Category: Daily Updates


Phase 1 Prediction Analysis

Yesterday, I posted the final Knesset Jeremy Polling Average for 2019.

Tonight, I am posting the Knesset Jeremy Model Prediction for 2019.

PlacePartyLeaderKnessetJeremy Prediction ModelChangeLast KnessetJeremy AVG
1stLikudNetanyahu30129
2ndBlue & WhiteGantz29-130
3rdLaborGabbai9-110
4thHadash-TaalOdeh7-18
5thUnited Torah JudaismLitzman6-17
6thUnited Right ListPeretz6-17
7thHaYamin HeHadashBennett606
8thMeretzZandberg5-16
9thShasDeri5-16
10thZehutFeiglin5-16
11thKulanuKahlon4-15
12thYisrael BeitenuLiberman440 (3)
13thRaam-BaladAbbas440 (3)
14thGesher27 Others000 (2)
Right-Religious Bloc66066
Center-Left-Arab Bloc54054

Few quick notes:

*For those who are wondering, I am expecting a 2-seat margin of error for the larger parties, a 1-seat margin of error for the smaller parties and two “exceptions”. I am expecting there to be a major swing where one party receives a majority of undecided voters last minute at the expense of another party that will lose a significant number of votes.

Phase 1 Recap:

#1 Likud: 30 seats:

How we got here: It took Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu six elections as Likud’s leader (1996, 1999, 2006, 2009, 2013, 2015) to reach 30 seats. After a four-year term and an election season of ups and downs it appears that Netanyahu will be right back where he started – 30 seats and the largest party in Knesset.

Why they could get more: If Netanyahu’s decision to repeat his 2015 campaign strategy of a last-minute effort to attract right-wing voters from his bloc to Likud is a success. The danger of this approach is that if he succeeds too much, he might send some of his coalition partners under the electoral threshold, which could put his re-election as Prime Minister in jeopardy.

Why they could get less: If a significant number of Likud voters feel that Netanyahu has won and choose to skip the voting booth on their way to the beach.

#2 Blue & White: 29 seats:

How we got here: After years of scenario polls the “big four” of Gantz, Lapid, Yaalon & Ashekenazi joined up to create the latest mega-party that markets itself as an alternative to Netanyahu. Gantz hopes to succeed where Tzipi Livni’s Kadima in 2009 & Issac Herzog’s Zionist Union failed.

Why they could get more: If Gantz is able to convince more anti-Netanyahu voters that he is the only alternative to Netanyahu.

Why they could get less: If Labor & Meretz voters decide to bolt back to their previous parties because they believe Gantz might take their votes and sit in a coalition government with Netanyahu.

#3 Labor: 9 Seats:

How we got here: Avi Gabbai has brought his party back from polls that had his party within the margin of error of not crossing the threshold to what is now expected to be the third largest party in the next Knesset.

Why they could get more: If Blue & White stumble during the stretch run there are many undecided voters on the center-left bloc that name Labor as their second choice.

Why they could get less: If voters decide that they must flock to the largest party in the bloc.

#4 Hadash-Taal: 7 seats:

How we got here: Odeh & Tibi joined to form what is viewed as a more moderate political home for the non-Jewish population.

Why they could get more: If the turnout of the non-Jewish population is higher than expected.

Why they could get less: If Hadash-Taal voters vote for Raam-Balad because they fear that the latter might not pass the threshold.

#5-tie UTJ: 6 seats:

How we got here: Agudat Yisrael agreed to Degel HaTorah’s terms and for the first time the two Ashkenazi parties that make up the faction are running on a 50%-50% slate. Eli Yishai’s endorsement was also helpful.

Why they could get more: If the general turnout is lower than expected so UTJ is in a great spot to win a seventh seat.

Why they could get less: If a larger number of undecided Haredi voters choose to vote for non-Haredi parties.

#5-tie URP: 6 seats:

How we got here: Bayit Yehudi, Tekuma & Otzma agreed to run a joint faction. Likud gave Bayit Yehudi an additional slot on their list to make up for the voters that can’t stomach voting for Otzma.

Why they could get more: If the last-minute push to get Otzma candidate Itamar Ben Gvir in the Knesset is successful.

Why they could get less: If a significant number of voters are convinced to leave for the Likud.

#5-tie HaYamin HeHadash: 6 seats:

How we got here: Naftali Bennett & Ayelet Shaked, the two most popular ministers in a series of polls before the elections, formed a new party 100 days before the election with a 50% religious – 50% secular slate.

Why they could get more: Early polls had the party in double digits and there are many undecided voters who list them as their second option.

Why they could get less: If a significant number of voters are convinced to leave for the Likud.

