Category: Weekend Perspective

There are three votes that determine the Israeli Prime Minister. The first, or as I call it “Phase 1”, takes place tomorrow’s Knesset election for Israel’s legislative branch. The second, or as I call it “Phase 2”, takes place when the parties that enter the Knesset nominate a Prime Minister candidate at the President’s Residence. The third, or as I call it “Phase 3”, takes place when the person who was handed the mandate to form a coalition government presents his new government for a confidence vote in the Knesset.

In my previous posts I provided my predictions for Phase 1 and Phase 2. In this piece I will present my predictions for Phase 3.

Option #1: 66 MK right-religious bloc led by Netanyahu: 30 Likud, 6 UTJ, 6 URP, 6 HaYamin HeHadash, 5 Shas, 5 Zehut, 4 Kulanu, 4 Yisrael Beitenu.

In this scenario all of the parties who nominated Netanyahu join his coalition.

Option #2: 61 MK right-religious bloc led by Netanyahu: 30 Likud, 6 UTJ, 6 URP, 6 HaYamin HeHadash, 5 Shas, 4 Kulanu, 4 Yisrael Beitenu.

In this scenario Zehut is left outside of the coalition. A variation of this option would see Netanyahu leaving out Shas, Kulanu or Yisrael Beitenu. Leaving Kahlon or Liberman out would provide a slightly more stable 62-58 coalition.

Option #3: 69 MK National Unity Government with 30 Likud, 29 Blue & White, 9 Labor, 4 Kulanu.

In this scenario Netanyahu either remains Prime Minister for the entire term or he agrees to a rotation where he will step down at some point during the term in favor of Gantz.

Option #4: 67 MK right-center-left coalition for Gantz: 29 Blue & White, 9 Labor, 6 UTJ, 5 Shas, 5 Meretz. 5 Zehut, 4 Kulanu, 4 Yisrael Beitenu

In this scenario Gantz can leave Liberman out and still lead a 63-MK coalition.


Option 1 would provide Netanyahu with the most flexibility because none of the coalition partners would have the leverage of bringing down the government if they chose to leave the coalition. However, giving senior portfolios to seven parties could prove difficult.

Option 2 is a more likely scenario than Option 1 because Feiglin, Liberman or Kahlon could ask for too much. Netanyahu might prefer to leave one of the parties in his bloc outside to start off the term instead of giving in to too many parties in coalition demands. In Phase 3 of 2015 Netanyahu started off with a 61-59 coalition, leaving Liberman out of the government for about a year, before bringing him in later when it was necessary.

Option 3 might prove the most stable, especially if the Trump Peace Plan is released between Phase 2 and Phase 3. In this scenario Gantz doesn’t need to nominate Netanyahu for Prime Minister. Gantz can fulfill his campaign pledge not to nominate Netanyahu at the President’s Residence and “replace” the right-religious bloc parties who had nominated Netanyahu in Phase 2 in Phase 3 by signing a coalition agreement. Gantz can justify it to his base that he alone can provide the stability needed for an Israeli government that would agree to pursue the Trump Peace Plan. Netanyahu has signed coalition deals with parties that have not nominated him in Phase 2. The most recent cases are Ehud Barak’s Labor Party in 2009 and Tzipi Livni’s HaTnuna Party in 2013.

Option 4 is a big stretch. UTJ & Shas have ruled out sitting with Lapid. Liberman refuses to sit with Meretz or with Yaalon. Yaalon and Meretz refuse to sit with Liberman. There does not seem to be enough senior portfolios to hand off to Liberman or Kahlon. Gantz can’t offer either of them anything better than what they would probably receive from Netanyahu. Additionally, both of them consider themselves part of the right-religious bloc.

The two most likely Phase 3 options are Option 2 (or a variation of it) or Option 3. It is difficult to predict which option Netanyahu will choose and he might pursue both of them simultaneously. He has done that in the past. The most recent case was in 2016 when Netanyahu negotiated with Herzog’s Zionist Union and Liberman’s Yisrael Beitenu in efforts to expand his government.

I can’t determine at this time which option, between option 2 and option 3, is more likely but I can determine that the most likely option is that Prime Minister Netanyahu is re-elected in Phase 3.

The polls open in less than seven hours.
To all of my Israeli followers – go vote!

Last night I posted my Phase 1 Prediction Analysis:

30 Likud
29 Blue & White
9 Labor
7 Hadash-Taal
6 HaYamin HeHadash
5 Meretz
5 Shas
5 Zehut
4 Kulanu
4 Yisrael Beitenu
4 Raam-Balad
0 Gesher & Others

Today I am posting my Phase 2 Prediction Analysis:

Based on the Phase 1 predictions these are the three most likely scenarios for Phase 2 based on the math. Remember, President Rivlin is on record that if a Prime Minister candidate receives 61 or more nominations in the President’s Residence that he will grant them the chance to form the next government.

