2019 Elections

The 2019 Elections

After surviving several coalition crises, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's fourth government (in office since May 2015)  disbanded in December of 2018. The formal reason given for the early Knesset dissolution was the governing coalition's inability to obtain a majority to push forward legislation that would authorize a proposed solution for the interminable issue of ultra-Orthodox military service. The resignation of Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and his Yisrael Beitenu party in November, ostensibly due to the perceived inadequate military response to attacks from Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip, left the coalition with a fragile majority of 61 members. The law dissolving the Knesset passed on December 26, 2018 and the parliament set Election Day for April 9, 2019.

 

The early stages of the campaign saw several political splits and the emergence of new parties vying for the Knesset. On the right wing of the political map, Ministers Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked broke off from the Jewish Home and established The New Right Party. In the center-left, the Zionist Union split up after Labor Chairman Avi Gabbay announced the end of his party's joint list with MK Tzipi Livni's Hatnua party. Another party that broke up was the Joint List, when MK Ahmad Tibi's announced his Ta'al party will run independently. In addition, new political forces popped up in the center: Gesher (headed by MK Orly Levy-Abekasis), The Israel Resilience Party (headed by former IDF Chief of Staff Benny Ganz) and Telem (headed by former Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon). The latter two later announced they will run together as a joint list.

 

In the next phase of the campaign the parties turned to finalize their list of candidates.  Three parties - Likud, Labor Party and Meretz - held internal elections ("primaries") to determine their slates. The Zehut Party, headed by former MK Moshe Feiglin, conducted 'open' primaries where non-party member are eligible to vote, while the remaining lists are determined by the party leaders, small nomination committees, or by internal party institutions. In the final days before the deadline for handing in the lists two merges were recorded with the aim of reducing the risk of wasted votes, in light of the high threshold (3.25%). The Jewish Home, which already agreed on the continuation of cooperation with the Ihud Leumi, decided to run this time also with the far-right Otzma Yehudit, dicsiples of Meir Kahane. The joint list is called Union of Right-Wing Parties. In the center of the map, a political "big bang" occured with the decision of Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid to join the Israel Resilience Party and Telem in a joint list under the name Blue and White.

Lists Competing in the 2019 Elections

2019 Elections: Articles and Updates

An opinion submitted today (June 26th) to MKs, the Attorney General, and the Knesset Legal Advisor on behalf of the Israel Democracy Institute, opposes the proposal to repeal the law to dissolve the Knesset and seeks to take the proposal off the agenda.

Another Election? It Has its Pluses for the Public and for Democracy. Voters got to see how parties behaved after elections, and parties now know the real risk of a hardline negotiation stance.

The bizarre constitutional situation in which we now find ourselves raises a great many legal questions, not all of which have simple answers. Does the law allow the prime minister to fire all the government’s ministers? Can he serve as “the government” by himself?

Benjamin Netanyahu couldn’t form a government, because the electoral system is dysfunctional. The country needs to enact two simple reforms, or it will face perpetual stalemate.

Will Arab politicians take advantage of the second chance that the new elections have presented? Runing in a Joint List and reaching out to their younger voters - 60% of which didn't vote in the last election, would be the right place to start.

The country just held a general election in early April—but under the law, Israelis will now go to the polls again less than six months later, on Sept. 17 - what happened and why?

First thoughts on early elections with Yohanan Plesner - how did we get here and what to expect next

The conservatives who think the court is moved by a malicious intent to stamp out politics are mistaken. Our High Court of Justice is squeaky clean, and of the highest possible caliber

What if Netanyahu fails to form a coalition? Will Israel find itself again holding elections? Although unlikely – Dr. Ofer Kenig explains the possibilities

Change will come only by engaging in an extended struggle over values, and by offering a true Jewish-democratic alternative in which both components are strong and complement one another

On the eve of Israel’s 71st Independence Day, 82% of the Israeli public thinks that the national balance of achievements shows more successes than failures and 62% think legal proceedings against Prime Minister Netanyahu should not be stopped, notwithstanding his success in the elections

Today 49 first time Ministers of Knesset are being sworn in, but does the framework enable them to function to the best of their abilities? Dr. Chen Friedberg explains why not and what should be done

