Israel's General Election Results
With 97% of the votes counted, the results so far of yesterday’s Israeli General Election are as follows:
Likud (Centre-right) 35 seats
Blue & White (Centre) 35
Shas (Sephardi religious) 8
United Torah Judaism (Ashkenazi religious) 8
Hadash-Ta’al (Arab & communist) 6
Labor (Centre-left) 6
United Right (Right) 5
Yisrael Beiteinu (Right/Russian immigrants) 5
Kulanu (Centre) 4
Meretz (Left) 4
Ra’am Balad (Arab) 4
Gesher (Centre) 0
New Right (Right) 0
Zehut (Libertarian Right) 0
- The seat numbers for the small parties could change as the final few votes are counted.
- Seat changes are that Likud is up 5 compared to 2015, Blue & White has 24 more seats than the Yesh Atid party had by itself then, Shas is up 1, UTJ up 2, the two Arab parties are down 3 compared to the previous Joint List, Labor is down 18 compared to the Zionist Union that it was part of, Yisrael Beiteinu is down 2, Kulanu is down 6, Meretz is down 1. The previous right-wing Jewish Home party split. It had 11 seats last time and its more religious wing, United Right, now has 5, whereas its more secular wing, New Right, could be out of the Knesset having very narrowly failed to get the minimum 3.25% to secure seats (though this might change when the last batches of votes are counted).
- This means that the outgoing centre-right coalition has 65 seats (61 are needed to form a government) and could be re-formed.
- However, coalition negotiations take time in Israel because of horse-trading by the minor parties on policies and ministerial portfolios.
- The two biggest parties both have 35 seats, which is a reversal of a long-term trend towards the splintering of Israeli politics into many small parties.
- The results are a triumph for Prime Minister Netanyahu who has secured a further term in office despite being under indictment for corruption, and increased Likud’s number of seats at the expense of smaller right-wing rivals. He will probably now pass David Ben Gurion’s record as longest serving Israeli PM but faces court cases for bribery, fraud and breach of trust early next year.
- Netanyahu’s bitter rival on the right Naftali Bennett is fighting for his political life – at the moment he is looks like he is out of the Knesset but hopes to edge in based on late-counted soldiers’ votes. The maverick libertarian rightwinger Moshe Feiglin also looks like he failed to win any seats.
- Religious parties are now stronger, with 16 seats for the Haredi (ultra-orthodox) parties.
- Former IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz made an impressive entry into politics, with the Blue & White coalition he formed with Yesh Atid party of Yair Lapid scoring 35, the same number of seats as Likud. But this was mainly achieved by sweeping up existing centre-left voters rather than winning over voters from the right, so he was unable to dislodge Netanyahu.
- The results were the worst in the entire history of the once-dominant Israeli Labor Party, now down to just 6 seats after it gambled on a new leader, Avi Gabbay, from a business rather than political background, who tore up the previous alliance with former foreign minister Tzipi Livni