#8-tie Meretz: 5 seats:

How we got here: Tamar Zandberg has made the case that Meretz is the only party in Israel that labels itself as a left-wing party and that she will only sit in a Gantz Government.

Why they could get more: If Meretz is able to convince undecided center-left voters that they are the only ones that can pull Gantz to the left.

Why they could get less: If voters decide that they must flock to the largest party in the bloc.

#8-tie Shas: 5 seats:

How we got here: Deri is the only coalition partner that has Netanyahu in his campaign posters. This time around most of the campaign has been devoted to bring-out-the-vote.

Why they could get more: If additional Sephardi voters decide that Aryeh Deri represents them best or that the late Rabbi Ovadiah Yosef still expects them to vote for Shas.

Why they could get less: If a significant number of voters are convinced to leave for the Likud.

#8-tie Zehut: 5 seats:

How we got here: In 2015 then MK Moshe Feiglin fared poorly in the primary and was placed #36 on the Likud list. Likud activist Shai Malka lost his bid for the #30 young slot to Oren Hazan. They left to establish Zehut.

Why they could get more: Although the great majority of their support is from the right, they have the potential to be the surprise of this election because they are pulling voters from across the spectrum.

Why they could get less: If Feiglin makes a gaffe in the final days.

#11-tie Kulanu: 4 seats:

How we got here: Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon won 10 seats in the 2015 election. He was not able to fulfill most of his campaign promises and is now fighting for his political life.

Why they could get more: If soft-right voters that have left him for Likud or Blue & White return home.

Why they could get less: If additional voters are convinced to leave for the Likud.

#11-tie Yisrael Beitenu: 4 seats:

How we got here: Avigdor Liberman quit as Defense Minister and exited the government the day after the second-round of municipal elections. After a few weeks with a slim 61-59 majority Netanyahu decided to call early elections. Liberman is now fighting for his political life.

Why they could get more: If FSU immigrants that have left him for Likud or Blue & White return home.

Why they could get less: If additional voters are convinced to leave for the Likud.

#11-tie Raam-Balad: 4 seats:

How we got here: Following the success of The Joint List in the previous election Raam & Balad took a hard line in negotiations in efforts to maximize the number of slots they would have on the next joint slate. Taal left first and Hadash followed. Raam & Balad hold 8 of the 13 Joint List’s current seats but are now fighting for their political survival.

Why they could get more: If efforts to convince non-Jewish voters that voting for them is necessary or else, they will fall under the threshold.

Why they could get less: If turnout among Raam’s Bedouin sector is lower than expected.

#14 Gesher and others: 0 seats:

How we got here: Orly Levy broke off from Yisrael Beitenu. Early on it appeared like she could be the surprise of the election, but Blue & White stole her thunder.

Why they could get more: In a lower turnout situation Gesher has a decent shot at passing.

Why they could get less: You can’t get less than zero seats. Gesher didn’t pass the electoral threshold in 13 of the last 14 polls.

Right-Religious Bloc: 66

Likud 30 – UTJ 6 – URP 6 – HaYamin HeHadash 6 – Shas 5 – Zehut 5 – Kulanu 4 – Yisrael Beitenu 4

How we got here: Instead of six there are now eight parties in the bloc. For the most part Netanyahu’s core base has remained in Likud and the rest of the bloc have rearranged themselves. Zehut’s support from center-left voters have replaced the voters from the right-religious bloc that have moved to Blue & White.

Why they could get more: If HaYamin HeHadash, Zehut, Kulanu & Yisrael Beitenu pick up undecided voters from Blue & White.

Why they could get less: If Kahlon and/or Liberman fall under the threshold.

Center-Left-Arab Bloc: 54

Blue & White 29 – Labor 9 – Hadash-Taal 7 – Meretz 5 – Raam Balad 4

How we got here: In 2015 there were four parties, but in 2019 there are now five parties that are ruling out joining a Netanyahu Government as part of their campaign. Blue & White has gained some votes from the right-religious bloc, although they have lost many of the soft right votes they had six weeks ago.

Why they could get more: If Center-left Zehut voters decide to move back to their bloc.

Why they could get less: If Raam-Balad falls under the threshold.

KnessetJeremy Schedule:

Friday Afternoon: I posted the last Weekly Average which you can find below. Today is the last day that public polls can be published or broadcast. Internal/private polling will continue until Election Day but it will be illegal for parties to post the results.

Saturday Night: I will post my final prediction based on my model that takes into account invalid votes, disqualified votes from parties that are not expected to pass 3.25% threshold, voter exchange/surplus agreements, and perhaps most importantly my momentum model to resolve issues regarding undecided voters.

Sunday: I will post my Phase 1 (Knesset Election) Prediction Analysis. 