#1 Path to a Netanyahu Coalition:

66 nominations for Netanyahu: 30 Likud, 6 UTJ, 6 URP, 6 HaYamin HeHadash, 5 Shas, 5 Zehut, 4 Kulanu, 4 Yisrael Beitenu

43 nominations for Gantz: 29 Blue & White, 9 Labor, 5 Meretz

11 Won’t nominate: 7 Hadash-Taal, 4 Raam-Balad 

#2 Path to a Gantz Coalition:

59 nominations for Gantz: 29 Blue & White, 9 Labor, 7 Hadash-Taal, 5 Meretz. 5 Zehut, 4 Kulanu

57 nominations for Netanyahu: 30 Likud, 6 UTJ, 6 URP, 6 HaYamin HeHadash, 5 Shas, 4 Yisrael Beitenu

4 Won’t nominate: 4 Raam-Balad 

#3 Path to a National Unity (Netanyahu-Gantz) Coalition:

69 nominations: 30 Likud, 29 Blue & White, 9 Labor, 4 Kulanu

The 3 possible paths:

Path #1 is the most likely. Likud, UTJ, URP, HaYamin HeHadash, Shas & Yisrael Beitenu have all made public commitments to endorse Netanyahu in Phase 2. Likud helped form the URP. UTJ & Shas have vowed to never sit a coalition with Lapid. Deri used Netanyahu in his campaign ads. Liberman went as far as going on record that he has no interest in reading the 57-page document released by the Attorney General that recommends an indictment of the Prime Minister pending a hearing. Liberman also refuses to sit with Yaalon. Kahlon has gone on record many times that he is willing to sit with Netanyahu until after the AG makes a decision after the hearing. Kahlon has enlisted former Likud Prime Minister Menachem Begin for his campaign ads and has added the words “right-wing” to the Kulanu ballot note. Netanyahu has 61 nominations even without Ex-Likud MK Feiglin’s Zehut party. The majority of Zehut’s voters are right wing and that makes it difficult for Feiglin not to recommend Netanyahu in Phase 2, although he has more room when it comes to Phase 3 which we will discuss tomorrow.

Path #2 is less likely. In this scenario Gantz doesn’t get 61 nominations and he relies on Tibi & Odeh nominating him. In this scenario Gantz would need to give both Kahlon and Feiglin senior portfolios as a prize for not nominating Netanyahu. Would Labor and Meretz agree to sit in a government where they do not receive top portfolios? Where does that leave Lapid, Yaalon and Ashkeanzi? There might not be enough to go around.

Path #3 is the least likely. If the two largest parties don’t have a majority of seats between them that would mean that they would need additional parties to agree to join a possible coalition like that before the official coalition negotiations even get started. Historically, Presidents have only pursued national unity governments when the two largest parties have a majority of the Knesset seats.

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

Tuesday at 10 PM Israel time the voting will end and election will be over. Those who enter the polling station before 10 PM will still be allowed to vote. Each polling station 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 as the night goes on. Exit polls are closed at 8 PM and therefore will not include trends that affect the voting in the closing hours. The media 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. This becomes particularly interesting for the parties that are close to the electoral threshold.

Phase 2:

President Rivlin is expected to meet with the Knesset factions in an unofficial capacity after the election results are clear. The unofficial negotiations that are conducted between Phase 1 and Phase 2 have almost always enabled one of the Prime Minister candidates to reach enough support to get the first crack. The parties visit the President in order of party size. The law does not take the size of a party into account in terms of mandating who the President should select to form the next government. 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. Rivlin will make an announcement after all of the nominations are in. The newly elected Knesset will be sworn in on April 30th. We will not have a new government at that date, but we should know who will get the first crack at putting together the next government. As I have mentioned before I expect the new government to be sworn in during the first week of June.


Bottom line my prediction is that it will not be in President Rivlin’s hands. Someone is going to get a majority and the most likely candidate is Netanyahu. By law, in the event no one gets 61 seats, Rivlin can determine based on his own considerations “who has the best chance at forming a coalition”. This scenario seems unlikely based on the current projections.

During the unofficial negotiating phase Gantz will have a tough job giving Kahlon a competitive offer compared to Netanyahu. Gantz can’t negotiate with other Likud members as long as Netanyahu remains the leader of Likud. Feiglin is capable of just nominating himself. He might be capable of making the threat to follow through with a crazy idea like that, but most likely it would be an empty threat to milk a better deal out of Netanyahu. Netanyahu gets through Phase 2 without Feiglin based on my Phase 1 prediction.

Netanyahu, after he gets the mandate from Rivlin, is going to have problems forming coalition agreements with seven additional parties. It is possible Netanyahu doesn’t reach Phase 3 and that Gantz gets a nod to be the second person to try Phase 2, although this option is highly unlikely. A national unity government is possible in Phase 3 and I will address that in my post tomorrow. I do expect changes between Phase 2 and Phase 3.

