Thursday, September 26, 2019

September Madness results!

(Crossposted to Jewschool.)

After a little bit of last-minute shifting, the results of the Knesset election are final, and that means it’s time to announce the results of September Madness!  Thanks to everyone who played!

Three parties (Zehut, Noam, and Kol Yisrael Achim) dropped out before Election Day, which means that there were only (“only”) 29 parties contesting the election.  Here are the election results:
  1. Blue & White 33
  2. Likud 32
  3. Joint List 13
  4. Shas 9
  5. Yisrael Beiteinu 8
  6. United Torah Judaism 7
  7. Yaminah 7
  8. Labor/Gesher 6
  9. Democratic Camp 5
  10. Otzmah L’Yisrael
  11. Tzomet
  12. HaAchdut HaAmamit
  13. Adom Lavan
  14. Tzedek
  15. HaYamin HaHiloni
  16. Kavod V’Shivyon
  17. Zechuyoteinu B’Koleinu
  18. Pirates
  19. Otzmah Kalkalit
  20. Mitkademet
  21. KaMaH
  22. Seder Hadash
  23. Democratura
  24. Tzafon
  25. Christian Liberal Movement
  26. Green Economy, One State (Da’am)
  27. Kevod HaAdam
  28. Bible Bloc Party
  29. Manhigut Hevratit
And now we turn to the September Madness prediction contest.  Overall, the scores were a lot higher than last time.  This is probably because this was a do-over election, and the broad strokes of the results were essentially the same as 5 months ago.  (No one did this, but if someone had predicted that all the parties would keep exactly the same number of seats as last time, taking into account the various mergers since then, they would have correctly predicted 111 out of 120 Knesset seats.  This would have been better than anyone did in April Madness.)

Let’s start with the bonus tiebreaker questions.  The first question, “Of the parties that do NOT win seats in the Knesset, which will come closest?”, proved to be an easy one this time.  The vast majority of entrants picked Otzmah Yehudit, and they were correct.  It wasn’t even close (in either direction) – Otzmah got a little more than half the votes they would have needed to cross the threshold, yet still had over 5 times as many votes as the party directly behind them (Tzomet).  But the second question, “Which party will get the FEWEST votes?”, had responses all over the map.  The “winner,” Manhigut Hevratit, won only 434 votes, and repeated its “success” from 2013 and 2015, when it placed last under the name Moreshet Avot (and the April 2019 result, when the party placed 36th out of 40, proved to be a fluke).  Honorable mention to Eliana Fishman in Washington DC (as well as to our runner-up, see below) for correctly picking this one.

On to the overall Knesset prediction results!  Looking at the scores alone, we had a four-way tie for second place, with Israel Yawns, Samantha & Gabby in Jerusalem, Ike Brooks Fishman in Washington DC, and (our April Madness 2019 champion) Aaron Weinberg in Washington DC, all scoring 113 out of 120.  To resolve this, we go to the tiebreaker questions, and Aaron Weinberg nailed both of them, so he is our runner-up!  Congratulations!

And in first place, Liam Getreu in Sydney, Australia, was the only one to predict 114 out of 120 Knesset seats, so he is our September Madness 2019 champion!!!  Congratulations!!!!  Continuing a trend from last time, he was also the first to complete his entry.  So this suggests that waiting longer to have the “benefit” of polling data closer to the election may not actually be a benefit.

We asked our champion for a statement, and he said:
Let’s just hope you don’t have to run another competition in a few months’ time!
So yeah.  Now that the coalition negotiations are well underway, and no one has an obvious path to a 61-seat coalition, it is certainly possible that we’ll be right back here in a few months.  Or maybe someone will form a government, and we’ll see you again on Tuesday, October 31, 2023, or any other time between now and then.  Thanks again to everyone for playing!

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

September Madness 2019: Guide to the parties

(Crossposted to Jewschool)

September Madness 2019 is still open!  You can enter this prediction contest up until 11:59 pm Israel Summer Time (4:59 pm EDT) on Monday, September 16, 2019 (the night before the election).  Once again, here is a guide to the 31 parties running in this election (down from 32 when we got started – Zehut has dropped out after making a deal with Likud).  And here are the full lists of candidates in Hebrew (official) and English (unofficial).

