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Later this month the Knesset is expected to approve a biannual state budget that will all but ensure the survival of the current coalition into 2019. The question will shift to what date between January 1st and November 5th the elections for the 21st Knesset will be held in 2019.

The media and opposition are not really covering the state budget. Instead the media and opposition are covering the public broadcasting saga, the Amona Bill, the Loudspeaker Bill, the German submarines, and events such as the latest fires, and the transition from President Obama to President-Elect Trump.

The days of being able to pull a “stinky maneuver” no-confidence motion to topple a government like former President and Prime Minister Shimon Peres attempted on then Prime Minister Yitzchak Shamir in 1990 are over. Over time there have been additional changes to the law to make that impossible unless there are 61 MKs that have ahead of time already come to an agreement on a Prime Minister and cabinet. Since then, the easiest way for the Knesset to topple a Prime Minister and replace a government has become the threat of the Knesset not passing the government state budget. As a direct result the state budget became headline news months ahead of time and previous opposition leaders focused their efforts on defeating it.

Last month, with 2,788 days consecutive days in office, Prime Minister Netanyahu passed Ben-Gurion’s record for the longest consecutive term as Prime Minster. As mentioned in previous Weekend Perspective pieces, Netanyahu can pass Ben-Gurion’s overall time as Prime Minister during this current term.  Although Netanyahu’s Likud is tied with Yesh Atid at 24.4 seats in the KnessetJeremy Polling Average, Netanyahu’s current coalition receives 65.7 seats compared to the current opposition that without the non-Zionist Arab parties has just 41.3 seats.

In this biannual state budget Prime Minister Netanyahu and Finance Minister Kahlon are offering Shas and UTJ the most coalition money they have ever had. Shas and UTJ, therefore, have absolutely no reason to rock the boat. Kahlon, who has obviously signed off on his own state budget, is looking for an extra two years so he can push through his reforms and rebound in the polls. Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman has finally reached his dream ministerial job and the former Foreign Minister is interested in gaining the national defense experience he will need to run for Prime Minister someday. Bayit Yehudi’s Naftali Bennett is still building up his portfolio for an eventual showdown against Liberman and Netanyahu’s Likud successor over the nationalist camp.

The press understands the political reality of Netanyahu’s strength which is why I can understand their decision to ignore for the most part the state budget in favor of the hot topics that will produce ratings and sell papers. After all, the issue of government spending and redistribution of citizens’ tax shekels is not as sexy as discussing German submarines or the Amona situation. Unlike the press, the opposition just seems tired, as if they couldn’t be bothered to even try to read the budget, let alone speak up about it.

Yesh Atid’s Yair Lapid, who leads the opposition parties in the polls and is tied with the Likud for the top party in the land, is a one-man-show. The political environment within his party is a more Gush Dan upper-middle-class Ashkenazi and media savvy version of Liberman’s Yisrael Beitenu. The other Yesh Atid MKs jobs are to play a supporting role as a media personality based on the needs and desires of their Chairman. It is easy to build for the future when there is a known system in place and the head of the party can avoid internal elections.

Supposedly, the Zionist Union leads the opposition with 24 seats. Coalition Chairman (Chief Whip) Bitan’s job is made easy by the lack of coordination between the four opposition lists on most issues and bills. Over the last few years most of the Labor Party veterans have given up on politics and taken other jobs outside of the Knesset. 17 of Zionist Union’s 24 MKs are in their first or second terms. Many of the seven veterans are considering outside options or shortcuts to avoid tiring political primaries. Shelly Yachimovich officially announced that she is considering running for the Histadrut Labor Union instead of running against Herzog. Eitan Cabel is considering running for his old position as the Labor Party Secretary General to avoid running in another primary. Some say Amir Peretz would drop his potential bid for the Labor leadership if he is offered another reserved slot. MK Nachman Shai has reportedly considered other outside options. The two former IDF COS Ashkenazi and Gantz have avoided any direct political involvement and are not card-carrying-members. Herzog’s main opposition in the Labor leadership race next year appears to be second-term MK Erel Margalit, Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai or perhaps Tzipi Livni. Labor is the only democratic party on the center-left where each member can choose their party leader, MK list, and other party institutions such as their Central Committee and local party branch leadership. Herzog is considered a weak leader, the Zionist Union is down to 11 seats in the KnessetJeremy Polling Average, yet no one strong is showing up to try their luck.

The reality of the 2017-2018 state budget that will most likely pass within the next month is that the current right-religious coalition will remain in power for at least another two years, and based on the polls beyond that as well. The Joint List and Meretz are not even pretending to offer an alternative. The Zionist Union is more interested in the Histradrut Labor Union election than their own Leadership Election next year. Meanwhile, Lapid is playing the long game, and Netanyahu is closing in on Ben-Gurion’s more significant record.