Monday: I will post my Phase 2 (Nominations at President’s Residence) Prediction Analysis.

Tuesday Morning: Before Polls open I will post my Phase 3 (Confidence Vote in the Knesset) Prediction Analysis.

Tuesday – Election Day: No post activity during the voting from 7 AM-10 PM Israel time.

Tuesday Late Night: I will post exit polls and initial results through the night including analysis.

Wednesday: I will post the unofficial election results pending the double envelopes (soldiers, hospitals, diplomats, election staff, prisons, etc.).

Thursday: I will post the unofficial election results including the double envelopes.

April-May-June: I will cover the developments of Phase 2 & Phase 3 through the confidence vote of Israel’s new government which I predict will take place on the first week of June.

Note for Media: Please credit my work if you are going to use it. My time is limited, but I can provide exclusive quotes, and I still have a few windows of time available for TV appearances. Jeremy@KnessetJeremy.com

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

Current update: Saturday April 6 2019.

  • The original post went out Friday afternoon. This updated version includes the last poll which was aired on Friday night. There was no change to the seat count that was posted yesterday.
PlacePartyLeaderSeatsKnessetJeremy AVGChangeWeek 14 AVGCurrent
1stBlue & WhiteGantz3029.7-0.830.511
2ndLikudNetanyahu2928.3-0.428.729
3rdLaborGabbai109.70.69.118
4thHadash-TaalOdeh87-0.27.26
5thUnited Torah JudaismLitzman76.5-0.16.66
6thUnited Right ListPeretz76.106.15
7thHaYamin HeHadashBennett65.7-0.25.93
8thMeretzZandberg65.60.55.15
9thShasDeri65.3-0.15.47
10thZehutFeiglin65.30.25.10
11thKulanuKahlon54.60.54.110
12thYisrael BeitenuLiberman030.52.55
13thRaam-BaladAbbas02.902.97
14thOther27 Others00.3-0.50.88
Right-Religious Bloc6664.80.464.466
Center-Left-Arab Bloc5455.2-0.455.654

Note #1: The electoral voting threshold is equivalent to 3.25 percent of total votes, equivalent to approximately four parliamentary seats. Parties currently polling below the threshold, including parties listed as “other” are weighted down to zero in the polling average to allow this polling model to maintain a simplified 120-seat framework.

Note #2: This average is based on the last 14 polls that were released from Friday afternoon March 30 to Friday evening April 5 (3 Midgam, 3 Maagar Mochot, 3 Dialog/Panel Project HaMidgam, 2 Panels, 2 Smith, 1 Teleseker & 0 Direct Polls).

Note #3: For a better understanding of how a Prime Minister is elected read – Israeli politics ‘101’: Electing a prime minister and forming a government coalition – at: https://www.jns.org/israeli-politics-101-electing-a-prime-minister-and-forming-a-coalition/

Note #4: Voter exchange/surplus agreements have been signed between A) Labor & Meretz, B) HaYamin HeHadash & Yisrael Beitenu, C) Likud & United Right List, D) Shas & UTJ & E) Hadash-Taal & Raam-Balad.

Note #5: Kulanu passed the electoral threshold in 13 of 14 polls this week. Raam Balad passed in 10 polls, Yisrael Beitenu passed in 10 polls and Gesher passed in 1 poll this week.

Note #6: The right-religious bloc of Likud-UTJ-URL-HaYamin HeHadash-Shas-Kulanu-Yisrael Beitenu-Zehut is polling at a high of 69 and a low of 62. The center-left-Arab bloc of Blue & White-Labor-Hadash-Taal-Meretz (including Raam-Balad & Gesher when they pass the threshold) is polling at a high of 58 and a low of 51.

Note #7: Blue & White is the largest party in 9 of the 14 polls this week, Likud leads Blue & White in 4 polls, and one poll has them both tied.

Note #8: 47 parties registered to participate in the April 9 Election. 6 parties have withdrawn to date.

Compiled for the Jewish News Syndicate (JNS.org)


Likud Knesset List before appeals. 

Last 3 Knesset list ranking in brackets.

