Weekly Election Update: Despite the Noise, Nothing has Changed


  • The Knesset’s winter session closed last week. To commemorate this, I took a gander back at Kalpi’s first post of the session and discovered that the more things change the more they stay the same.
  • The session started with Yesh Atid sitting on top of the polls and there it ends. According to polling conducted right as the most recent broadcast authority fiasco occurred, YA has 28 seats to Likud’s 25 and everyone else staying stable. Furthermore, upstart “None” has taken over the lead on the question of Israel’s preference for Prime Minister with Bibi falling to second and Lapid a distant third. MK Tzipi Livini is currently entering negotiations to join None’s party.
  • Speaking of the broadcast fiasco, Kahlon boycotted a coalition meeting before the beginning of the winter session due to the possibility of Bibi fighting against the Ta’agid. At least that got sorted out! Kahlon has failed to increase his support amongst the electorate since then and remains in a precarious position.
  • The Amona controversy was resolved as HaBayit HaYehudi backed down from threats to collapse the coalition if Amona was evacuated in exchange for coalition support of the Arrangement Law. However, until new housing is found for those evacuated, Amona threatens to become an issue again. BY has done well this session to recover support lost to the Likud, but needs to prevent leakage from its settler base due to the fact that they allowed the dismantling of settlements.
  • At the start of the session, Herzog had gained the confidence of Labor activists who allowed him to push off party primaries until July. Since then, the primaries have ballooned to a Republican presidential race sized field and have been set for July 3rd. Amongst those expected to run are Isaac Herzog, sneaky qualified MK Omer Bar-Lev, months ago member of Likud (that’ll play well!) Avi Gabai, Donald Trump aspire MK Erel Margalit, the Yachimovitch-supported MK Eitan Cabel, Iron Dome and binocular aficionado MK Amir Peretz, Ehud Barak protégé Eldad Yaniv, Generals Amiram Levin and Yom-Tov Samaia and, I can only assume, Mike Huckabee. The winner will need at least 40% of the vote to avoid a second round of voting. The primaries will occur under the shadow of an indictment against Herzog’s former Chief of Campaign for accepting illegal contributions during the last Labor primaries.

Totally precise and not arbitrary election date: February 6, 2018. Based on all of the above we’re actually seeing a fair amount of stability within the coalition. Crises are being averted and the major one left, the broadcasting authority, involves one of the weakest members of the coalition and an issue that no one actually cares about. That said, with news that Bennett is working to move his primaries up is a reminder that BY is gaining in strength and could attack the Likud from the right making them a candidate to collapse the coalition soon. Furthermore, Kahlon could always pull a General Custard.

Winner: Likud (Bibi is becoming increasingly unpopular. The time may be ripe for an internal challenge of power from a popular MK like Yisrael Katz or former MK Gideon Sa’ar)

Runner Up: Yesh Atid (I love Herzog’s attempt to advocate for an alternative coalition instead of elections when his political power is just below Kalpiblog’s at the current moment. Why would Lapid ever agree to that when he should be getting at least 5 of Labor’s seats in the next election?)

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