Midgam conducted a poll that was broadcast by Channel 2 on Dec 3 2016.

Current Knesset seats in [brackets]

25 [30] Likud

25 [11] Yesh Atid

13 [13] The Joint (Arab) List

11 [08] Bayit Yehudi

10 [24] Zionist Union

08 [06] Yisrael Beitenu

07 [10] Kulanu

07 [07] Shas

07 [06] Yahadut Hatorah/UTJ

07 [05] Meretz


65 [67] Current Right-Religious Coalition

55 [53] Current Center-Left-Arab Opposition


Updated KnessetJeremy Polling Average – The Israeli Poll of Polls:


Panels conducted a poll that was broadcast by the Knesset Channel on November 21st 2016.

Should the residents of Amona resist evacuation?

57% Must leave themselves, 28% Should resist evacuation, 15% Don’t know

Right wing voters: 46% Should resist evacuation, 36% Must leave themselves, 18% Don’t know

Do you support active resistance to the evacuation?

64% No, 19% Yes, 17% Don’t know

Do you agree that the argument the government sent the residents to Amona means they need to take care of them?

79% Yes, 14% No, 7% Don’t know

What would you advise the leaders of the right to focus on?

81% Civil and social issues, 10% Don’t know, 9% Settlements in Judea and Samaria

Right wing voters: 72% Civil and social issues, 16% Settlements in Judea and Samaria, 12% Don’t know

Midgam conducted a poll that was broadcast by the Knesset Channel on November 17th 2016.

Are you pleased with the results of the United States elections?

46% Yes, 33% No, 21% Don’t know

Do you believe Trump will move the US Embassy to Jerusalem?

39% No, 32% Yes, 29% Don’t know

Do you believe Trump will allow Israel to create new settlements in Judea and Samaria?

44% Yes, 29% Don’t know, 27% No

Do you believe Trump will allow Israel to annex the Jewish settlement blocs into Israel?

35% Yes, 33% No, 32% Don’t know

Do you believe Trump will deal with the Iranian threat better than Obama?

42% Yes, 35% No, 23% Don’t know

Do you believe Trump will send US forces to fight against ISIS?

48% Yes, 32% No, 20% Don’t know

Do you think that Trump’s attitude towards Muslims will strengthen Israel’s standings in American public opinion?

37% No influence, 32% Strengthen, 21% Don’t know, 10% Weaken

Midgam conducted a poll that was broadcast by the Knesset Channel on November 10th 2016.

Is it justified for the Knesset to pass laws that cancel decisions made by the Supreme Court?

68% No, 24% Yes, 8% Don’t know

Are you for or against the Outpost Bill that will legalize Jewish settlement in Judea and Samaria on private Palestinian land against the decision of the Supreme Court?

51% Against bill, 38% For bill, 11% Don’t know

Are actions taken against the freedom of the press signs that point towards a facist society?

61% Yes, 25% No, 14% Don’t know

Are actions taken against the independence of the Supreme Court signs that point towards a fascist society?

57% Yes, 32% No, 11% Don’t know

Should the courts defend the minorities in democratic countries even if their positions are not accepted by the majority?

77% Yes, 12% Don’t know, 11% No

Is it possible to wipe out the freedom of the press in Israel?

68% No, 25% Yes, 7% Don’t know

Is it possible to wipe out the independence of the courts in Israel?

50% No, 38% Yes, 12% Don’t know

Panels conducted a poll that was broadcast by the Knesset Channel on November 7th 2016.

What grade would you give Moshe Kalon as Finance Minister?

42% Average, 26% Good, 22% Bad, 10% Don’t know

What subject is the most important subject for Moshe Kahlon to work on?

76% Housing prices, 11% Appointing judges to the high court, 8% Public Broadcasting (New and Old)

Is Kahlon correct in his opposition to closing the new public broadcasting authority?

49% Yes, 28% Don’t know, 23% No

Do you trust Moshe Kahlon to not back down on this issue with Netanyahu?

54% No, 31% Yes, 15% Don’t know

Do you recommend to Kahlon to stay at the head of Kulanu or go back to the Likud?

50% Stay in Kulanu, 27% Go back to Likud, 23% Don’t know

Right voters: 43% Go back to Likud, 38% Stay in Kulanu, 19% Don’t know

How do you classify Kahlon as a politician?

54% Right, 28% Center, 6% Left

Should Kahlon remain as a figure that is identified with the right or should he go towards a new center bloc?

46% Stay in right, 42% Go to new center bloc, 12% Don’t know

Midgam conducted a poll that was broadcast by the Knesset Channel on November 3rd 2016.

