Tag Archive: politics

Profiles of Likud Minister Candidates – A method to the madness of my wild guess scenario.

The 5 current Likud Ministers:

Gilad Erdan

Entered Knesset in: 2003

Knesset Terms: 5th

Spot on Likud List: 2nd in 2015, 3rd in 2013, 3rd in 2009

Current Title: Interior Minister

Former Titles: Communications Minister, Environment Minister, Homefront Defense Minister

Predicted Title: Internal (Homeland) Security Minister

Analysis: Netanyahu knows that it will be difficult to give the new #2 Likud the promotion he seeks in the current political atmosphere. Netanyahu is worried he might disrespect Erdan similar to the mistake he made with the previous Likud #2 (Saar). The Homeland Security Minister position allows Erdan to maintain his position in the Security Cabinet and is among the best positions available to Likud members. Erdan, who wants Foreign and is upset that he lost out on Education, might decide to fight the position. If Erdan does take the job he will be able to grab headlines as the man who brought back law and order to both the police and certain sectors and geographical locations of Israeli society.

Yisrael Katz

Entered Knesset in: 1998

Knesset Terms: 7th

Spot on Likud List: 4th in 2015, 5th in 2013, 11th in 2009

Current Title: Transportation Minister (since 2009)

Former Titles: Agriculture Minister

Predicted Title: Transportation Minister

Analysis: Netanyahu wants to stay on the good side of the internally popular minister who is also the head of the Likud Mazkirut (Secretariat). Allowing Katz to remain in the same position for a third straight term will allow him to oversee some of the finishing touches to some of his major transportation projects.

Silvan Shalom

Entered Knesset in: 1992

Knesset Terms: 8th

Spot on Likud List: 6th in 2015, 4th in 2013, 7th in 2009

Current Title: Energy & Water Minister, Negev & Galil Minister, Regional Cooperation Minister

Former Titles: Deputy Prime Minister, Vice Prime Minister, Foreign Minister, Finance Minister, Science & Technology Minister, Deputy Defense Minister

Predicted Title: Interior Minister

Analysis: Netanyahu knows that after fulfilling an impressive resume that Shalom is eyeing the post of Prime Minister and because of that reason Netanyahu has been cautious of him. Interior is one of the best positions available and is one of the only top ministries that Shalom has not yet experienced. Shalom, who feels slighted, is ready to go for Foreign or bust, but Shalom might be in a pickle with the Prime Minister not giving out the portfolio. Increasing the relationship with Likud city mayors in the field is something that any potential Likud leadership challenger will find difficult to resist. Shalom would be the only Minister to serve in all four Netanyahu governments.

Moshe Yaalon

Entered Knesset in: 2009

Knesset Terms: 3rd

Spot on Likud List: 7th in 2015, 8th in 2013, 8th in 2009

Current Title: Defense Minister

Former Titles: Deputy Prime Minister, Strategic Affairs Minister

Predicted Title: Defense Minister

Analysis: Despite promising the position to Bennett before the elections, it looks like Netanyahu will offer Yaalon the job of Defense. Despite the fact that the former IDF COS has never reached the Likud’s top 5, Yaalon will most likely stay in the key top position, as no one has dared compete against him for it.

Yuval Steinitz

Entered Knesset in: 1999

Knesset Terms: 6th

Spot on Likud List: 13th in 2015, 16th in 2013, 9th in 2009

Current Title: International Relations Minister, Strategic Affairs Minister, Intelligence Affairs Minister

Former Titles: Finance Minister, Defense & Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman

Predicted Title: Communications Minister

Analysis: Netanyahu has always offered Steinitz a better job than his position has called for and this time will be no different. The coalition agreements clearly call for new powers to go to a loyalist Communications Minister who will enjoy an expanded ministry. Steinitz might ask for a second portfolio from Netanyahu that is of lesser value and he might get it.

The 6 Veteran MKs:

Benny Begin

Entered Knesset in: 1988

Knesset Terms: 5th (Did not serve in 15th, 16th, 17th and 19th Knesset terms)

Spot on Likud List: Netanyahu reserved spot #11 for him in 2015

Current Title: Returning from his second retirement

Former Titles: Minister without Portfolio that serves in Security Cabinet, Science & Technology Minister

Predicted Title: International Relations Minister, Strategic Affairs Minister, Intelligence Affairs Minister, Regional Cooperation Minister, Jerusalem Affairs Minister

Analysis: Netanyahu asked Begin back from retirement and now he must reward him with a good ministry. The idea of merging perhaps as much as five ministries into one could be the answer. Netanyahu could add Begin, using the excuse of Strategic and/or Intelligence, to the Security Cabinet to gain an extra vote. It is hard to believe that Begin is the same guy who ran against Netanyahu under the National Union flag in 1999.

Tzachi Hanegbi

Entered Knesset in: 1988

Knesset Terms: 9th (2 terms in Kadima)

Spot on Likud List: 12th in 2015, 17th in 2013, in Kadima during 2009 elections

Current Title: Deputy Foreign Minister (technically left post following Liberman resignation), Deputy Health Minister

Former Titles: Justice Minister, Health Minister, Internal (Homeland) Security Minister, Transportation Minister, Environment Minister, Minister in Prime Minister’s Office

Predicted Title: Energy & Water Minister

Analysis: Netanyahu knows that the veteran Hanegbi has been loyal and the time has come to pay him with a good ministry. Energy & Water is a large budget ministry that has traditionally went to top ministers. Hanegbi, who a few weeks earlier was calling for Foreign, would probably take it if offered.

Gila Gamliel

Entered Knesset in: 2003

Knesset Terms: 4th (did not serve during 17th Knesset)

Spot on Likud List: 14th in 2015, 20th in 2013, 19th in 2009

Current Title: Likud Backbencher

Former Titles: Deputy Youth Minister, Deputy Agriculture Minister

Predicted Title: Senior Citizens Minister

Analysis: Netanyahu promised Gamliel that she would be the next Minister appointed to the previous government and it never happened. Netanyahu knows that considering this will be her first minister job that he can give her a less glamorous ministry and she will probably take it.

