Shas: 9
  • UTJ: 5
  • Meretz: 4
  • NRP: 4
  • Hadash: 4
  • NU: 3
  • Balad: 3
NOTE: The exit polls are not always so accurate, so don't be surprised if these numbers shift around quite a bit between now and and Wednesday night.


UPDATE, 2/10, 10:34pm: With 99% of the vote counted, Likud and Kadima are in a photo finish. Results currently show Kadima leading Likud 28-27, but the military and absentee votes remain to be counted and they are likely to lean heavily Likud, making it possible we will have a tie when it's all said and done. Here's the current results:

  • Kadima: 28
  • Likud: 27
  • Yisrael Beiteinu: 15
  • Labor: 13
  • Shas: 11
  • UTJ: 5
  • NU: 4
  • Ra'am Taal: 4
  • Hadash: 4
  • NRP: 3
  • Balad: 3
  • Meretz: 3
Notice that the Ichud Leumi (NU) has gained a seat while the NRP lost one since the exit polls were released. Because they have a sharing agreement for the overflow votes, they will likely add a seat between them giving the religious Zionism camp a total of 8 combined seats. It's very likely they will choose to merge at that point in order to maximize their influence in the government coalition of Likud.

Also of note, the free-fall collapse of Meretz; the pacifist, left wing party associated with Israel's liberal intelligencia of cafe socialists. Getting just 3 seats was a devestating defeat for Israel's left, and has caused shockwaves to reverberate throughout the self-loathing, Peacenik enclaves of Tel Aviv.




  1. all options are open... i can only hope for a right-wing leading coalition rather than the alternate right-wing opposition. I guess we'll see here in less than 48-hours

  2. Welcome, Comrade! We agree.

  3. Weather is horrible in Israel for election day. Poor turnout could benefit NU, as the big parties tend to suffer the most in those situations.

  4. i'm seeing the same results for livni. guess the next few hours will tell the tale.

    to take your mind of the events of the day, i've put up a new "oh boo" moment - you should start one only call it "oy boo" moments!

  5. My horror coalition goes Kadima, Likud, Labor and all the religious parties are left in opposition. It could work especially if Livni has the smarts to offer Bibi a rotating Prime Ministership, with downtime as either Finance Minister or the Foreign Affairs portfolio.

  6. livni received one more seat than bibi.

  7. Kateland, Bibi want to be Prime Minister, not a second fiddle. I would be shocked if he caved to Livni and joined her government. Excpect her to fail to form a government over the next month, and then Bibi to cozy up with Lieberman and the rest of the rightwing coalition to form as right leaning government. Problem is, Bibi is not a right winger and will quickly betray his coalition.

  8. Hi, MZ.

    Glad to see you're still blogging away! Where else besides "Commentary Magazine" could I get news about Israel that isn't polluted with media friendly euphemisms, distortions, falsehoods, and outright lies. If I wanted to wade through nonsense about "Palestinian militants," "the peace process," "poverty and helplessness," or "Israeli war crimes," I'd go just about anywhere else. I'm not ready to join Hamas, the EU, or the cult of Obama, so I'm not interested in listening to their de facto mouthpieces in the leftstream media. Besides, you don't pull your punches like most supporters of Israel do. I couldn't imagine you worrying about what the opposition thinks of you.

    The Israeli election is much wilder than our media scripted one was, but that's to be expected of a multi-party system, I guess. Especially one with such radically different and radically opposed parties. It's frightening to see that the Israeli public is still largely clueless when it comes to their own best interests (and survival.)

    America elevated the Anointed One (or his suit, anyway,) to the office of President, so we're obviously in the same boat.

    Still, it does seem as if even many secleft Israelis are finally catching on to the fact that Hamas and the muslims that elected it are not interested in coexistence with Jews. America just took a giant leap backwards with the Obamessiah as our glorious leader.

    I remain hopeful for whatever coalition is formed, because it sure as hell wont find an ally in Barack Hussein Obama. It will not only have to fend for itself against the terrorist hordes, but it will have to fend off Obama's pompous demands to make more concessions to its implacable enemies. Not that Bush did what he should've done for our ally, but he was no anti-Semite. I honestly believe Obama is, although claiming his bigotry is simply criticism of certain Israeli policies is the vogue for most Jew haters on the left like him.

    I also maintain hope that Israel will take care of our mutual Iranian problem. After The 0's mewling performance on Al Arabiyah, the mullahs are striving harder than ever to go nuclear.

    Keep up the good work. My gag reflex isn't strong enough to endure the calumny about Israel that our "independent" media are so fond of.

    I hope you and the family are doing well. Talk to you later, Jeff Bargholz.

  9. This is truly an honor...the irascible, indomitable, Jeff Bargholtz has come out of blogging retirement and paid his old buddy MZ a visit! Hope to see more of you, my friend.

  10. MZ: Kateland makes a very good prediction. My best guess is that we'll either have a far-left gov't or a rotating premiership with Livni doing 2 yrs, then Bibi doing 2 like Peres/Shamir did from '88-'92.

  11. MZ,

    it seems like Israel's election still hasn't finished with a clear result. I hope things work out for the best, of course. The fact that Israel produces so many leftists is even crazier (and stupider) than America doing the same. I guess if a bomber doesn't blow up your own house, it seems like somebody else's problem.

    We see things differently, of course.

    Thanks for the kind words. The honor is all mine. Thanks also for describing me as irascible. I do try, even if I don't do it deliberately. Don't know how indomitable I am though, seeing as how my ex-wife beat the holy crap out of me. (I still have the bruises to prove it!)

    Your blog is still one of the best, and I'll read it as long as you publish it. (I was off the charts for awhile, but I'm back.) Write to me sometime, will you? I don't know if you have access to my email address, but I recently opened a www.facebook account. I don't put much into it besides some photos of my sons and me, but I'd love to have you as a friend.



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