+972 Magazine's Stories of the Week

Directly In Your Inbox

Analysis News
Visit our Hebrew site, "Local Call" , in partnership with Just Vision.

'Zionist Camp' takes a lead in polls, but Bibi has upper hand

The top two parties are neck-and-neck and the number of political king-makers is growing. With a number of potential wild-cards ahead, it’s anyone’s election.

Tzipi Livni and Isaac Herzog announce a joint slate for the upcoming elections, December 10, 2014. (Photo by Activestills.org)

Tzipi Livni and Isaac Herzog announce a joint slate for the upcoming elections, December 10, 2014. (Photo by Activestills.org)

If elections were to take place today, the next prime minister of Israel could come from either of two directions: the Labor Party’s Issac Herzog or incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, of Likud.

The latest polls show that both men would have a decent chance of forming a coalition, although Netanyahu would probably have an advantage.

The centrist parties — the Herzog-Livni Zionist Camp, Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party, newcomer Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu — and Meretz, the sole remaining Zionist leftist party, would have a combined 45 out of 120 Knesset seats, as predicted by poll aggregator Project 61.

The Right, consisting of Netanyahu’s Likud, Naftali Bennett’s Jewish Home and Avigdor Liberman’s Israel Beitenu, also combine for 45 seats in the latest polls.

The latest aggregate poll results published by Project 61 on January 26, 2015. facebook.com/Project.61.IL

The latest aggregate poll results published by Project 61 on January 26, 2015. facebook.com/Project.61.IL

In such a situation, ultra-Orthodox parties United Torah Judaism (UTJ) and the Sephardic Shas party would likely return to their traditional role of political king-makers. However, if the ultra-Orthodox parties must choose between the Right or a left-leaning government that includes Yair Lapid — who after the previous elections refused to sit in any government that included UTJ or Shas — they will probably throw their weight behind Netanyahu.

The centrist parties, Yesh Atid and Kulanu, could also throw their weight behind Netanyahu for the right price — promises to advance their social agendas.

The combined list of Arab parties could also affect who is given a chance to form a coalition by throwing their support behind Labor and Livni, but they cannot be expected to actually join a government headed by a list that calls itself “the Zionist Camp.”

All of that said, it is far too early to begin making election predictions. There are nearly two months remaining before Israelis head to the polls and the number of potential wild cards are growing by the day.

Read also: Election analysis: A shared Bibi-Herzog government?

The threat of armed conflict is higher than it has been since the end of the Gaza war this summer, and violence in East Jerusalem is bubbling once again.

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s scheduled visit to the United States and speech at Congress could either boost or hurt him in the polls, depending on how it is perceived in the United States and what blowback it generates in Israel. So far, there has been a chorus of criticism over Netanyahu’s visit and its amplifying effect on his continuing bad blood with the White House.

Few parties have laid out any platforms that set them apart from the other parties (which Mairav Zonszein discusses in more detail here) and the debate thus far has been dominated with mud-slinging contests centering on the Zionist credentials of a nearly indistinguishable pack of centrist parties and politicians.

So while the “Zionist Camp” has progressive and significant growth in the polls, it is far from the finish line. And even if it the center-left comes out with more seats than Netanyahu, there is no guarantee it will be able to form a government.

Related:
Why Mizrahim don’t vote for the Left
The ‘anti-Zionist’ camp goes mainstream in Israeli elections
WATCH: Shas’ election ad is a challenge to both Right, Left

Special Coverage: 2015 Elections

Before you go...

A lot of work goes into creating articles like the one you just read. And while we don’t do this for the money, even our model of non-profit, independent journalism has bills to pay.

+972 Magazine is owned by our bloggers and journalists, who are driven by passion and dedication to the causes we cover. But we still need to pay for editing, photography, translation, web design and servers, legal services, and more.

As an independent journalism outlet we aren’t beholden to any outside interests. In order to safeguard that independence voice, we are proud to count you, our readers, as our most important supporters. If each of our readers becomes a supporter of our work, +972 Magazine will remain a strong, independent, and sustainable force helping drive the discourse on Israel/Palestine in the right direction.

Support independent journalism in Israel/Palestine Donate to +972 Magazine today
View article: AAA
Share article
Print article
  • LEAVE A COMMENT

    * Required

    COMMENTS

    1. Omri

      Shas (Sfaradi Ultra-Orthdox party) are most likely to join Herzog. Deri, the head of the party, is actually a left person and the partyis still angry with Netanyahu.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Yeah, Right

      …” but they cannot be expected to actually join a government headed by a list that calls itself ‘the Zionist Camp.’ “…

      Why not? It’s just a name.

      It’s not as if any of the leading lights in “the Zionist Camp” changed their political views when they formed that list.

      They most certainly didn’t.

      The Arab politicians may very well have an opportunity to enter government, to actually have a say in the cabinet room.

      Why on earth should they throw that away simply because they don’t like that moniker?

      And especially not when the alternative is another Netanyahu government.

      Reply to Comment