1 – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (#1 in 2015, 2013 & 2009)
2 – Speaker Yuli Edelstein (#3 in 2015, #12 in 2013 & 2009)
3 – Minister Yisrael Katz (#4 in 2015, #5 in 2013, #11 in 2009)
4 – Minister Gilad Erdan (#2 in 2015, #3 in 2013 & 2009)
5 – Gideon Saar (sat out 2015, #2 in 2013 & 2009)
6 – Minister Miri Regev (#5 in 2015, #14 in 2013, #27 in 2009)
7 – Minister Yoav Galant (Kulanu MK in 2015)
8 – Minister Yariv Levin (#10 in 2015, #11 in 2013, #21 in 2009)
9 – Nir Barkat (First primary)
10 – Minister Gila Gamliel (#14 in 2015, #20 in 2013, #19 in 2009)
11 – MK Avi Dichter (#26 in 2015, #59 in 2013, Kadima MK in 2009)
12 – Minister Zeev Elkin (#8 in 2015, #9 in 2013, #20 in 2009)
13 – Minister Ofir Akunis (#15 in 2015, #19 in 2013, #26 in 2009)
14 – Minister Tzachi Hanegbi (#12 in 2015, #17 in 2013, Kadima MK in 2009)
15 – Minister Chaim Katz (#17 in 2015, #13 in 2013, #14 in 2009)
16 – Deputy Minister Tzipi Hotoveli (#20 in 2015, #10 in 2013, #18 in 2009)
17 – Minister Yuval Steinitz (#13 in 2015, #16 in 2013, #9 in 2009)
18 – MK Amsalam (#21 in 2015, #41 in 2013)
19 – Idan Pinchas (District, #36 in 2015)
20 – MK Amir Ochana (#32 in 2015)
21 Chairman slot
22 – Ofir Katz (District)
23 – Etti Atayah (District)
24 – MK Yoav Kisch (#19 in 2015, #108 in 2013)
25 – MK David Bitan (#16 in 2015, #35 in 2013)
26 – Keren Barak (woman slot, #45 in 2013, #32 in 2009)
27 – Shlomo Karai (District)
28 Chairman slot
29 – MK Miki Zohar (#22 in 2015)
30 – MK Avraham Negosa (immigrant slot, #27 in 2015, #46 in 2013)
31 – Michal Shir (District)
32 – Mula (District)
33 – Kati Shitrit (woman slot, #38 in 2013, #31 in 2009)
34 – Mai Golan (youth slot)
35 – Uzi Dayan (District, #44 2009)
36 Chairman slot

National List:

1st 37,524 Speaker Yuli Edelstein
2nd 36,758 Minister Yisrael Katz
3rd 34,232 Minister Gilad Erdan
4th 33,682 Gideon Saar
5th 32,904 Minister Miri Regev
6th 31,227 Minister Yoav Galant
7th 31,067 Minister Yariv Levin
8th 30,143 Nir Barkat
9th 29,045 Minister Gila Gamliel
10th 25,801 MK Avi Dichter
11th 23,517 Minister Zeev Elkin
12th 23,102 Minister Ofir Akunis
13th 23,085 Minister Tzachi Hanegbi
14th 22,672 Minister Chaim Katz
15th 22,528 Deputy Minister Tzipi Hotovely
16th 22,117 Minister Yuval Steinitz
17th 21,964 MK David Amsalam
18th 21,205 MK Amir Ochana
19th 20,183 MK Yoav Kisch
20th 20,036 MK David Bitan
21st 19,260 MK Miki Zohar
22nd 16,532 MK Sharan Heskel
23rd 14,502 Keren Barak
24th 13,046 Minister Ayoub Kara
25th 12,474 MK Yehuda Glick
26th 11,586 MK Nurit Koren
27th 11,240 MK Oren Hazan
28th 10,667 Kati Shitrit
29th 9,547 MK Anat Barko
30th 9,123 Nir Hirschman
31st 8,640 Patin Mula
32nd 8,411 Deputy Minister Yaron Mazuz
33rd 6,552 Mai Golan
34th 5,817 MK Nava Boker
35th 5,704 MK Avraham Negosa
36th 4,564 Moshe Pesel
37th 4,376 MK Osnat Mark
38th-72nd place all received less than 4,000 votes each

Districts

Coastal Region: 563 Uzi Dayan (1st of 13 candidates)
Tel Aviv Region: 364 Michal Shir (1st of 8 candidates)
Dan Region: 694 Eti Atayah (1st of 11 canididates)
Haifa Region: 501 Ariel Kelner (1st of 5 candidates)
Jerusalem Region: 486 Amit Halevy (1st of 12 candidiates)
Regional Councils: 161 Nisim Vaturi (1st of 5 canididates)
Shfelah Region: 954 Pinchas Idan (1st of 5 candidates)
Galilee Region: 672 Ofir Katz (1st of 8 candidates)
Negev Region: 631 Shlomo Karai (1st of 8 canidiates)
Judea & Samaria: 286 Shevach Shtern (1st of 3 candidates)

KnessetJeremy is back from vacation. I want to thank my loyal readers who reached out to express their frustration over the break. It felt good to be missed. It has been five years since I took a real vacation and it was well worth it.