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

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
2ndBlue & WhiteGantz29-130
5thUnited Torah JudaismLitzman6-17
6thUnited Right ListPeretz6-17
7thHaYamin HeHadashBennett606
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.

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
5thUnited Torah JudaismLitzman76.5-0.16.66
6thUnited Right ListPeretz76.106.15
7thHaYamin HeHadashBennett65.7-0.25.93
12thYisrael BeitenuLiberman030.52.55
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:

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 (

The latest Weekend Perspective piece “Israeli Elections 2019 Knesset Insider: The divisions before the unions” can be found at the link below:

Short Summary of the 20 Knesset Terms & 34 Governments

Includes the Phase 1-2-3 results and coalition government majority numbers throughout the term. You can read more about the Phase 1-2-3 System here: 


Provisional State Council:

May 14, 1948 – February 14, 1949

Prime Minister: David Ben Gurion

No Phase System.


1st Knesset:

February 14, 1949 – August 20, 1951

Prime Minister: David Ben Gurion (Mapai)

Phase 1: Mapai wins with 46 seats.

Phase 2: Ben Gurion is nominated by 73 MKs.

Phase 3: 1st Government is confirmed by 73 MKs.

1st Government Term: 10 March 1949 30 October 1950

Ben Gurion resigned on 15 October 1950 to form a new government. The 1st government remained for 16 days until the 2nd government was formed.

2nd Government Formed: 1 November 1950 8 October 1951

Ben Gurion’s first attempt at forming the 2nd government failed when only 52 MKs supported his government. His second attempt produced the same 73 MK coalition as the 1st Government. The 2nd Government eventually fell causing early elections.


2nd Knesset:

August 20, 1951 – August 15, 1955

Prime Ministers: David Ben Gurion (Mapai) & Moshe Sharet (Mapai)

Phase 1: Mapai wins with 45 seats.

Phase 2: Ben Gurion is nominated by 65 MKs.

Phase 3: 3rd Government is confirmed by 65 MKs.

3rd Government Term: 8 October 1951 24 December 1952

On 23 September 1952 the Haredi parties left the 3rd Government and the coalition dropped to 60 seats. Ben Gurion resigned on 19 December 1952 to form the fourth government.

4th Government Formed: 24 December 1952 26 January 1954

Ben Gurion formed a larger coalition of 87 MKs. The General Zionists left the coalition briefly from 26 May – 2 June 1953 bringing the coalition down to 64 MKs, but the party returned for the remainder of the Government term. The government fell when Ben Gurion announced on 6 December 1953 that he was retiring to the Negev. Moshe Sharet won an internal Mapai party power struggle with Levi Eshkol and formed the 5th Government.

Ben Gurion Retires – Replaced by Sharet

Phase 2: Sharet is nominated by 89 MKs.

Phase 3: 5th Government is confirmed by 89 MKs.

5th Government Formed: 26 January 1954 29 June 1955

Sharet resigned on 29 June 1955 to form the 6th Government.

6th Government Formed: 29 June 1955 3 November 1955

Sharet formed a smaller coalition of 66 MKs. The 6th Government remained in place until elections were held for the 3rd Knesset.


3rd Knesset:

August 15, 1955 – November 30, 1959

Prime Minister: David Ben Gurion (Mapai)

Phase 1: Mapai wins with 40 seats.

Phase 2: Ben Gurion is nominated by 80 MKs.

Phase 3: 7th Government is confirmed by 80 MKs.

7th Government Formed: 3 November 1955 7 January 1958

Ben Gurion resigned on 31 December 1957 to form the 8th Government.

8th Government Term: 7 January 1958 17 December 1959

Ben Gurion formed another coalition with 80 MKs. He resigned on 5 July 1959 and the government acted as a caretaker government until elections were held for the 4th Knesset.


4th Knesset

November 30, 1959 – September 04, 1961

Prime Minister: David Ben Gurion (Mapai)

Phase 1: Mapai wins with 47 seats.

Phase 2: Ben Gurion is nominated by 86 MKs.

Phase 3: 9th Government is confirmed by 86 MKs.

9th Government Formed: 17 December 1959 2 November 1961

Ben Gurion’s coalition grew from 86 to 89 MKs when one of the Haredi parties joined the coalition on 19 July 1960. Ben Gurion resigned on 31 January 1961 and the 9th Government acted as a caretaker government until early elections were held for the 5th Knesset.


5th Knesset

September 04, 1961– November 22, 1965

Prime Minister: David Ben Gurion (Mapai) & Levi Eshkol (Mapai)

Phase 1: Mapai wins with 42 seats.

Phase 2: Ben Gurion is nominated by 68 MKs.

Phase 3: 10th Government is confirmed by 68 MKs.

10th Government Formed: 2 November 1961 26 June 1963

Ben Gurion failed to form a government and returned his mandate to the President. Eshkol received the mandate and formed the government with Ben Gurion as Prime Minister. Ben Gurion resigned on 16 June 1963 and retired for a second time from politics.