Chaim Katz

Entered Knesset in: 1999

Knesset Terms: 6th

Spot on Likud List: 17th in 2015, 13th in 2013, 14th in 2009

Current Title: Labor, Welfare & Health Committee Chairman

Former Titles: Likud Backbencher

Predicted Title: Welfare Minister

Analysis: Netanyahu gave away Katz’s Committee Chairmanship to Kulanu. Katz had served three of his previous five terms as the Labor, Welfare & Health Committee Chairman. Katz has in the past declined Deputy Minister positions and is a great position to receive a portfolio considering there are not many Committee Chair positions that would be considered a promotion that are left open. Welfare seems like the most natural fit.

Ayoub Kara

Entered Knesset in: 1999

Knesset Terms: 4th (Did not serve in 17th and 19th Knesset terms)

Spot on Likud List: 24th in 2015, Did not enter Knesset in 2013, 23rd in 2009

Current Title: Returning from forced retirement

Former Titles: Deputy Negev & Galil Minister

Predicted Title: Deputy Defense Minister #2 and Deputy Minorities’ Minister

Analysis: Netanyahu knows it makes sense to appoint Kara as the only non-Jewish Minister to his government but he doesn’t plan to do so. He isn’t going to appoint the only Ethiopian MK as the Immigration & Absorption Minister either. It would be hard for Kara to refuse a Deputy Defense Minister position and control of a large budget as the Deputy of Minorities without a Minister above him. Kara, might not be satisfied and throw a fit.

Avi Dichter

Entered Knesset in: 2006

Knesset Terms: 3rd  (Did not serve in 19th Knesset, elected to both previous terms as a Kadima MK)

Spot on Likud List: #26 in 2015, Was not elected in 2013, Was elected as Kadima MK in 2009

Current Title: Returning from forced retirement

Former Titles: Internal (Homeland) Security Minister, Homefront Defense Minister

Predicted Title: Defense & Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman

Analysis: Netanyahu wants to appoint the ex-Kadima MK to a top position and it is difficult to do so with his low showing in the Likud primaries. Defense & Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman is a great offer for the former head of the Shabak (Shin Bet).

The 6 Members of the 2009 Likud Class:

Zeev Elkin

Entered Knesset in: 2006

Knesset Terms: 4th (1st term was as a Kadima MK)

Spot on Likud List: 8th in 2015, 9th in 2013, 20th in 2009

Current Title: Coalition Chairman

Former Titles: Deputy Foreign Minister, Defense & Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman, House Committee Chairman

Predicted Title: Culture & Sport Minister

Analysis: Netanyahu knows that the veteran of this class has helped him move mountains over the last six years and that it is time for him to reward Elkin. Elkin would probably like the Immigration & Absorption Ministry but Netanyahu might hold on to it for now. Culture & Sport is a good fit considering the large budget ministry and the fact that Elkin has excellent relations with Shas who will Chair the Education, Culture & Sport Committee.

Yariv Levin

Entered Knesset in: 2009

Knesset Terms: 3rd

Spot on Likud List: 10th in 2015, 11th in 2013, 21st in 2009

Current Title: Defense & Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman

Former Titles: Coalition Chairman, House Committee Chairman

Predicted Title: Science & Technology Minister

Analysis: Netanyahu knows that he also owes a great deal of debt to Levin. Out of the lower class ministry positions that you would give a rookie minister the Science & Technology is a Ministry that makes sense for Levin.

Miri Regev

Entered Knesset in: 2009

Knesset Terms: 3rd

Spot on Likud List: 5th in 2015, 14th in 2013, 27th in 2009

Current Title: Interior Committee Chairwoman

Former Titles: Likud Backbencher

Predicted Title: Tourism Minister

Analysis: Netanyahu doesn’t want to make Regev a Minister but by appointing her she will be more careful with her conduct and it will add an additional Likud female minister to the cabinet table. Regev probably will not like Tourism but there are limited options as to what Netanyahu will want to give Regev.

Ofir Akunis

Entered Knesset in: 2009

Knesset Terms: 3rd

Spot on Likud List: 15th in 2015, 19th in 2013, 26th in 2009

Current Title: Deputy Environment Minister, Deputy Minister in Prime Minister’s Office

Former Titles: Finance (Kalkala) Committee Chairman

Predicted Title: Deputy Minister in Prime Minister’s Office

Analysis: Netanyahu might decide to make Akunis a minister but he knows that Akunis will probably agree to stay where he was in the previous term. It is possible he gets an additional Deputy Minister position in another ministry.

Danny Danon

Entered Knesset in: 2009

Knesset Terms: 3rd

Spot on Likud List: 9th in 2015, 6th in 2013, 4th in 2009

Current Title: House Committee Member, Likud Backbencher

Former Titles: Deputy Defense Minister, Immigration, Absorption & Diaspora Affairs Committee Chairman, Child Rights Committee Chairman

Predicted Title: Offered a Deputy Minister that he will turn down

Analysis: Netanyahu doesn’t like the Central Committee leader who challenged him for the leadership. Danon was the only Likud member of government to be fired in the previous government. Most likely Danon is offered a Deputy Minister again and declines. It is probable that Danon will keep on being one of Netanyahu’s biggest critics from within Likud.

Tzipi Hotovelly

Entered Knesset in: 2009

Knesset Terms: 3rd

Spot on Likud List: 20th in 2015, 10th in 2013, 18th in 2009

Current Title: Deputy Transportation Minister, Deputy Science & Technology Minsiter

Former Titles: Status of Women Committee Chairwoman

Predicted Title: Deputy Minister

Analysis: Netanyahu will probably not see a reason to appoint her after she failed in her attempts to get national religious figures to pressure the Bayit Yehudi during the coalition negotiations. She feels that despite finishing in the 20th position in the Likud list that she deserves a Minister position. She probably doesn’t get it but does get a nice position as Deputy Minister somewhere.