There are five polls that came out during my break and I will post them in chronological order after this post. I hope to also put out a “Weekend Perspective” piece for this weekend.

Below is the updated “Knesset Jeremy Polling Average” which has also been updated on the site. The significant change of the month is the Joint List is now in third place and Zionist Union has dropped to fourth.

_____________________________________________________________

KnessetJeremy Polling Average – The Israeli Poll of Polls

Current update: July 19 2016

Party KnessetJeremy Polling Average (June/July) Change since previous KJPA (April/May) KJPA (April/May) All Polls since Elections 2015 Election
Likud 26.3 -0.4 26.7 26.7 30
Yesh Atid 19.7 -0.3 20 19 11
Joint List 13 0.2 12.8 12.8 13
Zionist Union 12.7 -0.1 12.8 15.1 24
Bayit Yehudi 12 0.7 11.3 11.5 8
Yisrael Beitenu 9 0 9 8.5 6
UTJ 7.7 -0.3 8 7.2 6
Shas 7 1.3 5.7 6.5 7
Kulanu 6.7 -0.1 6.8 6.6 10
Meretz 6 -0.8 6.8 6 5
Right-Religious 68.7 1.2 67.5 67.1 67
Center-Left-Arab 51.3 -1.2 52.5 52.9 53
Party 22 Poll Avg 22 Poll Placing Avg 2015 Election 2015 Placing Up/Down
Likud 26.7 1st 30 1st 0
Yesh Atid 19 2nd 11 4th 2
Zionist Union 15.1 3rd 24 2nd -1
Joint List 12.8 4th 13 3rd -1
Bayit Yehudi 11.5 5th 8 6th 1
Yisrael Beitenu 8.5 6th 6 8th 2
UTJ 7.2 7th 6 9th 2
Kulanu 6.6 8th 10 5th -3
Shas 6.5 9th 7 7th -2
Meretz 6 10th 5 10th 0
Right-Religious 67.1 n/a 67 n/a n/a
Center-Left-Arab 52.9 n/a 53 n/a n/a

 

The KnessetJeremy Polling Average tracks the most recent polling numbers. This page is updated as new polls are added to the site and the KnessetJeremy poll database.

Currently there have been 22 opinion polls released to the public since the election. The “KnessetJeremy Polling Average – The Israeli Poll of Polls” is currently averaging the three most recent polls conducted in June and July. The previous update averaged the six polls conducted in May. In April no opinion polls were released to the public.

KnessetJeremy is going on vacation.
Posts will resume after July 15th.
-Jeremy

I am a big baseball fan. Looking at the last year, it is easy to view the Knesset and compare it to baseball. The Knesset went to elections after a winter of MKs switching teams and the emergence of new parties. It has been a long 168-day season so far since the election of the 20th Knesset on March 17th 2015. Following the spring training, the new MKs officially took their seats on March 31st 2015. Today, on September 2nd, as the Knesset approaches the fall and marathon of budget votes, the rosters of the Knesset and cabinet members went through a series of changes. Another round of changes is expected before the fall classic, the Israeli state budget.

The Knesset took a break from their summer recess to approve the budget in its first reading. The Knesset also welcomed a new minister, a minister promotion to a ministry, three new MKs and a lot of gossip. Let’s go through it.

Cabinet Changes:

Two holes in the cabinet were created over the last week for two very different reasons.

Danny Danon (Likud) decided to accept the appointment as the Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations General Assembly in New York. After the cabinet approved the measure Danon automatically vacated a spot in Netanyahu’s 20-minister cabinet as a result of the vote. A list of five Likud MKs pushed for Danon’s spot. The two main candidates were Benny Begin (who resigned from his cabinet post earlier in the term to make room for the return of Likud’s #2 Gilad Erdan) and Coalition Chairman Tzachi Hanegbi (who is promised an appointment to a cabinet post as part of a rotation agreement with Minister Akunis). Former Minister Avi Dichter and Deputy Ministers Kara and Hotovely also thought they should get Danon’s job.

Meanwhile, thanks to a petition by opposition party Yesh Atid, the Supreme Court placed Netanyahu in a situation where he would be forced to legally appoint Ya’acov Litzman (UTJ) as a Minister. Litzman had been serving as the Deputy Health Minister who was conducting himself as the Minister under an agreement with Netanyahu. UTJ had refused to take on Minister positions for decades for what they claimed was religious reasons. UTJ’s Great Council of Sages found a loophole in the religious reasoning and approved Litzman’s appointment. Netanyahu gave Danon’s 20th spot in cabinet to Litzman instead of promoting a Likud MK. Litzman’s appointment was approved by the Knesset today.