Ben Gurion Retires – Replaced by Eshkol

Phase 2: Eshkol is nominated by 68 MKs.

Phase 3: 11th Government is confirmed by 68 MKs.

11th Government Term: 26 June 1963 22 December 1964

Eshkol carried on with the same 68 MK coalition that existed in the 10th Government. Eshkol resigned on 15 December 1964 to form a new government.

12th Government Term: 22 December 1964 12 January 1966

Eshkol formed a coalition of 67 MKs that lasted for the remainder of the 5th Knesset.


6th Knesset

November 22, 1965 – November 17, 1969

Prime Minister: Levi Eshkol (Alignment), Yigal Alon (Alignment) & Golda Meir (Alignment)

Phase 1: Alignment wins with 45 seats.

Phase 2: Eshkol is nominated by 75 MKs.

Phase 3: 13th Government is confirmed by 75 MKs.

13th Government Formed: 12 January 1966 17 March 1969

Eshkol’s coalition grew from 75 to 85 when Gachal joined the 13th Government on 1 June 1967 (ahead of the 6-Day-War). By 5 June 1967 the 13th Government had a coalition of 111 of the 120 MKs. This was the largest coalition in Israeli history. By the start of 1969 the Alignment had grown to 63 MKs. Eshkol died in office on 2 February 1969. Deputy Prime Minister Yigal Alon served as Interim Prime Minister for the 19 days until the 14th Government was formed. Meir emerged from the internal party struggle to lead the Alignment which automatically gave her a majority of 63 MKs before she formed her coalition.

Eshkol dies in office – Alon serves in interim – Meir takes over

Phase 2: Meir was nominated by 104 MKs.

Phase 3: 14th Government was confirmed by 104 MKs.

14th Government Term: 17 March 1969 15 December 1969

Meir’s 14th Government of 104 MKs was smaller than the outgoing 111 MK coalition of the 13th Government. The 14th Government remained in place for the remainder of the 6th Knesset.


7th Knesset

November 17, 1969 – January 21, 1974

Prime Minister: Golda Meir (Alignment)

Phase 1: Alignment wins with 56 seats.

Phase 2: Meir is nominated by 102 MKs.

Phase 3: 15th Government is confirmed by 102 MKs.

15th Government Formed:  15 December 1969 10 March 1974

Meir’s 15th Government of 102 MKs was smaller than her outgoing 104 MK coalition of the 14th Government. The 15th Government dropped to 76 MKs when Gachal left the coalition on 6 August 1970. The Government and Knesset extended its term due to Yom Kippur War.


8th Knesset

January 21, 1974 – June 13, 1977

Prime Minister: Golda Meir (Alignment) & Yitzhak Rabin (Alignment)

Phase 1: Alignment wins with 51 seats.

Phase 2: Meir is nominated by 68 MKs.

Phase 3: 16th Government is confirmed by 68 MKs.

16th Government Formed:  10 March 1974 3 June 1974

Meir resigned on 11 April 1974 making the 16th Government the shortest-lived Government in Israeli history. Rabin defeated Peres 298-254 in the Central Committee to replace Meir as the Party Chair.

Meir retires – Replaced by Rabin

Phase 2: Rabin is nominated by 61 MKs.

Phase 3: 17th Government is confirmed by 61 MKs.

17th Government Term: 3 June 1974 20 June 1977

Rabin formed a narrow 61 MKs coalition, the first of its kind. The National Religious Party joined the coalition on 29 October 1974 and increased the coalition to 71 MKs. Ratz left the coalition on 6 November 1974 and the coalition dropped to 68 MKs. After the National Religious Party left the coalition on 22 December 1977 Rabin’s Government was a minority Government of 58 MKs, the first of its kind, and served as a caretaker Government until the end of the term.


9th Knesset

June 13, 1977 – July 20, 1981

Prime Minister: Menachem Begin (Likud)

Phase 1: Likud wins with 43 seats.

Phase 2: Begin is nominated by 62 MKs.

Phase 3: 18th Government is confirmed by 62 MKs.

18th Government Formed:  20 June 1977 5 August 1981

Begin’s coalition grew from 62 to 77 when Dash joined the government on 24 October 1977. On 14 September 1978 the coalition dropped to 69. On 23 October 1979 the coalition dropped to 68. On 10 March 1981 the coalition returned to 62 MKs for the remainder of the term. Early elections were called by the Knesset.


10th Knesset

July 20, 1981 – August 13, 1984

Prime Minister: Menachem Begin (Likud) and Yitzhak Shamir (Likud)

Phase 1: Likud wins with 48 seats.

Phase 2: Begin is nominated by 61 MKs.

Phase 3: 19th Government is confirmed by 61 MKs.