Dark Horse Candidate: Orly Levy splits with part of Yisrael Beitenu and takes the Welfare Ministry.

Additional Note: Netanyahu will announce 10 of the 12 Likud Ministers for Wed vote in order to ensure the 61 MKs needed to approve his government. He can survive with a safety net of disgruntled MKs down the road but he needs them for that first vote that approves the government. My guess is that Elkin & Levin are the two he saves for later so that they have the extra motivation.

Important Disclaimer: This is an analysis piece and is not based on anything the Prime Minister has promised, said or done. It should be expected that many of the appointments that were predicted above are wrong. The decision to make a wild guess prediction was made because I didn’t find anyone else that was bold enough to predict it.

Netanyahu’s Fourth Cabinet

Prime Minister Netanyahu will work to sign coalition agreements with Kulanu, Bayit Yehudi, Shas, UTJ and Yisrael Beitenu over the next few weeks. Judging by his previous three governments Netanyahu will save the Likud ministry appointments for last. It will be a tough race since everyone is looking for a promotion following Likud’s jump from 18 Knesset seats to 30. The Prime Minister was re-elected with 15 MKs from the previous Likud list, and 3 MKs are returning vets who are all looking for top jobs. The race for the Likud ministerial slots will be intense if after signing coalition deals with five other parties the next government indeed is limited to 18 ministers as the current law mandates. Netanyahu has in the past ignored the Likud primary results and created his own formula for appointing Likud members to his cabinet.

The Likud minister candidates can be divided into four groups: The current ministers, the veterans returning from hiatus, the veterans who were not on hiatus, and the class of 2009.

Prime Minister Netanyahu was able to reduce the large number of Likud veterans seeking a portfolio by one with the reconfirmation of Speaker Edelstein on the first day of the Knesset session. The five current Likud Ministers view themselves as candidates for a promotion to top portfolios. Defense Minister Yaalon expects to keep his position despite Bayit Yehudi’s Naftali Bennett and Yisrael Beitenu’s Avigdor Liberman’s demands. Likud’s new #2, Interior Minister Gilad Erdan, who was Likud’s #3 in the previous two Netanyahu governments, is looking for a promotion, and there are only a handful of portfolios that would accomplish that such as Foreign Affairs or Justice. The other three Likud Ministers – Transportation Minister Yisrael Katz, Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz and Energy and Water Minister Silvan Shalom are also looking for promotions. Shalom will most likely become the only cabinet member to serve in all four Netanyahu governments.

Three veteran MKs who are now back in Knesset after a hiatus are expecting to be added to the cabinet table before other Likud MKs are considered for promotion. Although they have had their share of disagreements, Former Minister Benny Begin, who was first elected to Knesset in 1988, was brought out of retirement twice by Netanyahu and served as a Minister in Netanyahu’s first and second governments. Former Kadima Minister and security figure Avi Dichter is also expecting a ministry despite placing 26th on the Likud’s list. Another back bencher #24, former Deputy Minister and Druze MK Ayoub Kara, who was first elected to Knesset in 1999, is expecting a ministry because he is the only non-Jewish candidate vying for a cabinet position.

The next three ministerial candidates include three veteran MKs who have not taken a hiatus and played active roles in Netanyahu’s previous governments. They expect Netanyahu to follow his previous behavior of favoring seniority over the Likud primary results. Former Minister Tzachi Hanegbi, also a member of the 1988 class that included Netanyahu and Begin, is one of just four current Likud MKs to have served in Netanyahu’s first cabinet (the others are Begin, Shalom and Edelstein, then of the Yisrael B’Aliyah party). Former Deputy Minister Gila Gamliel, the only current Likud member of the 2003 class that is not a minister, expects to be appointed as the senior female Likud member. Committee Chairman Chaim Katz who has been passed up many times for a portfolio since he was first elected to Knesset in 1999 is expecting to finally join the cabinet.

That leaves six right-wing members of the Likud 2009 class: Zeev Elkin, Yariv Levin, Ofir Akunis, Danny Danon, Tzipi Hotovelly and Miri Regev. All of them expect to be ministers. Some of them have scored very high in the last two Likud primaries and others expect to be rewarded for performing the more difficult tasks of Netanyahu’s second and third governments. Judging by Netanyahu’s previous preferences his next government might not include these six right-wing Likud members.

It is not just the 2009 class who might be disappointed. Others such as Kara and Chaim Katz could also see themselves disappointed as well. With so much focus on his coalition partners and 17 of the 30 Likud MKs expecting a ministry, Prime Minister Netanyahu might have bigger headaches during his fourth government from his own party members who are not happy with their appointments.

Party Double Envelopes
Likud 25.65%
Zionist Union 17.71%
Bayit Yehudi 12.39%
The Joint List 12.39%
Yesh Atid 9.41%
Kulanu 8.81%
Meretz 4.56%
Shas 4.45%
Yisrael Beitenu 4%
Green Leaf 3.64%
Yachad 2.90%
UTJ 2.69%

Double envelope votes: Israeli army bases, overseas voting, specialized handicap stations, hospitals, jails and polling station committee members.

