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

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?


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


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

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.


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


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.


“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.

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.


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