19th Government Formed:  5 August 1981 28 August 1983

Begin’s coalition grew from 61 to 63 with the addition of Telem on 5 July 1982. On 26 July 1982 the coalition grew to 65 MKs. The coalition dropped to 64 MKs on 6 June 1983 until the end of the 19th Government. Begin resigned on 28 August 1983. Labor had grown to 50 MKs compared to Likud which had dropped to 46 MKs. On 1 September Shamir defeated David Levy and became Likud Chair. Despite Labor being the larger party, President Chaim Herzog who was from the Alignment was forced to give the mandate to Shamir first because he secured 64 MK Phase 2 nominations.

Begin retires – Replaced by Shamir

Phase 2: Shamir is nominated by 64 MKs.

Phase 3: 20th Government confirmed by 62 MKs.

20th Government Term: 10 October 1983 13 September 1984

Shamir was the first Prime Minister to serve when his party was not the largest in the Knesset. Shamir’s Government was also the first Government to have a drop off between the number of MKs who nominated him in Phase 2 and the confirmation of the Government in Phase 3. Shamir’s Government dropped from 62 to 61 MKs on 31 January 1984. The Knesset called for early elections.


11th Knesset

August 13, 1984 – November 21, 1988

Prime Minister: Shimon Peres (Alignment) and Yitzhak Shamir (Likud)

Phase 1: Alignment wins with 44 MKs.

Phase 2: Peres nominated by 54 MKs.

Rotation Government Agreement with Peres & Shamir is nominated by 97 MKs.

Phase 3: 21st Government is confirmed by 97 MKs.

21st Government Formed: 13 September 1984 20 October 1986

For the first time no party received 61 Phase 2 nominations. Peres received the most nominations with 54 and President Herzog gave him the chance to form a government. After many failures and a long process, it was decided to form a National Unity Government that would split the term between Peres and Shamir as Prime Minister. The Peres led coalition had 97 MKs until 29 July 1986 when it dropped to 96 MKs. Peres resigned at the half-way point as agreed upon so that Shamir could form the 22nd Government.

22nd Government Term: 20 October 1986 22 December 1988

Shamir’s 22nd Government enjoyed a 96 MK coalition until Shinui left on 26 May 1987, leaving the coalition with a 93 MK majority. This was the last Knesset term where early elections were avoided, and the elections were held on time.


12th Knesset

November 21, 1988 – July 13, 1992

Prime Minister: Yitzhak Shamir (Likud)

Phase 1: Likud wins with 40 seats.

Phase 2: Shamir nominated by 65 MKs.

Phase 3: 23rd Government is confirmed by 97 MKs.

23rd Government Formed: 22 December 1988 11 June 1990

Shamir’s 23rd Government enjoyed a 97 MK majority until the “stinky maneuver” in which the Government fell in a no-confidence motion and the Alignment left the coalition on 15 March 1990 with just 58 MKs. The 23rd Government served as a caretaker Government until the 24th Government was formed.

Peres attempts and fails to form government.

Phase 2: Peres was nominated by 55 MKs.

Phase 2: Shamir was nominated by 61 MKs.

Phase 3: 24th Government is confirmed by 61 MKs.

24th Government Formed: 11 June 1990 13 July 1992

Peres got the first crack at forming the 24th Government when he produced the most nominations in Phase 2 following the no-confidence vote. Peres got as close as 60 MKs but failed to secure 61 MKs. Shamir was nominated by 61 MKs and was approved by 61 MKs. At the start of the 24th Government the coalition consisted of 59 MKs with the 2 Moledet MKs providing a “security blanket” in the opposition. On 2 July 1990 the coalition grew to 60 MKs. Agudat Yisrael officially joined the coalition on 19 November 1990 and the coalition increased to 64 MKs. Moledet joined the coalition on 5 February 1991 increasing the coalition to 66 MKs. On 31 December 1991 Tzomet left the Government and the coalition decreased to 64 MKs. On 21 January 1992 Techiya and Moledet left the Government and the coalition dropped to 59 MKs. The Knesset voted for early elections and the minority government served as a caretaker Government until the end of the term.


13th Knesset

July 13, 1992 – June 17, 1996

Prime Minister: Yitzhak Rabin (Labor) and Shimon Peres (Labor)

Phase 1: Labor wins with 44 seats.

Phase 2: Rabin nominated by 61 MKs.

Phase 3: 25th Government is confirmed by 67 MKs.

25th Government Formed: 13 July 1992 22 November 1995

Rabin’s coalition started with 62 MKs with a “security blanket” from the 5 MKs from the Arab Parties. Shas left the Government on 14 September 1993 and the coalition dropped to 56 MKs. It was the first time that a coalition had a Minority Government in the middle of a term. It survived thanks to the security blanket of the 5 opposition MKs who refused to topple the Government. Yiud split from Tzomet and joined the coalition on 2 January 1995 and the coalition increased to 59 MKs, while maintaining their security blanket of 5 MKs. On 4 November 1995 Rabin was assassinated and Peres served as interim Prime Minister until he formed the 26th Government.