Although Litzman had taken Danon’s position in the cabinet, Netanyahu had to make the decision which current Likud Minister would get Danon’s Science & Technology Ministry. A few Likud Ministers competed for the position. Netanyahu chose to promote Minister-without-portfolio Ophir Akunis to the Science & Technology portfolio. Akunis will still remain with the authority he was given in the Communications Ministry as well. The Akunis appointment was also brought to the Knesset today.

There are rumors that Netanyahu will seek to expand the cabinet from 20-ministers to 21 in order to add an additional Likud Minister. The Likud had 12 of the 20 cabinet spots before the Danon resignation and now have 11 of 20.

Knesset Changes:

Besides opening up a cabinet position (filled by Litzman), and a ministry position (filled by Akunis), the Danny Danon UN appointment also opened up an MK position, which was filled by Sharren Haskel, who was next in line on the Likud list. Haskel was officially sworn in during today’s Knesset session. Haskel is the 30th female MK which brings the number of female MKs to 25% of its membership for the first time in Knesset history.

Yesh Atid’s #2 Shai Piron announced today his resignation which will go into effect in 48-hours on Friday. Former Hatnua/Livni Party MK Elazar Stern is the next name on the list and will serve as a Yesh Atid MK for the rest of the term.

Yisrael Beitenu’s Sharon Gal also announced his resignation today. Gal is the second Yisrael Beitenu MK to choose to leave so far this term. The next name on the list that will take his place is Oded Forer.

Are more fresh faces on the way? There are rumors that another MK’s resignation might be imminent. Additionally, the legal troubles of Likud MK Oren Hazan are increasing with the police recommending an indictment.

Following the passage of the Norwegian Law there should be up to five new MKs before the opening of the winter recess. The law enables a minister from each coalition party to quit the Knesset in favor of the next name on their party’s list and return if they quit their cabinet post. Before the passage of the law it was impossible to return to Knesset during the same term if a minister left their cabinet post.

Shas leader Arye Deri, Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett and Kulanu head Moshe Kahlon are expected to quit the Knesset to bring in the next people on their list. Former 3-term Shas MK Avraham Michaeli will replace Deri in the Knesset. Former Bayit Yehudi MK Shuli Mualem will replace Bennett. Former Kadima MK Akram Hasson is the next person on the Kulanu list after the person ahead of Hasson took a job as Kahlon’s CEO of the Finance Ministry. It is unclear yet who will resign for UTJ’s former MK Ya’akov Asher because of internal political disagreements. Rumors have it that Akunis will resign from Knesset to let in the next Likud member on the list, Amir Ohana, who would be the first openly gay Likud MK. The rumors claim Akunis had to agree to resign from Knesset in order to get Danon’s portfolio.

Budget

The budget passed in its first reading today by the vote of 57-53. Israel’s 2016 budget allocates for the first time more to education (NIS 60.6b) than to defense (NIS 56b) per Jerusalem Post’s Lahav Harkov.

Committee Appointments and Chairs

Will update as week goes on
12 Knesset Committee Chairs

Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee – Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud)

Appropriations Committee – Moshe Gafni (UTJ)

Law, Justice and Constitution Committee – Nissan Slomiansky (Bayit Yehudi)

Labor, Welfare and Health Committee – Elie Elalouf (Kulanu)

Education, Culture, and Sports Committee – TBD (Shas MK)

Science and Technology Committee – TBD (UTJ MK)

House Committee –

Internal Affairs and Environment Committee –

Committee for Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs –

Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality –

Economy Committee – Eitan Cabel (Zionist Union)

State Control Committee – Karin Elharrar (Yesh Atid)

4 Other Knesset Committee Chairs:

Rights of the Child or Public Petitions Committee Committee – Kulanu MK will serve in one

Drug and Alcohol Abuse,   Committee on Foreign Workers – Most likely will go to Opposition

 Committee Appointments

Committee Likud Zionist Union Joint List Yesh Atid Kulanu
House Committee 6 3 2 1 1
Appropriations Committee 4 3 2 1 2
Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee 5 5 0 2 1
Law, Justice and Constitution Committee 3 2 1 2 1
Economy Committee 3 3 2 1 1
Internal Affairs and Environment Committee 3 2 2 1 1
Education, Culture, and Sports Committee 3 2 2 1 1
State Control Committee 3 2 1 1 1
Labor, Welfare and Health Committee 3 2 1 1 1
Science and Technology Committee 3 2 1 1 1
Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs 1 2 0 1 1
Status of Women and Gender Equality 1 2 2 1 1
 Total 38 30 16 14 13
Committee Bayit Yehudi Shas Beitenu UTJ Meretz
House Committee 1 1 1 1 0
Appropriations Committee 1 1 1 1 1
Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee 2 0 1 1 0
Law, Justice and Constitution Committee 1 1 0 1 1
Economy Committee 0 1 0 1 1
Internal Affairs and Environment Committee 1 1 0 1 1
Education, Culture, and Sports Committee 1 1 1 1 0
State Control Committee 1 1 1 0 0
Labor, Welfare and Health Committee 0 1 0 1 1
Science and Technology Committee 0 0 1 0 0
Immigration, Absorption and Diaspora Affairs 1 1 2 0 0
Status of Women and Gender Equality 1 0 1 0 1
Total 10 9 9 8 6

Committee Appointments approved 30-2 in the Temporary Knesset Committee.