Notable MKs and former MKs who missed out on a Knesset seat

Likud – #37 Former Deputy Minister Michael Ratzon
Labor – #29 MK Moshe Mizrachi, #28 Former MK Robert Tyivayev
The Joint List – None
Yesh Atid – #12 MK Elazar Stern, #13 MK Penina Tamano, #14 MK Boaz Toporovsky, #15 MK Ruth Calderon, #16 MK Yifat Kariv, #17 MK Dov Lipman, #18 MK Ronen Hoffman
Kulanu – #12 Former MK and Kadima leader Akrem Hasoon
Bayit Yehudi – #9 MK Shuli Muaalam, #10 Deputy Minister Avi Wortzman, #13 MK Orit Struck
Shas – #8 MK Avraham Michaeli
Yisrael Beitenu – #7 MK Robert Ilatov, #11 MK Alex Miller, #12 MK Leon Litinsky, MK #14 Shimon Ochayon, #16 Former MK Moshe Matalon
UTJ – #7 MK Yaakov Asher
Meretz – #6 Former MK Mosi Raz, #9 Former MK Avshalom Vilan

Party Seats Smith -17 Teleseker -17 New Wave -17 Panels -19 Dialog -19 Midgam -19 Geo -20 Maagar Mochot -23 TRI -23
Likud 30 21 -9 23 -7 23 -7 21 -9 20 -10 22 -8 26 -4 21 -9 24 -6
Zionist Union 24 25 -1 25 -1 23 -1 25 -1 24 26 -2 21 -3 24 24
The Joint List 13 13 12 -1 13 13 13 13 12 -1 12 -1 12 -1
Yesh Atid 11 11 12 -1 13 -2 13 -2 12 -1 12 -1 12 -1 13 -2 14 -3
Kulanu 10 9 -1 9 -1 9 -1 10 10 8 -2 8 -2 8 -2 8 -2
Bayit Yehudi 8 11 -3 11 -3 12 -4 11 -3 12 -4 11 -3 13 -5 13 -5 12 -4
Shas 7 9 -2 7 6 -1 7 7 7 8 -1 7 5 -2
Yisrael Beitenu 6 6 6 6 4 -2 5 -1 5 -1 7 -1 5 -1 4 -2
UTJ 6 6 7 -1 6 6 7 -1 6 8 -2 7 -1 7 -1
Merertz 5 5 4 -1 5 5 5 5 5 5 6 -1
Yachad 0 (3) 4 -1 4 -1 4 -1 5 -2 5 -2 5 -2 3 5 -2 4 -1


Company Off by Last Poll
Smith -17 13-Mar
Telesker -17 13-Mar
New Wave -17 6-Mar
Panels -19 13-Mar
Dialog -19 14-Mar
Midgam -19 14-Mar
Geo -20 8-Mar
Maagar Mochot -23 12-Mar
TRI -23 10-Mar

The only pollster to correctly predict Netanyahu’s Phase 2 partners at 67 seats vs his non-Phase 2 partners at 53 seats is Teleseker.

Smith, New Wave, Dialog and Maagar Mochot predicted 66 seats, Panels, Midgam and TRI predicted 64,  Geocartography predicted 70.

 Party 2015 Seats 2015% 2013 Seats 2013%
Likud 30 23.40% 31 w/YB 23.34%
Zionist Union 24 18.67% 15+6 16.38%
The Joint List 13 10.54% 4+4+3 9.20%
Yesh Atid 11 8.81% 19 14.33%
Kulanu 10 7.49%
Bayit Yehudi 8 6.74% 12 9.12%
Shas 7 5.73% 11 8.75%
Yisrael Beitenu 6 5.11% w/Likud w/Likud
UTJ 6 5.03% 7 5.16%
Meretz 5 3.93% 6 4.55%
Yachad 0 2.97% Otzma – 0 1.76%
Kadima 2 2.09%

Interesting voter breakdown by subgroup:

2013: Right – Likud+Yisrael Beitenu+Bayit Yehudi=43

2015: Right – Likud+Yisrael Beitenu+Bayit Yehudi=44

2013: Center – Lapid+Kadima=21

2015: Center – Lapid+Kulanu=21

2013: Left – Labor+Livni+Meretz=27

2015: Left – Labor+Livni+Meretz=29

2013: Arabs – Hadash+Ra’am+Ta’al+Balad=11

2015: Arabs – Hadash+Ra’am+Ta’al+Balad=13

2013: Haredim – Shas+UTJ=18

2015: Haredim – Shas+UTJ=13

Quick Analysis:

* Right voters moved within their camp.

* Center voters with a Center-Right tendency broke from Lapid to Kahlon.

* Left voters moved within their camp.

* Arabs increased turnout thanks to united list.

* Haredim were hurt by internal voting boycotts and perhaps as much as 1.21% going to Yachad.

Party Exit Poll AVG Knesset Jeremy Model Results after 99.9% Results vs Exits Results vs KJ
Likud 26.2 22 30 +3.8 +8
Zionist Union 25.6 25 24 -1.6 -1
Joint Arab List 13 12 13 0 +1
Yesh Atid 11.8 12 11 -0.8 -1
Kulanu 9.6 9 10 +0.4 +1
Bayit Yehudi 8.4 12 8 -0.4 -4
Shas 7.2 7 7 -0.2 0
UTJ 6.6 7 6 -0.6 -1
Yisrael Beitenu 5.2 5 6 +0.8 +1
Meretz 5.2 5 5 -0.2 0
Yachad 3.2 4 0 (3) -0.2 -1


* Both Exit Poll average and Knesset Jeremy average are within 1 seat on 9 of the 11 parties.

* Exit polls are very close to the current results with the exception of Likud that is at +3.8.

* Knesset Jeremy Model published last week is very close to the results with the exception of Likud gaining at the expense of Bayit Yehudi.


* Likud is the “Yesh Atid” of the 2015 elections.

* Likud gradually gained at the expense of Bayit Yehudi during the last four-five days before the elections as indicated by internal polls that were prohibited from being published by Israeli law.

* Likud gain at expense of Bayit Yehudi is similar on a mathematical level to Yesh Atid gain at expense of Bayit Yehudi in previous election.

* Last polls gave us an accurate picture of Thursday-Friday before Likud’s strategic voting offensive against the right was launched.

* Exit polls missed Likud by close to four seats because their model missed a specific demographic or geographic area.

* It will probably take a few days of going over data to understand what they missed.

* Group of parties that are expected to nominate Prime Minister Netanyahu according to Phase 2 prediction was 66 in the Knesset Jeremy Model and that group is now currently at 67.