Direct Elections Law Passes – Rabin assassinated – Peres takes over

26th Government Term: 22 November 1995 18 June 1996

In 1992 the Direct Elections Law removed the Phase 1-2-3 system and instituted the Direct Elections System that would be in place until 2003. Peres was selected by the cabinet to form the next Government. The coalition consisted of 58 MKs and a security blanket of 5 MKs. The coalition increased to 59 MKs on 7 March 1996 when an independent joined the coalition.


14th Knesset

June 17, 1996 – June 07, 1999

Prime Minister: Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud)

Direct Elections: 50.5% Netanyahu, 49.5% Peres

27th Government Formed: 18 June 1996 6 July 1999

Netanyahu formed a coalition of 66 MKs which he maintained throughout the 27th Government. Labor was the larger party with 34 seats to Likud’s 32 seats. Netanyahu called early elections when he saw his coalition was falling apart.


15th Knesset

June 07, 1999 – February 17, 2003

Prime Minister: Ehud Barak (One Israel) and Ariel Sharon (Likud)

Direct Elections: Barak 56.1%, Netanyahu 43.9%

28th Government Formed: 6 July 1999 7 March 2001

Barak formed a coalition of 75 MKs that lasted until 5 September 1999 when UTJ left his coalition with 70 MKs. Yisrael B’Aliya, Shas & the National Religious Party resigned leaving his coalition with 32 MKs on 12 July 2000. Barak chose to resign as Prime Minister and have elections for Prime Minister without having elections for the Knesset. 28th Government served as caretaker Government through the election cycle and until the formation of the 29th Government.

Direct Elections: Sharon 62.4%, Barak 37.6%

Sharon defeats Barak in Direct Election Prime Minister Vote

29th Government Term: 7 March 2001 28 February 2003

Sharon formed a coalition of 80 MKs. One Israel (Labor) was the larger party with 23 seats to Likud’s 19, yet Labor still joined Sharon’s coalition. Over the course of the term the coalition went up and down. The coalition increased to 83, dropped to 81, dropped again to 74, increased to 82, dropped to 65 and increased again to 82, before dropping to 79 seats. On 2 November 2003 the coalition dropped to 53 MKs when Labor left the coalition. Sharon decided to seek early elections instead of forming a new Government.

Direct Elections are cancelled, and Israel returns to Phase 1-2-3 system


16th Knesset

February 17, 2003 – April 17, 2006

Prime Minister: Ariel Sharon (Likud & Kadima) and Ehud Olmert (Kadima)

Phase 1: Likud wins with 38 seats, 40 seats after Yisrael B’Aliyah merger.

Phase 2: Sharon nominated by 87 MKs.

Phase 3: 30th Government is confirmed by 68 MKs.

30th Government Formed: 28 February 2003 4 May 2006

Sharon was nominated by 87 MKs but formed a coalition with 68 MKs. Sharon relied at various points on different security nets to ensure the survival of his Government. Over the course of the term the coalition dropped to 61, dropped again to 55 and dropped even further to 40 MKs before increasing to 59, increasing again to 64 and dropping to 45 MKs. After Sharon formed Kadima, Likud dropped out of the coalition leaving the 30th Government with just 20 MKs leading to the Knesset calling for early elections. Following Sharon’s stroke on 28 February 2006 Olmert served first as acting and then interim Prime Minister in the caretaker government.


17th Knesset

April 17, 2006 – February 24, 2009

Prime Minister: Ehud Olmert (Kadima)

Phase 1: Kadima wins with 29 seats.

Phase 2: Olmert is nominated by 59 MKs.

Phase 3: 31st Government is confirmed by 67 MKs.

31st Government Formed: 4 May 2006 31 March 2009

Olmert’s coalition had 67 MKs until Yisrael Beitenu joined on 30 October 2006 when it increased to 78 MKs. After Yisrael Beitenu left the coalition on 18 January 2008 the coalition returned to 67 MKs. Olmert announced on 30 July 2008 that he planned to resign as Prime Minister. On 17 September Livni won her primary and was chosen to lead Kadima. On 21 September Olmert resigned as Prime Minister and the 31st Government became a caretaker Government. Livni informed President Peres on 26 October that she had failed to form a Government and that the Knesset would vote for an early election instead. Olmert remained Prime Minister until the 32nd Government was formed.

Livni fails to form Government

Phase 2: Livni is nominated by 38 MKs.


18th Knesset

February 24, 2009 – February 05, 2013

Prime Minister: Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud)

Phase 1: Kadima wins with 28 seats.

Phase 2: Netanyahu is nominated by 65 MKs.

Phase 3: 32nd Government is confirmed by 74 MKs.

