With the final polls done – my analysis of the #israeli election

With the final polls my final analysis of the Israeli Election :

15% of sample polls still unsure who to vote for that means 15-17 seats up for grabs – seeing as that there is a 10 seat swing needed to go from right to left to change PM it is unlikely but could dramatically change the coalition.

Bibi might end up as PM but he has lost this election campaign – he ran under the slogan a strong leader and he comes in to the next government as a far weaker man. His coalition (Likud-Beytanu) looks to lose 10 seats, his favorite figures in his own party did not enter high enough on his list and he is shackled by those who have fought against him within.

Biggest winner hands down is Bennett – taking the NRP and settler right and making it fashionable – 50% of his votes are coming from under 30 year olds and by getting so many seats he is an essential coalition partner if the center left would want to block Bibi and not relay on Arab party votes. His biggest challenge if he gets the housing ministry (one of his top priorities and puts him in direct competition with Shas) is to please both the settler right (Tekuma is in his list) and the under 30’s who want more affordable housing within 67 Israel.

Smaller parties are doing better with no obvious challenger to Bibi – Meretz is looking to double in strength and Eretz Hadasha and Am Shalem look to be picking up a seat or two as well. Kadima might survive, but at this point who cares.

The destruction of the center left has been awful to watch as they eat each other. Livni has done worst followed by shelly with Lapid holding his own at 10-12 seats. His big competition is Shas as he has made his campaign about sharing the burden, if he finishes ahead then he will be happy.

Shelly has run a campaign that has allowed even the left to forget about security. This leaving of the diplomatic realm by all parties bar Livni and Meretz has allowed Bennett to go branded as the new face of Israel without dealing with the reality of his positions. Rather then own the failures of Oslo she has ignored them, been silent on the settlers (who will never vote for her anyway) and as a result has lost at least three seats to Meretz and possibly a bunch more to Livni. With Mitzna leaving her, she has no credible defense minister and this makes her not look like a serious challenger.

Lastly we have Shas that has had an awful campaign coupled with the illness of Ovadia Yosef. Though they wanted to do a compassionate campaign to appeal to all of the poor, their racism against Russians and migrant workers was on full show and they will finish having attacked every possible coalition partner. They know they are a fundamental part of the right blocks calculations but have managed to piss off the huge swaths of Israel with their campaign. Despite this they are going to end up between 10-12 seats.

Amongst the Arab sector the big question is will there by a 50% turn out (in 2009 53%) or will there be a democratic deficit that will allow those who boycott Israel to claim their are the real representatives of the Palestinian citizens of Israel.

Fun story of campaign has been Da’am the joint jewish-arab workers party that has captured the minds of many within the Left.

In terms of coalitions its always hard to say – those who think that Bibi will go with religious and right block think that the government will only last 2 years and then we are back to the polls. To others who can see a Livni, Lapid Bibi, Bennett and possible Shas, UJT coalition the figures on election night will matter and the degree that Bibi has flexibility to offer the ministries he wants to is going to be severely limited.

#Biberman – quick thoughts on new right wing super party in Israel

One can always be sure that an Israeli election season can throw some curve balls and the current one is not disappointment. Today Benjamin Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman decided to join forces in forming a right wing super party (or should that be a super right wing party) list in the upcoming elections.

Bibi’s Likud, currently the head of the coalition government and the largest predicted party in most polls, is the traditional center right party in Israeli Politics. Its ideological forefather being Jabotinsky, the father of revisionist Zionism, they have always been skeptical of land for peace but fiercely tethered to democracy.

Lieberman’s Yisrael Beytanu was founded to help represent the new Russian influx into Israel. Tracking slightly to the right of the Likud in their national security policy, they draw their political inspiration more from a Russian understanding of democracy and are fiercely secular in their approach.

Though most observes in the UK see the Israeli political spectrum as one of right to left in only the war and peace realm, the parties in Israel occupy different places depending on what right to left axis one is using.

By choosing to run with Lieberman, Bibi has decided to link with an avidly anti-religious party whose policies are not embedded in western democratic thought. In doing so he hopes that the sum of both parties will be big enough to create a mega party with enough clout to get what ever he wants through without having to give up too many unpopular concessions to the religious parties of Shas and UJT.

By focusing in on a secular-citizen agenda, the new party will attempt to form a collation without the religious parties of Shas and UJT, needing the center and even possibly Labor to come in. In doing so they can pledge real reform in the realm of church and state.

The issue of universal conscription and welfare in particular are of critical importance to the average Israeli voter, and Bibi’s concessions to the ultra-orthodox were giving him some electoral worries.

With this big move however there are some definite winners and losers:

Winners:

Lieberman – Having always been seen as a powerful but second tier party leader, Lieberman has the chance to become Bibi’s heir apparent with even rumors of a Blair/Brown esk deal.

HaBayit Yehudi – The new mega right wing party is still nominally interested in negotiations, HaBayit Yehudi can now claim it is the only real home of the true rejectionist right wing. Additionally it will attract the religious right that will leave the Likud due to its adoption of the secularism of Lieberman.

Yesh Atid – The new center party might be able to pick up center right votes that were Likudniks due to their discomfort with Lieberman’s lack of respect for free speech and dissent.

Losers:

Shas – Bibi’s other rock in his current government, they were not made aware of the deal and it has been clearly made to alienate the religious party. The union might have been pushed by the return of Arieyh Deri to a leadership position within Shas. He has always been comfortable working with the Center Left that could have spooked Bibi.

Moderates and the Religious Right in the Likud – Moderates in the Likud will now have no chance of getting high up enough on the list to make it into the Knesset. Additionally Gideon Sa’ar and Gilad Erdan, both jocking to be Bibi’s heir are going to be seriously out of sorts now that Lieberman is the new number 2. Both have been spinning it’s a joint list rather then a joint party.

It’s hard to see until new polls come out what the result of this move will be. Internal polling within Lieberman’s party sees this new party getting 51 seats. As voters come to terms with these two personalities coming together, it will add another twist and turn to this electoral cycle.

UPDATE: will make a bet that Likud’s very popular Sephardi Minister Moshe Kahlon left was due to this deal being worked out. Especially as its so anti-Shas