*This proves that the last minute shift was within the blocs.


* People are going to focus too much on the polls getting Likud wrong and not enough on the polls more or less getting everything else right.

* I’m looking forward to an interesting and exciting Phase 2 process where I expect Kulanu, Bayit Yehudi, Shas, UTJ and Yisrael Beitenu to join Likud in nominating Prime Minister Netanyahu to get first crack at putting together his fourth term as Prime Minister.


The table has been updated to reflect over 200,000 double envelope votes that were counted on March 19.

Party Channel 2 Channel 10 Channel 1 Channel 99 Channel 20 Exit Poll AVG Knesset Jeremy Model Difference
Likud 28 27 27 26 23 26.2 22 4.2
Zionist Union 27 27 27 27 20 25.6 25 0.6
Joint Arab List 13 13 13 13 13 13 12 1
Yesh Atid 12 11 12 12 12 11.8 12 -0.2
Kulanu 9 10 10 10 9 9.6 9 0.6
Bayit Yehudi 8 8 9 9 8 8.4 12 -3.6
Shas 7 7 7 7 8 7.2 7 0.2
UTJ 6 7 6 6 8 6.6 7 -0.4
Yisrael Beitenu 5 5 5 5 6 5.2 5 0.2
Meretz 5 5 5 5 6 5.2 5 0.2
Yachad 3 3 3 3 4 3.2 4 -0.8

According to the average of exit polls, Knesset Jeremy Model predicted 9 of 11 parties within one seat.

The exception being the transfer of votes from Bayit Yehudi to Likud in the final days at an advanced rate.

Phase 2 Prediction Analysis

Yesterday I focused on Phase 1.

Two days ago I posted the Knesset Jeremy Model Prediction for 2015.

Zionist Union 25
Likud 22
The Joint (Arab) List 12
Yesh Atid 12
Bayit Yehudi 12
Kulanu 9
Shas 7
Yisrael Beitenu 5
Meretz 5
Yachad 4

I listed the two most likely scenarios for Phase 2:

Possible Netanyahu Phase 2: Likud (22), Bayit Yehudi (12), Kulanu (9), Shas (7), UTJ (7), Yisrael Beitenu (5), Yachad (4) =66

Possible Herzog Phase 2: Zionist Union (25), The Joint (Arab) List (12), Yesh Atid (12), Kulanu (9), Meretz (5) =63

Timeline between Phase 1 and 2, and exactly how Phase 2 works:

Tomorrow at 10 PM Israel time the voting will end and election polls will be closed. Those who enter the polling station before 10 PM will still be allowed to vote. Each of the 10,119 polling stations across 3,200 sites will have a committee of three people, representing three different parties and those three people will tally the votes by hand. The party representatives will text the results to their headquarters so that the Party Leaders know the results before the television journalists. The official results will be entered into the computer and published on the Central Elections Committee website http://bechirot.gov.il/ as the night goes on.

The focus will be on the exit polls until the middle of the night when a good percentage of the vote will have been counted. By the morning we should have most of the votes in and the Phase 1 results should be rather clear. The “double-envelope” votes will not be included in these initial results. These are votes by citizens who voted overseas or in Israeli army bases, specialized handicap stations, hospitals, jails or polling station committee members. These votes will be counted afterwards in the Knesset itself. Expect a slight shift of a seat-or-two in the final Phase 1 results after the double-envelope votes are counted.

Phase 2: The newly elected Knesset will be sworn in on March 31st. We will not have a government, but we should know who will get the first crack at putting together a government by that date. President Rivlin is expected to meet with the Knesset factions in an official capacity on March 24th, but he is most likely going to already start working unofficial channels after the election results are clear.

The law for some reason does not take the size of a party into account. The law requires President Rivlin to sit with all of the newly elected lists before making a decision on who should get the first crack at forming a new government. President Rivlin is looking to pressure all of the parties to make a decision, but most likely he will not need to. The last time someone didn’t receive a majority of votes in Phase 2 or the first person to receive that nod was not able to form a government was back in the 1980s. Historically, the issue that forced national unity governments was that the two largest parties had too many seats and it was impossible to form a coalition with the few small parties that passed the threshold in lower single-digits. This all changed with the rise of the middle-sized “kingmaker” parties. The unofficial negotiations that are conducted between Phase 1 and Phase 2 have always enabled one of the Prime Minister candidates to reach enough support to get the first crack.


Bottom line my prediction is that it will not be in President Rivlin’s hands. Someone is going to get a majority. The President has also made it clear that he will do everything in his power to force the parties to make a choice and not drag it out.

The parties visit the President in order of party size. Zionist Union will nominate Herzog. Likud will nominate Netanyahu. The Joint List party head who is from Hadash will nominate Herzog but the leaders of Ra’am and Balad will warn President Rivlin that their list head is not speaking for all of the parties on the list. By law Rivlin will count The Joint List’s votes but will take Ra’am and Balad into account to determine “who has the best chance at forming a coalition” in the event no one gets 61 seats. Yesh Atid will nominate Herzog. Bayit Yehudi will nominate Netanyahu. I predict this is where Rivlin will call it a day for the first day of deliberations.

I expect President Rivlin to start Day 2 of Phase 2 with Kahlon. Kahlon can go either way, but my feeling is that because Trajtenberg and Lapid are above him on the Finance Ministry Portfolio list that Kahlon goes with Netanyahu who had already offered him that position. I could be wrong here but it just seems like Herzog will have a tough job giving Kahlon a competitive offer compared to Netanyahu. I expect both UTJ and Shas to nominate Netanyahu again in return for Haredi funding and the sorts. It is possible that one of the parties in UTJ will not be happy with the Phase 2 decision to nominate Netanyahu.