32nd Government Formed: 31 March 2009 18 March 2013

Livni’s Kadima won Phase 1, but Netanyahu won Phase 2 with 65 nominations. He formed a coalition of 74 MKs that dropped to 66 MKs on 17 January 2011 when Barak split Labor into two. The Independence Party went into the coalition and Labor went the opposition. On 8 May 2012 Kadima under the new leadership of Mofaz joined the Government to give the coalition a 94 MK majority, the largest coalition since 1990. On 17 July 2012 Kadima left the Government and the coalition returned to 66 MKs. In October 2012 the Knesset voted for early elections to be held in January 2013 instead of October 2013.


19th Knesset

February 05, 2013 – March 31, 2015

Prime Minister: Benjamin Netanyahu (Likud)

Phase 1: Likud Beitenu wins with 31 seats.

Phase 2: Netanyahu is nominated by 82 MKs.

Phase 3: 33rd Government is confirmed by 68 MKs.

33rd Government Formed: 18 March 2013 14 May 2015

Netanyahu formed a coalition of 68 MKs. Likud and Yisrael Beitenu split during the term and by the end of term Yesh Atid’ with 19 seats was larger than Likud’s 18 seats. Netanyahu fired Lapid & Livni on 2 December 2014. After Yesh Atid & Livni’s Party left the coalition the 32nd Government was left with 43 MKs leading to an early election.


20th Knesset

March 31, 2015 – Present

Prime Minister: Benjamin Netanyahu

Phase 1: Likud wins with 30 seats.

Phase 2: Netanyahu is nominated by 67 MKs.

Phase 3: 34th Government is confirmed by 61 MKs.

34th Government Formed: 14 May 2015 Present

Netanyahu formed a coalition of 61 MKs, the narrowest coalition at the start of a term since 1995. The coalition grew to 67 MKs when Yisrael Beitenu joined the coalition on 25 May 2016. It dropped to 66 when Orly Levy left Yisrael Beitenu and the coalition. It dropped back to 61 MKs when Yisrael Beitenu left the coalition on 18 November 2018.

The next Knesset election is currently scheduled for 5 November 2019

Snapshot on Nov 5 2018, one year before the scheduled Nov 5 2019 Elections:

KnessetJeremy Polling Average – The Israeli Poll of Polls

Current update: Nov 5 2018.

Notes: 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.

Party KnessetJeremy Polling Average (5 Polls of last 3 months) 2018 AVG (41 Polls) 2017 AVG (44 Polls) 2016 AVG (33 Polls) All Polls (118 Polls from 2015-2018) 2015 Election
Likud 32.4 31 25.9 25.7 27.6 30
Yesh Atid 18 20.6 22.7 20.5 21.4 11
Joint List 12.2 11.6 11.8 12.8 12 13
Zionist Union 11.6 12.4 15 13.6 13.7 24
Bayit Yehudi 10.8 10.5 12 12.2 11.5 8
UTJ 7 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.4 6
Kulanu 6.4 6.8 7.3 6.6 6.9 10
Meretz 6.2 6.5 6 6 6.2 5
Yisrael Beitenu 5.6 5.8 6.5 8.6 6.8 6
Orly Levy/Others 5.4 3.3 0.3 0 1.3 0
Shas 4.4 4.2 5.1 6.5 5.2 7
Current Right-Religious Coalition 66.6 65.6 64.5 67.1 65.6 67
Current Center-Left-Arab Opposition 53.4 54.4 55.5 52.9 54.4 53
Party 118 Poll Avg 118 Poll Placing Avg 2015 Election 2015 Placing Up/Down
Likud 27.6 1st 30 1st 0
Yesh Atid 21.4 2nd 11 4th 2
Zionist Union 13.7 3rd 24 2nd -1
Joint List 12 4th 13 3rd -1
Bayit Yehudi 11.5 5th 8 6th 1
UTJ 7.4 6th 6 9th 3
Kulanu 6.9 7th 10 5th -2
Yisrael Beitenu 6.8 8th 6 8th 0
Meretz 6.2 9th 5 10th 1
Shas 5.2 10th 7 7th -3
Others 1.3 n/a n/a n/a n/a
Current Right-Religious Coalition 65.6 n/a 67 n/a n/a
Current Center-Left-Arab Opposition 54.4 n/a 53 n/a n/a

The current KJPA is currently averaging the 5 most recent polls from the months of August, September & October 2018. It is being compared to an average of 41 polls conducted in 2018, an average of 44 polls conducted in 2017, an average of the 33 polls (32 conducted in 2016 and one 2015 poll), an average of 118 polls conducted since the 2015 election and the 2015 election results.

To provide additional context there is a 118-poll average that presents the average for the entire term in comparison to their ranking in the 2015 election. Coalition vs Opposition numbers include parties that do not pass the threshold such as Yachad, Yaalon and Zehut.

There have been 118 opinion polls released by the top polling companies to the public over the last 43 months since the last election in March 2015.