Are you for or against the Zionist Union joining the Government?

46% Against, 30% For, 24% Don’t know

Would Zionist Union joining the coalition allow the advancement of a diplomatic process of two states for two peoples?

54% No, 23% Yes, 22% Don’t know

Would Zionist Union joining the coalition help prevent the government from harming the standing of the judicial branch of government and the Supreme Court’s authority?

52% No, 28% Don’t know, 19% Yes

Both Netanyahu and Herzog deny there are negotiations on the Zionist Union joining the government. Do you believe these denials?

59% No, 23% Don’t know, 17% Yes

Supreme Court bypass laws are meant to cancel Supreme Court decisions when they are against the government position. Do you support these types of bills?

31% Yes, 21% No, 18% Don’t know

Today the Attorney General can prevent decisions made by the executive and legislative branches of government if they are not constitutional. Justice Minister Shaked wants to pass a law to repeal that. Do you support the bill?

49% No, 32% Yes, 19% Don’t know

Panels conducted a poll that was broadcast by the Knesset Channel on October 31st 2016.

Are you pleased with the conduct of Avigdor Liberman as Defense Minister?

48% No, 40% Yes, 12% Don’t know

Did Liberman’s decision to grant an interview to a Palestinian paper indicate that he has changed his views?

56% No, 27% Yes, 17% No opinion/Don’t know

Is Avigdor Liberman a worthy candidate to serve as Prime Minister?

68% No, 18% Don’t know, 14% Yes

Right voters: 64% No, 22% Yes, 14% Don’t know

Should Liberman stay as the leader of Yisrael Beitenu or try his luck competing against Netanyahu inside the Likud?

55% Stay in Yisrael Beitenu, 27% Don’t know, 18% Go into Likud

Right voters: 63% Stay in Yisrael Beitenu, 21% Go into Likud, 16% Don’t know

How does it influence your opinion of Liberman the fact that former senior Yisrael Beitenu party leaders were charged for criminal crimes?

45% Hurts him, 35% Doesn’t influence, 16% Don’t know, 4% Strengthens

Panels conducted a poll of 519 people with a 4.5% margin of error on November 15th 2016 that was published by the Jerusalem Post on November 21st 2016.

Do you think President-elect Donald Trump will honor his campaign promise and move the US embassy to Jerusalem?

49% No (38% probably not, 11% for sure not), 38% Yes (32% probably, 6% for sure), 13% Don’t know

Note: Right: 48% Yes, 42% No, 10% Don’t know. Center: 57% No, 31% Yes, 12% Don’t know. Left: 63% No, 23% Don’t know, 14% Yes

Do you feel that Prime Minister Netanyahu is navigating Israel correctly in regards to diplomatic relations with other countries?

44% Yes, 41% No, 15% Don’t know

Note: Right: 66% Yes, 20% No, 14% Don’t know. Center: 59% No, 27% Yes, 14% Don’t know. Left: 85% No, 11% Don’t know, 4% Yes.

Do you believe that in 2017 the UN will decide on a one-sided resolution recognizing a Palestinian state?

45% No (36% Probably not, 9% For sure not), 33% Yes (Probably, For sure), 22% Don’t know

Note: Right: 54% No, 25% Yes, 21% Don’t know. Center: 41% Yes, 38% No, 21% Don’t know. Left: 46% Yes, 32% No, 22% Don’t know

Would you define Donald Trump as a true friend of Israel?

44% Yes, 38% Don’t know, 18% No

Note: Right: 59% Yes, 31% Don’t know, 10% No. Center: 50% Don’t know, 33% Yes, 17% No.  Left: 44% No, 39% Don’t know, 17% Yes

Geocartography conducted a poll of 500 people with a 4.4% margin of error on November 3rd 2016. The poll was published in various media outlets including the Jerusalem Post on November 6th 2016.

In the event that you had an opportunity to vote for President of the United States of America, who would you vote for?

37% Clinton, 34% Trump, 29% Other answers

Breakdown by Israeli party affiliation:

Meretz: 78% Clinton, 11% Trump, 11% Other answers
Zionist Union: 68% Clinton, 19% Trump, 13% Other answers
Yesh Atid: 48% Clinton, 22% Trump, 30% Other answers
Shas: 40.8% Clinton, 39.2% Trump, 20% Other answers
Yisrael Beitenu: 38% Clinton, 34% Trump, 22% Other answers
Kulanu: 34% Clinton, 25% Trump, 41% Other answers
Bayit Yehudi: 25% Clinton, 54% Trump, 21% Other answers
Likud: 24% Clinton, 59% Trump, 17% Other answers
UTJ: 11% Clinton, 88% Trump, 1% Other answers