Liberman might nominate himself to get out of Rivlin’s pressure tactics. He is capable of doing this, but most likely it is an empty threat to milk a better deal out of Netanyahu. Yisrael Beitenu showed their right-wing colors at the right’s rally yesterday and Liberman’s top campaign promises include killing jailed terrorists. This is not exactly the type of thing that you see from a candidate that is angling for a Herzog government invitation. Liberman prefers a national-unity-government but will most likely go for Netanyahu when he sees it is unlikely to happen. Meretz will endorse Herzog and Yachad will endorse Netanyahu. I expect Rivlin to officially give Netanyahu the first crack at a new coalition next weekend.

Netanyahu is going to have problems forming coalition agreements with six additional parties and the people are going to question the legitimacy of a government where the largest party once again does not rule the country. That is our system. It is possible Netanyahu doesn’t reach Phase 3 and that Herzog gets a nod to be the second person to try Phase 2, although I doubt it. It is because of this scenario (and others), that I am going to hold off on my Phase 3 predictions until after the official election results. Of course if Herzog scores the Kahlon nominating some how, he will get the first crack at forming a government.

I want to thank Five Thirty Eight for their interview with me that was released today, to the Huffington Post for using my model as their basis, the many publications that have been linking and crediting my site including the Washington Post and Jerusalem Post. I have started to commit to media appearances tomorrow and others who are interested know how to get in touch.

To all of my loyal readers in Israel – Please exercise your democratic right and vote!

Phase 1 Prediction Analysis

Yesterday I posted the Knesset Jeremy Model Prediction for 2015.

Zionist Union 25
Likud 22
The Joint (Arab) List 12
Yesh Atid 12
Bayit Yehudi 12
Kulanu 9
Shas 7
Yisrael Beitenu 5
Meretz 5
Yachad 4

Few quick notes:

*For those who are wondering, I am expecting a 2-seat margin of error for the larger parties and a 1-seat margin of error for the smaller parties.

*Additionally, there is an indication that many undecided voters will simply end up not voting in this election over choosing a party.

Phase 1 Recap:

#1 – Zionist Union 25 seats:

Background: If you would have told me that the Zionist Union would be the largest list when the election cycle started, I probably would have looked at you funny. That is because it didn’t exist. To be honest, when Opposition Leader Herzog announced he was running for Prime Minister, few people took him seriously, myself included. Labor was averaging third place in the polls, behind the Bayit Yehudi, with 13.4 seats in Week 1, down from the 15 seats Shelly Yachmovich captured in 2013. Meanwhile, Tzipi Livni was polling under the electoral threshold and all of her MKs were looking for their next jobs, negotiating with other parties.

Best Move: Herzog’s decision to save Tzipi Livni’s political career. Word in the Knesset is Livni got her Prime Minister Rotation deal because Herzog was more desperate to make a splash, and Lapid passed because he thought he could snag Kahlon. Labor MKs were furious with the Herzog-Livni deal that left them less spots to compete for in the primary, but knew that voicing their frustrations would make their political survival even more difficult, so they swallowed it.

Before the last elections Livni convinced seven MKs to break off from Kadima to form her party. Her party got six seats, but six of those seven MKs lost their jobs due to low placement on the list that they created for her. Livni knew that Amir Peretz was already on his way back to Labor, following his resignation as a Minister in Netanyahu’s government, and abandoned the rest of her list to join Herzog.

Following the Herzog-Livni merger, the new Zionist Union became the largest list in the polls.

Worst Move: As Zionist Union’s numbers increased, Herzog’s biggest issue remained that many people cast doubt on his ability to form a government. Liberman won’t sit with Meretz, the Haredim won’t sit with Lapid, Kahlon won’t sit with the Arabs. Herzog had an opportunity to prove everyone wrong.

Eight of the eleven lists have a voter exchange agreement. Herzog failed miserably in an attempt to increase their bloc by getting The Joint List to sign a voter exchange agreement so Zionist Union could sign with Yesh Atid. Not only did this harm the seats total of two of the four lists that are part of the Anti-Netanyahu bloc, but it raised serious doubts of The Joint List’s ability to assist Herzog in other technical moves such as nominating him to President Rivlin in Phase 2 or the crucial Knesset vote in Phase 3. This was a leadership type situation in which he needed to prove he could overcome the odds and he was not successful.

Takeaway: Zionist Union has 21 seats together and is expected to win Phase 1 with 25, a simple increase of just four-seats. Livni does own six of those 25 seats and that is her leverage in case Herzog tries to get out of his rotation agreement.

#2 – Likud 22 seats:

Background: Benjamin Netanyahu has been Prime Minister for nine years. Only the country’s founder David Ben-Gurion has sat in that seat for longer. By now you know what you are going to get with Netanyahu, for better or for worse. Netanyahu became increasingly frustrated with his coalition partners following Foreign Minister Liberman’s decision to break up their joint faction. Eventually Netanyahu fired Lapid and Livni and we ended up with the second shortest Knesset in Israel’s history.

Best Move: Netanyahu is still the darling of the Israeli right by turning the election into game theory instead of issues. The slogan “It’s me or them” has been very successful in right-wing circles and has prevented his voters from realizing he hasn’t put out a platform or list of accomplishments on domestic issues. For many nationalists, the fear of a Herzog-Livni led government was enough for Netanyahu and the Likud to stay neck-and-neck with the Zionist Union for a majority of the campaign.

Of course giving a reserved slot to popular former Minister Benny Begin and son of the late Prime Minister Menachem Begin was a slam dunk with hardcore Likud voters. The “trade” of ultra-nationalist Moshe Feiglin for Begin was a move that allowed Netanyahu to appeal towards the center while maintaining his base.

Worst Move: A majority of Israelis answer they want Netanyahu for Prime Minister, but they have issues with the Likud. The Likud failed in its attempts to create an alliance first with Bayit Yehudi and later with Kulanu. Netanyahu has a track record for preferring alliances such as Likud-Gesher-Tzomet, Likud-Achi and Likud-Yisrael Beitenu over running alone.  The failed attempt to bring in Kahlon which collapsed on the day of the deadline for submitting the final lists might go down in history as the moment that will haunt Netanyahu.

