Tuesday, February 10, 2009

99% reporting: split decision

(Crossposted to Jewschool.)

The results so far:

  1. Kadima 28
  2. Likud 27
  3. Yisrael Beytenu 14
  4. Labor 13
  5. Shas 11
  6. United Torah Judaism 5
  7. United Arab List 5
  8. Hadash 4
  9. National Union 4
  10. The Jewish Home 3
  11. Meretz 3
  12. Balad 3

On the one hand, this looks at first glance like an upset victory for Kadima, who appear to have defied all the polls and achieved a plurality. On the other hand, it’s hard to see how Kadima will get to 61 seats, while the Likud has a clear path to a right-wing coalition. Both Livni (Kadima) and Netanyahu (Likud) have declared victory, and we’re likely to see more drama over the next few weeks as this gets straightened out. Once again, all eyes may be on Shas. These results are not final, and some seats could still shift here and there.

It’s looking like we’re going to have all the same parties that were in the previous Knesset, with the exception of Gil, who is out. No new parties made it in. It looks like smaller parties on the left lost support in the final days as the anti-Netanyahu vote broke towards Kadima. Meretz is having its worst showing in years. It also looks like an Arab Israeli boycott didn’t materialize, and Arab voters may instead have been particularly energized — 5 seats (United Arab List) is the most I can recall seeing for an Arab party since I’ve been paying attention.


  1. It is important to note that the two parties that foisted the Oslo Agreements on Israel and which originally defined themselves as "the Peace Camp", Labor and MERETZ are hovering around 17 seats together. At the time of Oslo they had 56. Obviously, the people of Israel have lost all confindence in them. Also note how the Leftist "intelligentsia" oligarchs who used to support Labor (David Grossman, Amos Oz and others in addition to Avrum Burg) rallied around MERETZ this time, but MERETZ lost seats anyway....showing how much political influence those people really have.

  2. Avram Burg was never a major factor, but are you attributing the decline of the Israeli Left (peace camp, whatever) to Oslo, or their association with Kadima?

  3. Also, much of the peace camp was absorbed into Kadima, so the reduction of seats for parties originally associated with Oslo doesn't mean the peace camp has faded.

  4. BarNavi-
    Kadima, as much as I dislike it, is not the same as MERETZ. It has numerous ex-Likud people and an religious YESHA settler (Otniel Schneller) and so is not as obsessed with destroying settlements...in fact they say building in the settlement INCREASED lately.

    MERETZ is an exhausted party made up primarily of elderly people primarily representing the sectoral intersests of the Kibbutz Artzi movement, that expended its whole political credit on Arafat and the Palestinians. Although they claimed to be a "Social Democratic Party" they did not have a loud voice in social issues.

    The Labor Party is now viewed also as a sectoral party representing the United Kibbutz Movement, moshavim and well-pain government bureaucrats. It is despised by a large part of the population, including people on the Left. Ehud Barak was a disaster as Defense Minister (I give him no credit for the last war which showed no particularly skill and which depended primarily on massive fire power which caused problems for Israel in the international arena. In a normal country, a politician in Barak's place would immediately resign, but in Israel these failed politicians keep coming back like a bad penny. As long as he and other hacks like Fuad Ben-Eliezer, Matan Vilnai and the others are around, the party will not revive, but I don't believe those people care one way or another.

  5. Oops-I meant well-PAID bureaucrats!

  6. Two quick points (one of them trivial).
    1. "oligarch" is a wildly inappropriate word to use to describe Oz, Grossman et. al.

    2. In 1993 both Rabin and Peres were opposed to an independent Palestinian state. Today, Labor, Likud, Kadima, and Lieberman are all on record (at least in theory) in support of a two state solution and this has been the official stance of the U.S. government since 2002. There might not be much of an Israeli "left" remaining - but neither is there any credibility behind a naive belief in greater Israel.

  7. "Oops-I meant well-PAID bureaucrats!"

    Talk about a Freudian slip!