The Israeli Elections Tomorrow

AIPAC emailed some Cliff Notes for tomorrow’s election.  I have no commentary to provide as I’m trying to sort it myself, but I thought a few of you might find it an interesting read.  Some of my travel pics from Israel are here if you’re interested.

Israelis will go to the polls on January 22 to elect a new legislature, the first step in the formation of a new government. Because no party is likely to gain a majority, Israel’s prime minister will need to form a coalition comprising at least 61 seats of Israel’s 120-member parliament. Coalition negotiations will help set the leadership and policies of the government. This orderly process demonstrates Israel’s vibrant democratic character.

Israel’s government emerges from a Knesset chosen on the basis of proportional representation.

  • Israel holds parliamentary elections at least once every four years. Frequently, a coalition government does not serve its full term. Following a decision of Israel’s current government to dissolve the Knesset, this year’s elections are being held a few months ahead of schedule.
  • Each party puts forth its slate of candidates for the Knesset. Individuals cast their ballots for a party rather than for individuals. Each party that qualifies for the Knesset receives a proportional share based on the percentage of votes it gains nationwide. Thirty-four parties are running candidates; ordinarily about a dozen parties receive the 2 percent necessary to qualify for representation. (Bridg note: and we thought squeezing in a third party was difficult?)
  • Following the election, President Shimon Peres will ask a Knesset member to try to put together a coalition. Ordinarily, Israel’s president gives this opportunity to the leader of the party that received the most seats. Sometimes—as was the case in 2009—he gives this opportunity to the leader of a smaller party who is more likely to be able to form a government He or she must succeed within 28 days – with a possible two-week extension. If that leader cannot form a government, Peres will turn to another Knesset member.
  • Once the prime minister-designate forms a coalition and determines ministerial assignments, the government will seek a vote of confidence from the Knesset. Then the new government takes office.

Key political players in the election:

  • Benjamin Netanyahu, prime minister since 2009 and leader of the Likud party, also served as prime minister once before (1996-1999) and as finance minister (2003-2005). For the purposes of the election, the Likud party merged party lists with Yisrael Beitenu (Israel is Our Home) to form Likud-Beitenu.
  • Avigdor Lieberman, party leader of Yisrael Beitenu, represents many Israelis from the former Soviet Union. Lieberman recently stepped down as deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs following an indictment for corruption. Lieberman will not serve as a minister at the outset of the next government.
  • Naftali Bennett, party leader for the Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home), is a successful businessman who also served in an elite unit in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). Bennett served as Netanyahu’s chief of staff (2006-2008) and director general of the Yesha Council (2010 to 2012), an umbrella organization that represents Jewish settlements in the West Bank.
  • Shelly Yachimovich is the leader of the Labor party and a former journalist.
  • Yair Lapid, former TV news anchor, presenter, actor and journalist, is the leader of Yesh Atid (There is a Future), a new political party he formed this year.
  • Tzipi Livni, leader of the newly established Hatnua (The Movement) party, is the former leader of Kadima (2009-2012). She also held several ministerial positions, including minister of foreign affairs (2006-2009) and minister of justice (2006-2007).
  • Eli Yishai, co-leader of the Sephardic religious party Shas, is a current deputy prime minister and minister of the interior in the current government.
  • Aryeh Deri is co-leader of Shas and a former minister of the interior (1988-1993).
  • Shaul Mofaz, leader of the Kadima party and current opposition leader, served as minister of transportation (2006-2009), minister of defense (2002-2006) and IDF chief of staff (1998-2002).


  1. atlanta_advocate says:

    Just imagine if we gave Latin America the attention that we gave Israel, which by the way is a wealthy country with the means to protect itself (nuclear weapons and a modern military … and by the way I fully support Israel’s doing what is necessary to protect itself, and wish that Israel would take an even harder line against Hamas, the PLO, Hizbullah etc. … we need to do a better job of telling the international community to get off Israel’s back and let Israel deal with murderous terrorists and hostile nations the same way that any other sovereign state would).

    Would Latin America have strong, developed economies by now if we did? Instead, Latin America is constantly at risk of lapsing into Castro communism or Chavez socialism because of its poverty, and that speaks nothing of its problems with narco-terrorists. Also, because of geographic proximity, Latin America’s economic, political and social problems become our problems.

    Eastern Europe used to have a lot of these same problems, and western Europe helped them reform economically and politically by way of the EU. Not that I support any type of “American Union” with “amero” currency (yes, I used to read World Net Daily) but I wonder what making Latin America the focal point of our foreign policy instead of Israel would accomplish for this hemisphere, and by extension for us.

    • Ed says:

      Latin America does have strong developed economies….

      Also are you calling for government intervention to spur economic growth?

      • atlanta_advocate says:

        “Also are you calling for government intervention to spur economic growth?”

        Why yes. Yes I am. It worked for the United States in the postwar era and during the Reagan era (defense buildup et al). It worked in Europe with the Marshall Plan. It would work in Latin America. If it is done correctly, and not in the typical failed “nation building” model.

        • USA1 says:

          I know, right. Imagine if “we” gave more attention to Latin America like we do to Israel. Like billions worth of attention. Oh yeah, those Latin Americans would love love love us. So I guess there’s only one way that’s going to happen, huh? Several million Jews will have to move there and set up shop. Then they’ll cause all sorts of problems and demand that “we” subsidize our military contractors so they can play Rambo against the Palestinians.

          Time for dinner.

          p.s. I wonder how many posts there have been specifically about foreign elections on Peach Pundit. Obviously we can’t include Israel in that total since we’re just a colony of theirs.

            • USA1 says:

              Except you’re not the ultimate dealer. You get your orders from AIPAC like most of the political goyim. Ahhhhh, the carefree joys of being a shiksa.

        • Ed says:

          FWIW, you’re creating a false dilemma and we do provide substantial amounts of aid to Latin American countries when needed.

          Just fyi…

  2. Three Jack says:

    Interesting story behind the candidacy of Yair Lapid, the former news anchor. He was able to form a political party April 29 (Yesh Atid), build a supportive coalition mostly via Facebook and now has almost 12% support in polling results. Not bad for an 8 month old political party.

  3. Daddy Got A Gun says:

    Bibi won and now has to form a coalition, which is a frickin’ nightmare with all of the various parties trying to get favors for their support. Its very tribal and fails to satisfy anyone.

    I do wish we could find a Hawaiian Birth Certificate for Bibi. He’d be a great president.

    • USA1 says:

      “Its very tribal and fails to satisfy anyone.”

      I couldn’t have described “The Problem” better myself.

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