Takeaway: Likud, like the Zionist Union is expected to gain four-seats. The issue for Likud is that the Zionist Union started with 21 jumping to 25, while the Likud is increasing from 18 to 22.

#3 – The Joint List 12 seats:

Background: Four parties Hadash, Ra’am, Balad and Ta’al were facing the new electoral threshold of 3.25%. They knew that had to get together for a joint list but found it difficult to do so because of internal party issues and egos.

Best Move: Many questioned if it would be possible to have a list with communists, nationalists and religious Muslims on the same list. After four veteran MKs retired the four lists were able to agree on a joint list. All four parties will survive thanks to the technical bloc.

Worst Move: The infighting within the party prevented a vote exchange agreement which will cost them an additional seat. Their increased turnout would have a bigger impact if they were not just one of three lists without an agreement.

Takeaway: MK Tibi was smart to give up the #1 spot and take the #4 spot in return for that crucial #12 seat. This will be the first time Ta’al has 2 MKs.

#4 – Yesh Atid 12 seats:

Background: Yair Lapid went into this election as the largest party with 19 seats. However, Yesh Atid averaged as the sixth largest party with single digits at the start of the campaign cycle. Lapid, who entered politics just two years ago, kept most of his list in tact by choosing just two new names for his top 12. Three MKs made it easy on him by agreeing to retire.

Best Move: Lapid’s campaign took off once he made clear that he plans to stand up against the Haredim. Lapid doubled down on this approach when he tore apart Aryeh Deri during The Debate. People who voted for Lapid in 2013 and had sworn to themselves for the last two years that they would never vote for him again have suddenly decided to return to Yesh Atid because of the Haredim.

Worst Move: Not running on a joint ticket. Lapid passed on Livni, flirted with Liberman and struck out with Kahlon. If Lapid would have signed with one of them, it is very possible it would be Lapid fighting Netanyahu for the Prime Minister chair. Instead Lapid will settle for the consolation prize of hoping for third place.

Takeaway: Despite dropping from 19 seats to 12, Lapid intends to force Herzog’s hand to drop Manuel Trajtenberg and hand him the Finance Minister position because Lapid will have more seats than Kahlon.

#5 – Bayit Yehudi 12 seats:

Background: Naftali Bennett’s Bayit Yehudi entered Week 1 as the second largest party with a 16.6 average. Bayit Yehudi was polling consistently as the second largest party in the country in the six months leading up to this campaign cycle.

Best Move: Open Primaries. Bayit Yehudi dropped to third place following the Zionist Union merger, but maintained an average of 15-16 seats in the polls consistently due to the buzz of the only open primary of the campaign season. Just three of the eleven parties have primary elections to choose their list. Bayit Yehudi was the only party this cycle to allow new members to join and vote for their list. A field of new candidates contributed to the spectrum of debate in the primary.

Worst Move: Eli Ochana. Reserved slots are used to balance out a list. It appeared like the Bayit Yehudi list was lacking that right-wing, traditional but not too religious, and from a Sephardic background. Apparently Eli Ochana was the wrong call.

Takeaway: Despite polling as the second largest party for the six months leading up into the election, the current average has Bayit Yehudi repeating its previous 12 seat performance.

#6 – Kulanu 9 seats:

Background: Moshe Kahlon flirted with the idea of starting a new party in the previous election but decided he would wait for the following election so he could be the next “Yair Lapid”. He flirted with joining Lapid and later Netanyahu before deciding to run by himself.

Best Move: Kingmaker attitude. His poker-face on Phase 2 along with his ability to stick to domestic issues has helped him throughout this campaign. Making it clear he is running to be Finance Minister has drawn the interest of many Israelis who believe in his Housing Plan.

Worst Move: Amateurish technical moves. Kahlon didn’t bother to check if there was another party registered with the name Kulanu. The “Na Nach” Breslov Hasidim Party knows as Kulanu Chevraim (we are all friends) registered the party name to run in these elections again, a day before Kahlon. Kahlon had to negotiate with a no-name party for the rights to use the party name he had already unveiled. Kahlon also had to give up on two candidates from his party list because he forgot to tell them to resign in time from their government jobs in time to qualify to run in these elections. You have to feel bad for the poor candidates, although one did benefit from the mass exposure of a press conference.

Takeaway: Moshe Kahlon who succeeded in taking seats from everybody is going to be in the next government as a senior minister, no matter what.

#7 – Shas 7 seats:

Background: The leadership trio of the previous election broke up when Aryeh Deri took the reins of Shas. Ariel Attias left politics and Eli Yishai opted to break off to start his own party.

Best Move: Endorsing Netanyahu for Prime Minister. Deri prefers Herzog, but his voters prefer Netanyahu. Committing to backing Netanyahu for Phase 2 has helped Shas rebound from a very tough campaign.

Worst Move: Performance on the Debate. Yair Lapid ripped Deri apart and almost brought him to tears when he called him a convicted felon who needs to be rehabilitated. Eli Yishai also hammered Deri hard on the content of the leaked tapes and scored a few brownie points.

Takeaway: In a campaign cycle where Shas fell under the threshold early, Deri is proud to drop just four seats and get away with seven seats.

#8 – UTJ 7 seats:

Background: UTJ decided to run the same seven people for the top seven seats again.

Best Move: They had entertaining television advertisements and turning their campaign into the anti-Lapid campaign helped morale among those who don’t have a television.

Worst Move: Not reaching a deal with splinter groups within Ashkanazi Jewry, both Lithuanian and Hasidic sects,  that will probably take their votes elsewhere or remain home on Tuesday.

Takeaway: It is all about turnout for UTJ on Election Day with the goal of maintaining their strength.

#9 – Yisrael Beitenu  5 seats

Background: Yisrael Beitenu went into the election with five ministers and 13 seats.