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The proposed draft law perpetuates inequality  and is dangerous to Israel’s long term security. If drastic changes are not made to encourage the ultra-Orthodox to serve in the military, it may increase inequality among young people in Israel threaten the IDF as the people's army, in which the burden to serve in the military is shared

Lawmakers sit on too many committees and propose too many laws. The fix starts with government members quitting the Knesset

The current paper presents data on the parliamentary work of the MKs and parties in the outgoing Knesset. All the information is based on data taken from the Knesset archives and the Knesset’s Research and Information Center which are open to the public

When the “rule of law” has become a dirty word that is synonymous with “the left,” democracy education must begin precisely with this point and shatter this equation

Arab turnout for the vote was the lowest in a decade – only 49% participated in the elections for the 21st Knesset – Arik Rudnitzky summarizes

Among the many surprises of last week’s election was the impressive performance by the ultra-Orthodox parties – how can we explain this dizzying success?

As talks begin toward the formation of a new government – it is an opportunity to call on the Prime Minister to keep the number of Ministers low

After abysmal Arab voter turnout, it’s time for public action. Arabs in Israel are desperate for a new discourse and leaders who connect with them -- what they don't want is more ideology

After an exhausting and polarizing election campaign, the people have spoken, and we’re now entering the next stage of the political lifecycle: forming a new government - Dr. Kenig explains what’s next

The 2019 election results mark the return of Israeli politics to two large lists. Voter turnout declined, as the parliamentary fragmentation. The impressing increase in female representation was halted, and the number of ex-generals will be the highest in decades. An initial analysis of the election results.  

Voter’s Day, between vicious campaigning and brutal coalition cobbling, lets us appreciate the great equalizer of 'one person, one vote'

The good news is that according to surveys that we published at the Israel Democracy Institute, there is widespread consensus among Israelis on many of the most significant issues our country faces

The best estimate is that the religious and ultra-Orthodox will account for nearly a third (!) of the next Knesset. Should we be concerned that the Knesset is getting more religious?

In Israel, people vote for a party rather than a candidate. But over the years, there has been a shift towards the personalization of politics. Why have our elections become a competition among single personalities rather than a confrontation among different parties and ideas? Prof. Gideon Rahat offers his take

66.5% of the Jewish public thinks that Israel is too lenient in dealing with the clashes on the Gaza border. Only 38.5 of the Israeli public believe Prime Minister Netanyahu’s statement that he “didn’t get a shekel from the submarine deal”, 52% of the Israeli public trusts election surveys and 27.5% does not trust the integrity of the Knesset elections

The current Knesset undermined policies that promote the integration that is key to ultra-Orthodox well-being; the next Knesset has the capacity to reverse the trend

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For many years the ultra-Orthodox were perceived as “captive voters” who would always comply with their rabbis’ instructions to cast their ballot for ultra-Orthodox parties. In today’s new reality such directives are no longer enough

How should media outlets in Israel prepare themselves for “fake news” campaigns and how has the digital sphere become the “Wild West?” Tipping Point hosts Dr. Tehilla Shwartz Altshuler to discuss the extent Israeli elections are influenced by digital campaigns

Gilad Malach of the Israel Democracy Institute gives the latest electoral trends among Israel’s insular ultra-orthodox Jewish community. Why is a small community so divided, and why are growing numbers of ultra-Orthodox voters leaving the Haredi parties altogether?

Due to security concerns - the majority of Israelis, over the past four decades have consistently opposed the idea of returning the Golan Heights to Syrian control. The article presents a historical overview of Israeli public opinion

The merger between the Jewish Home party and Otzma LeYisrael marks the end of an era. Since the founding of the State of Israel, the prominent Religious-Zionist parties have played a central role – yet they have now joined forces with the dangerous fringes on the extreme right

When we struggle during election campaigns to enforce a rule against use of private data and building profiles of users in order to target them with personalized messages, we are essentially fighting for the rights of the community of older voters

If we want to preserve a healthy democratic process, and especially public trust that it is possible to hold fair elections in this country, democracy must stand up and protect itself

In a conversation with Fathom Deputy Editor Calev Ben-Dor, Malach discusses the recent changes that have taken place in ultra-Orthodox society, voting trends within the ‘sector’, and how the onset of technology is affecting voting patterns