Nine of the ten factions agreed to the appointments.

Yisrael Beitenu voted against.

Yisrael Beitenu asked for a revision, claiming they are not interested in two spots on Immigration Committee.

The revision was defeated.

Update #1:

11 Security Cabinet Ministers

3 Returning Ministers

Netanyahu (Likud)
Yaalon (Likud)
Bennett (Bayit Yehudi)

8 New Ministers

Kahlon (Kulanu)
Deri (Shas)
Shaked (Bayit Yehudi)
Y. Katz (Likud)
Shalom (Likud)
Elkin (Likud)
Levin (Likud)
Begin (Likud)

Update #2 – Deputy Ministers

Deputy Finance Minister Yitzack Cohen (Shas)
Deputy Defense Minister Eli Ben-Dahan (Bayit Yehudi)
Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovelly (Likud)
Deputy Health Minister Yaakov Litzman (UTJ)
Deputy Education Minister Meir Parush (UTJ)
Deputy Welfare Minister Mashulam Nahari (Shas)
Deputy Regional Cooperation Minister Ayoub Kara (Likud)

Phase Three was finally completed on May 14th 2015, almost two months after the election, following the 61-59 vote in the Knesset plenum.

Israel’s 34th Government (Netanyahu’s 4th)

20 Ministers + PM

Prime Minister + Foreign Minister + Health Minister + Communications Minister + Regional Cooperation Minister + Authority of Jerusalem Affairs Minister – Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud)

Finance Minister – Moshe Kahlon (Kulanu)

Education Minister + Diaspora Affairs Minister – Naftali Bennett (Bayit Yehudi)

Economy Minister + Negev & Galil Minister – Aryeh Deri (Shas)

Defense Minister – Moshe Yaalon (Likud)

Interior Minister + Deputy Prime Minister – Silvan Shalom (Likud)

Justice Minister – Ayelet Shaked (Bayit Yehudi)

Transportation Minister + Intelligence Affairs Minister + Authority of Atomic Energy – Yisrael Katz (Likud)

Energy and Water + Partial authority of Strategic Affairs – Yuval Steinitz (Likud)

Housing Minister – Yoav Galant (Kulanu)

Religious Services Minister – David Azoulay (Shas)

Agriculture Minister – Uri Ariel (Bayit Yehudi)

Internal Security Minister + Tourism Minister + Minister Coordinating with Knesset – Yariv Levin (Likud)

Immigration & Absorption Minister + Partial authority of Strategic Affairs – Zeev Elkin (Likud)

Science, Technology & Space Minister – Danny Danon (Likud)

Welfare Minister – Chaim Katz (Likud)

Culture & Sport Minister – Miri Regev (Likud)

Senior Citizens Minister + Gender Equality Minister + Authority of Youth Department and Minority Affairs – Gila Gamliel (Likud)

Minister in Communications Ministry (under Communications Minister Netanyahu) – Ofir Akuins (Likud)

Minister without portfolio – Benny Begin (Likud)

Environment Minister – Avi Gabai (Kulanu)

Other Tidbits

Defense & Foreign Affairs Knesset Committee Chairman + Coalition Chairman Tzachi Hanegbi will swap places with Ofir Akunis as a Minister in the Communications Ministry in a year.

Deputy Health Minister Litzman (UTJ), Deputy Foreign Minister Hotovelly (Likud) and Deputy Regional Cooperation Minister Kara (Likud) will serve under Health, Foreign & Regional Cooperation Minister Netanyahu, without another Minister on top of them. The other Deputy Ministers, such as Deputy Defense Minister Ben-Dahan (Bayit Yehudi), will have Ministers above them.

Likud’s  #2 Gilad Erdan refused a spot in Netanyahu’s cabinet because his requests for Foreign or Interior+Internal Security was denied.

Stay tuned for the Knesset Jeremy analysis later this weekend.