Best Move: Placing popular MK Orly Levy in the #2 position on the list. She is a very popular among the public, but more importantly among the other parties MKs and staff in the Knesset.

Worst Move: Corruption scandals and loss of right flank of the party. It wasn’t just the corruption scandals that plagued the party but the loss of the right-wing side of the party – Ministers Shamir, Landau and Chairman Rotem.

Takeaway: With a loss of eight seats Yisrael Beitenu will be remembered as the loser of this election. Perhaps Liberman regrets his decision to not allow the Haredim to join the government after Netanyahu fired Lapid and Livni.

#10 – Meretz  5 seats

Background: Meretz jumped from 3 to 6 seats in the 2013 election and sat in their usual place in the opposition throughout another term.

Best Move: Clearly articulating that Herzog is not ruling out sitting with Netanyahu in Phase 3 to prevent bleeding to the Zionist Union.

Worst Move: A complicated closed process for selecting their Knesset list by Central Committee instead of an open primary kept Meretz under the radar during the drama of primaries in some parties and new stars being added in others.

Takeaway: Despite polling at four seats in many polls, Meretz had a good week in the last week of polling and should be able to pass the threshold if nothing changes before Election Day.

#11 – Yachad 4 seats

Background: Shas MK Eli Yishai needed a new political home after fighting with Deri and so did Bayit Yehudi MK Yoni Chetboun after he went against Bennett on the new party constitution. Certain Rabbis such as Rabbi Lior and Rabbi Tau were looking for a new Torani political movement to arise.

Best Move: Signing a technical bloc with Baruch Marzel allowed them to pass the threshold.

Worst Move: Signing a technical bloc with Baruch Marzel prevented them from reaching out to more moderate voters.

Takeaway: They should be able to squeak by and pass the electoral threshold.



Upcoming Posts:

Monday – Phase 2 Prediction Analysis.
Tuesday – Phase 3 Prediction Analysis (before polls open).
Tuesday – Election Day (7 AM-10 PM Israel time/No post activity)
Tuesday late night – Exit Polls, Initial Results through the night & Analysis

Knesset Jeremy’s Weekly Average – The Israeli Poll of Polls


Knesset Jeremy Weekly Average #15 (week of March 8-13 2015) of 16 polls from 8 leading polling companies (4 Midgam, 3 Panels, 2 Teleseker, 2 Smith, 2 Dialog, 1 Maagar Mochot,  1 TRI, 1 Geocartography,  0 Sarid & New Wave.)


(Last Week in brackets), current Knesset seats in [brackets]

1st 24.3750 (23.50) [20] Zionist Union (Labor+Livni)

2nd 21.6875 (22.83) [18] Likud

3rd 12.6250 (12.58) [11] The Joint (Arab) List

4th 12.3750 (12.30) [20] Yesh Atid

5th 11.8750 (11.91) [11] Bayit Yehudi

6th 08.8125 (08.25) [02] Koolanu (Kahlon+Kadima)

7th 07.2500 (06.83) [10] Shas

8th 06.5625 (06.66) [07] Yahadut Hatorah/UTJ

9th 05.3125 (05.58) [13] Yisrael Beitenu

10th 05.0625 (05.33) [06] Meretz

11th 04.2500 (04.16) [02] Yachad (Yishai+Chetboun+Marzel)


65.5625 (66.25) [63] Right-Religious-Kahlon (Parties that have not ruled out nominating a Netanyahu coalition)

54.4375 (53.75) [57] Center-Left-Arab (Parties that have ruled out nominating a Netanyahu coalition)


Changes: First time all 11 parties maintained their position from previous week.


Largest Gains: Zionist Union gained 0.87 of a seat; Kulanu gained 0.56 of a seat and Shas gained 0.42.

Biggest Losses: Likud lost 1.15 seats; Yisrael Beitenu and Meretz both dropped 0.27 of a seat.


The 3-phase process to the Prime Minister House: Phase 1 – Elections (seats). Phase 2 – President’s Residence (nomination). Phase 3 – Knesset vote (61 MKs needed).


1 – Knesset Jeremy Analysis – Week 15:

Tonight – Final Average and Prediction (below).
Sunday – Phase 1 Prediction Analysis.
Monday – Phase 2 Prediction Analysis.
Tuesday – Phase 3 Prediction Analysis (before polls open).
Tuesday – Election Day (7 AM-10 PM Israel time/No post activity)
Tuesday late night – Exit Polls, Initial Results through the night & Analysis

For initial analysis on the ‘Poll of Polls’ you can catch my 15th and last weekly Sunday installment with Voice Of Israel’s Gil Hoffman on Voice of Israel.com

2 – Final Prediction based on Knesset Jeremy Model

Zionist Union 25
Likud 22
The Joint (Arab) List 12
Yesh Atid 12
Bayit Yehudi 12
Kulanu 9
Shas 7
Yisrael Beitenu 5
Meretz 5
Yachad 4

  • Methodology: Final model takes into account voter exchange agreements (Zionist Union-Meretz, Likud-Bayit Yehudi, Koolanu-Yisrael Beitneu, Shas-UTJ), disqualified votes (including 15 parties running in Election that are next expected to pass 3.25% threshold and invalid votes), fractions of seats, 120th seat (last seat) scenarios (including crazy mathematical possibilities) and latest momentum model.
  • Disclaimer: Final Model doesn’t take into account people who are still undecided (mostly because they don’t know yet who they are voting for). Therefore it is expected that there will be some movement in the last few days among the top parties. I tried to do my best to predict this with my momentum model, but the weekly swing has been very low in recent weeks.

Possible Netanyahu Phase 2: Likud (22), Bayit Yehudi (12), Kulanu (9), Shas (7), UTJ (7), Yisrael Beitenu (5), Yachad (4) =66

Possible Herzog Phase 2: Zionist Union (25), The Joint (Arab) List (12), Yesh Atid (12), Kulanu (9), Meretz (5) =63

  • Stay tuned for Phase 1 Analysis tomorrow.

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