Parties represented in the current Knesset:
  • Blue and White: This list (composed of two new parties and one existing party) was formed for the April 2019 election as an anyone-but-Bibi big tent, and was successful in that election, winning 35 seats (same as the Likud).  They’re hoping to replicate that success by running the same list of candidates again, with Benny Gantz (of Hosen L’Yisrael) at the top, followed by Yair Lapid (of Yesh Atid) and Moshe Ya’alon (of Telem).
  • Democratic Camp: Meretz (now led by Nitzan Horowitz, who defeated Tamar Zandberg in the leadership primary this summer) is hoping to build a larger faction on the left by joining forces with the Green Movement (led by Stav Shaffir, who recently left the Labor party) and the Israel Democratic Party (a new party led by former prime minister Ehud Barak).
  • Joint List: This union of 3 Arab parties from across the spectrum (Balad, Ta’al, and the United Arab List) and one left-wing Arab-Jewish party (Hadash) was created for the 2015 election, but then split into two lists for the April 2019 election, and has now reunited.  Once again, it is led by Ayman Odeh of Hadash.
  • Labor / Gesher: After dropping to a record-low 6 seats in the April 2019 election, the Labor party has brought back former leader Amir Peretz, and joined with the Gesher party (led by Orly Levy), which failed to reach the threshold in the April election.
  • Likud: Incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is trying again, after tying Blue and White for the largest number of seats in the April election, but failing to form a governing coalition (leading to this do-over election).  This time, they have also reabsorbed Kulanu, the party that was headed by Moshe Kahlon (now #5 on the Likud list).
  • Shas: No drama this time – the Sephardi haredi party is running again with the same list, headed by Aryeh Deri.
  • United Torah Judaism: No drama here either – this union of the two main Ashkenazi haredi parties is also running the same list again, headed by Yaakov Litzman.
  • Yaminah: The Union of Right-Wing Parties (then composed of the Jewish Home, Tekumah, and Otzmah L’Yisrael) was elected to the Knesset in the April election, and the New Right failed to meet the threshold.  So now they have combined (except for Otzmah L’Yisrael), with Ayelet Shaked (of the New Right) at the top of the list.
  • Yisrael Beiteinu: This secular right-wing party, led by Avigdor Lieberman, had a key role in bringing about this election, by not joining the Netanyahu coalition.  They’re running again with the same list, and may hope to be similarly influential in the next round of coalition negotiations.
Parties not represented in the current Knesset:
  • Adom Lavan: Their full tagline on the ballot calls for legalization of cannabis and equality for Ethiopians, Arabs, and the disadvantaged.  As such, the names on the party list include a mix of Amharic, Arabic, and Hebrew.
  • Bible Bloc Party: A party made up of Christians, Jews, and Messianic Jews.
  • Christian Liberal Movement: (aka Ihud B’nei HaB’rit) A mostly Arab Christian party that calls for a two-state solution.
  • Democratura: A self-described socialist Zionist party that calls for a new constitution to replace the vestiges of Ottoman law, British law, etc.
  • Green Economy, One State (Da’am): An Arab-Jewish socialist party that calls for a “Green New Deal” and a one-state solution
  • HaAchdut HaAmamit: A new Arab party founded as an alternative to the Joint List (and like many breakaway parties, its name means “national unity”).
  • HaYamin HaHiloni: The “Secular Right”, founded by Tiberias mayor Ron Cobi (and accused by Yisrael Beiteinu of being a Likud plot to siphon votes away from Yisrael Beiteinu).
  • KaMaH: The name is an acronym for “Advancement of the status of the individual”, and they emphasize criminal justice reform.
  • Kavod v’Shivyon: An Arab party that calls for equal rights for all citizens.
  • Kevod HaAdam: They ran in April, and we still can’t find much information about this party, whose name means “human dignity”.  A number of the names on the candidate list sound Russian.
  • Kol Yisrael Achim: An Ethiopian-Israeli party calling for equality.
  • Manhigut Hevratit: Last time, we wrote “This party has the distinction of finishing in last place in the 2015 election, as well as the 2013 election (under the name ‘Moreshet Avot’).  They hope to break the streak this time.”  And indeed they did, finishing 5th to last!
  • Mitkademet: They are campaigning to the Russian-Israeli community as a progressive alternative to Yisrael Beiteinu.
  • Noam: A new Religious Zionist party that has been in the news for its anti-LGBT messaging.
  • Otzmah Kalkalit: They claim to represent small businesses.
  • Otzmah Yehudit: This Kahanist party was part of the Union of Right-Wing Parties last time, but is on their own this time.  Some of their candidates were banned from the election, but the party itself was not.
  • Pirates: As part of the international network of Pirate Parties, they may hope to be buoyed by the timing of the election so close to International Talk Like A Pirate Day.
  • Seder Hadash: Their main issue is to change the election system, to have Knesset members elected by geographic districts.
  • Tzafon: A regional party focused on issues facing the North.
  • Tzedek: Founded by activist Avi Yalou, who has been in the news protesting racism against Ethiopian Israelis.
  • Tzomet: This previously dormant party was brought back to life in the April election, and is now running again, emphasizing agriculture and rural interests.
  • Zechuyoteinu B’Koleinu: They also ran in April, emphasizing the working conditions of law-enforcement officers.
Good luck to everyone making predictions!!!!