The Opening of the 20th Knesset

At 4 PM Knesset Secretary Yardena Meller-Horowitz opened the 20th Knesset session by introducing the President. President Reuven Rivlin gave the first speech of the 20th Knesset. Afterwards he swore in the most veteran MK Amir Peretz (Zionist Union) to serve as temporary Speaker of the House. Quotes were recited from both Tehilim (Psalms) and the declaration of independence to reflect the Jewish and democratic nature of the state. Speaker Peretz swore in his 119 colleagues with two minor interruptions by MKs Aryeh Deri (Shas) and Achmad Tibi (The Joint List). The session concluded with the national anthem Hatikva. At 4:55 PM Speaker Peretz called for a 65-minute recess for the purpose of enjoying the official toast and taking the ceremonial picture.

Following the First Recess

Speaker Peretz opened the session 32 minutes late. He announced that on March 25th President Rivlin officially handed over to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the mandate to form the next government. Knesset Steering Committee Chairman Zeev Elkin (Likud) informed the Knesset of the proposed composition of the 32-member steering committee. The Steering Committee was approved in the first Knesset vote of the 20th Knesset – 107-0. Speaker Peretz announced that the Speaker of the previous Knesset, MK Yuli Edelstein (Likud), has been nominated by nine of the ten Knesset lists to serve as Speaker for the 20th Knesset. Edelstein’s nomination was approved by the Knesset vote of 103-1 with 7 abstaining MKs from The Joint List. Minister Shalom (Likud) announced that he has voted against Edelstein’s appointment by accident. The outgoing Speaker Peretz gave the gavel to the new (old) Speaker Edelstein. Speaker Edelstein gave a warm speech thanking the Knesset for re-electing him. Following the speech Speaker Edelstein called for a recess for the Steering Committee to convene and closed the 21-minute session.

Following the Second Recess

Speaker Edelstein opened the session after a 72-minute recess. Deputy Minister Ofir Akunis (Likud) announced that the Government has approved that Prime Minister Netanyahu will remain the caretaker Minister is charge of seven ministries – Finance, Health, Environment, Education, Science & Technology, Justice and Welfare. Akunis announced that in three of those ministries Netanyahu has appointed Deputy Ministers to administrate those offices – Deputy Environment Minister Akunis, Deputy Health Minister Tzachi Hanegbi (Likud) and Deputy Science & Technology Minister Tzipi Hotovely (Likud). Steering Committee Chairman Elkin announced that his committee has agreed on two temporary 17-MK Knesset Committees that will function until the new government if formed. Elkin designated the previous committee chairs to remain in their positions – Appropriations Committee Chairman Nissan Slomiansky (Bayit Yehudi) and Defense & Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Yariv Levin (Likud). Elkin announced that the Defense & Foreign Affairs Committee would meet the next day at 9:30 AM and the Appropriations Committee at 2 PM. Elkin informed Speaker Edelstein that the Steering Committee has decided to call for a Knesset Recess starting tomorrow (April 1st) until Monday May 4th. Elkin went through the procedures for the plenum and two functioning Knesset committees during the 33-day recess. Speaker Edelstein expressed hope that Prime Minister Netanyahu would form a government before the next Knesset session on May 4th.  The Speaker closed the third part of the Knesset session that lasted just ten minutes. Despite opening at 4 PM and closing at 8:15 PM the Knesset was in session for just 86 minutes.

President Rivlin conducted “Day 2” of his consultations with the remaining delegations. Kulanu and Yisrael Beitenu nominated Netanyahu. Yesh Atid did not nominate anyone. Meretz chose to nominate Herzog.

It was the kingmaker Moshe Kahlon who endorsed Netanyahu for Phase 2 earlier in the day to bring him to 61 seats. This clinched Netanyahu’s victory and took away the possibility of President Rivlin choosing Herzog or demanding a unity government. The law does not allow the President to intervene if a candidate recieves a majority. Yesh Atid decided to keep their Phase 3 options open by not nominating Herzog for Phase 2, despite promising they would nominate Herzog before the elections.

President Rivlin will formally ask Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to form his fourth government when the official results are released tomorrow or on Wedensday. Netanyahu has already started holding talks with his potential coalition partners today. It is possible that coalition negotations will go on for several weeks. The next Knesset will be sworn in next week on Tuesday March 31st. Phase 3 will be conducted after Netanyahu signs enough coalition deals to produce a majority of at least 61 MKs to approve his fourth government in Knesset.

The final tally of Phase 2, Israel’s electoral college:

Netanyahu 67 (Likud, Bayit Yehudi, Shas, UTJ, Kulanu and Yisrael Beitenu), Herzog 29 (Zionist Union, Meretz), Neither 24 (The Joint List, Yesh Atid).

My 2 cents: I’ll note that before the election I predicted a Phase 2 coalition of 66 seats for Prime Minister Netanyahu that included the above lists and many of my loyal readers disagreed with me. 🙂