Iran has apparently hacked the cellphone of Benny Gantz, Prime Minister Netanyahu's main challenger in the April 9 elections. But despite serving as a tool in Likud's campaign, it has not derailed the democratic process in any significant way. In this conversation Eli Bahar, former legal adviser to Shin Bet and IDI fellow, and Ron Shamir, the former head of the technology division at Shin Bet and a fellow at the Hebrew University's Federman Cybersecurity Center, discuss with Tel Aviv Review's Gilad Halpern the danger posed by potential cyber-attacks on Israeli democracy

Instead of training rhetorical cannons on the court, which is doing its job in a chaotic situation, the legislature should delete Section 7A from the Basic Law. Let everyone run for the Knesset, and let those who violate criminal laws bear the consequences of their actions

Eli Bahar and Ron Shamir examine the threats posed by foreign intervention (in its broadest sense) in Israel’s Knesset elections—by means of Cyber-attacks, whether at the state or sub-state level

What reforms are necessary to repair the electoral process to improve governance? Prof. Gideon Rahat sits down to discuss the upcoming elections with David Schulberg from the Israel Connexion in Australia

Dr. Amir Fuchs looks at how far removed today’s Likud is from the Likud of yesteryear, both in terms of personalities and ideologies

Why doesn't the government take more initiative towards peace? Why is there no egalitarian prayer space at the Western Wall? How come the ultra-Orthodox don't serve in the military? The common denominator to all these issues is that they all stem from a structural flaw in our electoral system, which allows vocal minorities to hold the national interest hostage to their concerns and interests

To what degree does the Israeli public have faith in the integrity of the elections, to what extent does it believe that the April 9th elections will accurately reflect its views and how does Israel measure against other democracies?

Will Israel's democratic institutions prove resilient? How is the party system changing and is Israel headed for a tyranny of the majority? Yohanan Plesner, President of the Israel Democracy Institute, examines the ramifications of the unprecedented indictment of an incumbent Prime Minister in Israel

 

The essence of breach of trust is a conflict of interests in which decision-makers may find themselves when dealing with public matters. And we should pause to consider this conflict of interest, on the public level no less than on the criminal level

The major parties have been turning a blind eye to women politicians, and their campaigns are the worse for it

The alliances and fragmentation has far-reaching consequences for the work of the Knesset and the government

While the final decision about an indictment will not be made until after a hearing, with the publication of the draft indictment, the Prime Minister must decide whether he will launch a public campaign under the reverse heading: “Benjamin Netanyahu vs. the State of Israel"

Will Arab elected officials adopt a pragmatic and matter-of-fact approach and overcome the obstacles standing in the way of establishing political partnerships among them, in order to encourage Arab voters to go to the polls on Election Day?

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The fifth in a series of articles and videos prepared by the Israel Democracy Institute in the run-up to April 9, explaining and critiquing what goes on during an election period

Exclusive Pre-Elections survey by the Guttman Center at the Israel Democracy Institute finds that half of Israelis find it harder than in the past to decide whom to vote for; 25% base their choice on the party’s positions on socioeconomic issues and 18% on who heads the party; 27% do not trust the integrity of the Knesset elections

These elections provide us with an opportunity to raise our voices on the need to regulate the parties’ conduct so that they operate transparently and are accountable to the public

In an op-ed published in the Washington Post, Yohanan Plesner assures readers that, "Supporters of Israel's democracy at home and abroad should know that so far the checks and balances built into our young democracy are holding up in the face of serious pressures."

Yohanan Plesner, President of the Israel Democracy Institute, and Prof. Yuval Shany, Vice President of Research "No democracy can tolerate public corruption or any exception to the principle of equality before the law."

As the Israeli attorney-general is expected to announce his decision regarding the possible indictment of Prime Minister Netanyahu on corruption charges, Tipping Point hosts two leading experts for a discussion on the legal and political ramifications. Dr. Guy Lurie (Israel Democracy Institute) and Dr. Emmanuel Navon (Kohelet Policy Forum) try to make sense of what’s about to come

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It is difficult to identify them - they are hidden, disguised, sophisticated and resonate to us what our immediate surroundings think. During the election campaign they are at their peak - bots, fake accounts, unnamed identifiers - all trying to influence public opinion. We bring to you 5 tips for managing smart online presence

The fourth in a series of articles and videos prepared by the Israel Democracy Institute in the run-up to April 9, explaining and critiquing what goes on during an election period

Such a code will not only prevent corruption, but in addition will prevent serious damage to the government’s image and attacks on law enforcement

Following the merger between Yesh Atid and the Israel Resilience Party, April’s elections will feature real competition between two major blocs. The next step in minimizing fragmentation in the Israeli political system is reforming the method by which a government is formed. The head of the largest party should automatically be appointed to form the next government.

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The third in a series of articles and videos prepared by the Israel Democracy Institute in the run-up to April 9, explaining and critiquing what goes on during an election period

Primaries often don't reflect the true will of actual party supporters -- voters should weigh in on Election Day

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In February 1969, Golda Meir was appointed fourth prime minister of the State of Israel. Despite this achievement, the inclusion of women in Israel’s cabinets is far from impressive. Dr. Ofer Kenig explains that after 70 years of independence, the time has come for Israel’s governments to strive for true equality and reflect greater gender balance.

Despite record numbers in the Knesset, few females hold senior government posts — their absence leaves Israel worse off.

What is the secret behind the power of the ultra-Orthodox political parties in Israel and how has it changed over the years? The article presents an overview of the development of the ultra-Orthodox political parties in Israel from the establishment of the State as well as insights as to future developments.

“The great task before all — right and left, religious and secular, Jew and Arab — is to break down the veto power that the extremists among us wield over the center on various fronts”

The Jewish public is divided over the question whether the prime minister should resign if indicted by the Attorney General, pending a hearing; 52% of the Jewish public believes that Israelis living abroad should also have the right to vote

A review of political and ideological streams in Arab society in Israel - towards 2019 elections.

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“The current system grants small parties disproportionate power, leads to excessive preoccupation with coalition management, does not provide strong incentives for creating an effective opposition, and leads to the allocation of over-sized budgets to sectoral interests. We need to create a system of incentives which will solidify the political system into two main blocs.” says Prof. Gideon Rahat

Democracy is at risk when the responsiveness between the public and its elected representatives is severed. Without accountability, political extremism and populism will become more prevalent.

The 20th Knesset was the most injurious of all with regard to democratic values, freedom of expression, gatekeeping and, above all, minority rights. In the next government we can only hope that someone will champion liberal center-right values to continue to protect our democracy. 

Despite a solid decade with the same prime minister, other cabinet posts have switched hands at alarming rates.

Dr. Tehilla Shwartz Altshuler sat down with The Israel Project to discuss Israeli Security Agency’s warning against foreign countries’ intervention in Israel’s upcoming elections

As Israeli political parties begin to formulate their lists of candidates for the upcoming election, Tipping Point hosts Prof. Gideon Rahat, (Israel Democracy Institute), and Dr. Emmanuel Navon (Kohelet Policy Forum) for a conversation on the pros and cons of the primary system.

What will secure victory in the 2019 elections: inter-party alliances, or splits? Yohanan Plesner discusses with The Israel Project, Israel’s multi-party system, processes of fragmentation and their detrimental effects on effective governance

It is commonly accepted that in order to defeat Netanyahu, the political parties in the center and on the Left must unite and present a single and clear alternative. However, under the current system, this claim is simply not true.

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Benjamin Netanyahu has announced that he will not step down even if indicted and will run for elections in three months. Where does the law stand? Dr. Guy Lurie explains

How will yesterday's announcement impact the elections? Will Bennet and Shaked take votes from the right and will their gamble pay off? Listen to Prof. Gideon Rahat talk to The Israel Project on the fragmentation of the Israeli political system.

 

The rerun elections expose a weakness in our system of government and highlight the need to modify the current system for forming a government

One of the main explanations for the dramatic decline in voter turnout in the Arab Israeli sector in the last elections (49%, versus 63% in the 2015 elections) is the sense that the voice of Israeli Arabs — is a voice that doesn’t count.

The real story of the April 2019 elections took place outside the polling booth. In the Arab sector, the Movement to Boycott the Knesset Elections, a grassroots group based on Arab young adults and university students, working on the social networks with a shoestring budget, conducted an effective campaign with a simple and catchy slogan: “Boycott: The People’s Will.” This message stood in utter contradiction to the motto of the elections in 2015: “The Joint List: The People’s Will.”