The 2016 average is of 7 Smith, 6 Panels, 5 Midgam, 5 Geocartography, 4 HaMidgam Project, 3 Maagar Mochot, 2 Teleseker & 1 202 Strategies poll.

The 2017 average is of 11 HaMidgam Project, 8 Panels, 8 Midgam, 8 Geocartography, 4 Maagar Mochot, 3 Smith, 1 Teleseker & 1 Shavkim Panorama poll.

The 2018 average is of 13 Panels, 9 Midgam, 7 HaMidgam Project, 5 Geocartography, 4 Smith and 2 Maagar Mochot poll.

On May 14, 2015, the 34th Government of the State of Israel received the confidence of the Knesset by a razor thin margin of 61-59. In that vote the 24 Zionist Union MKs voted against the appointment of Environmental Protection Minister Avi Gabbay. Following his surprise upset victory in the Labor Party primary Gabbay will now lead the faction that led the vote against the launch of his political career.

Gabbay wasn’t elected to the 20th Knesset or to any previous Knesset. He is a rookie politician with little experience. His political experience can be summarized in one sentence: He worked on the Kulanu campaign and afterwards was appointed as a non-MK minister in Netanyahu’s government. Of the three portfolios that Kulanu received in 2015, he was given the least prestigious. Gabbay was one of the least known Israeli Ministers. He was left out of the great majority of public polling that measured Israel’s top ministers. There was only one public poll that measured the public opinion of all Israeli ministers. Panels conducted it for Maariv & The Jerusalem Post, and it was published on March 18, 2016. It measured the grade of each one of the 19 ministers at the time on a scale from 1 to 10 in terms of how well they did their job. Gabbay finished in the middle with a tie for 9th place and a 4.9 rating.

Many people only learned who Gabbay was when he resigned as minister on May 27, 2016, in protest of Yisrael Beitenu entering the coalition. Gabbay joined the Labor Party in late December, and less than six months later has just been elected to lead it. Gabbay defeated the entire establishment and party machine of the old guard. Gabbay closed the gap of a 1,746 vote deficit with the favorite, Amir Peretz, and defeated him by 1,346 votes. Of the 52,505 eligible primary voters, 30,998 voted in the first round and that number did not drop off in the second round with 30,916. Peretz only improved from 10,141 votes in the first round to 14,734 in the second round. Gabbay almost doubled his numbers from 8,395 votes in the first round to 16,080 votes in the second round.

Now the real questions start. Does Gabbay use his reserved slot in the next election to add his friend Moshe Yaalon, who opposes a two state solution, to the party? Can Gabbay maintain the existing alliance with Livni? Will Gabbay be able to successfully sabotage possible break-off attempts by various MKs? Will Herzog agree to stay on as Opposition Leader for the entire term or will he eventually leave over a future disagreement? If Herzog is removed as Opposition Leader, who replaces him? Will Gabbay be able to work together with Peretz? Despite the bad blood between them, would Kahlon agree to join a future Gabbay coalition? Would Lapid? Are this week’s favorable snap-poll results a sign of things to come or just a temporary artificial fluke? How will Gabbay manage to do all of that with such little political experience? Those questions will take time to answer.

We can start by exploring one question that we might be able to answer: How did Gabbay win?

Democratic primaries are a beautiful thing. It is a real pity that only three of the ten Knesset lists choose their leaders through primaries. Democratic primaries are the only system where each party member has an equal say in choosing their leadership and the direction of their party. It is also an unpredictable system where the entire leadership of a party can find themselves overthrown overnight. That is the reasoning of why seven of the ten Knesset lists object to the democratic primary system. The seasoned and experienced veteran can lose to the naïve and idealistic newcomer.

Amir Peretz is the most senior member of the Israeli Knesset, first elected to the Knesset in 1988. He emerged as the first round winner. For the second round Peretz picked up the endorsements of the first round’s third and fourth place finishers. Overall MK Peretz received endorsements from 10 MKs: Isaac Herzog, Erel Margalit, Merav Michaeli, Itzik Shmuli, Hilik Bar, Nachman Shai, Manuel Trajtenberg, Revital Swid, Eitan Broshi and Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin. Additionally, Peretz had the endorsements of Histadrut Chairman Avi Nissenkorn, Jewish National Fund Danny Atar and many other external interest groups. He was clearly the consensus establishment candidate.

Omer Barlev, who finished in fifth place in the first round, decided not to endorse either candidate. Tzipi Livni and her MKs Eyal Ben Reuven, Ksenia Svetlova, Yael Cohen Paran and Yoel Hasson did not endorse either.

Gabbay finished the first round with the backing of former Prime Minister Ehud Barak, a candidate who withdrew (Aviram Levin) and two MKs Michal Biran and Yossi Yonah. He picked up five MKs’ endorsements for the second round: Shelly Yachimovich, Eitan Cabel, Stav Shafir, Micky Rosenthal and Zouheir Bahloul.

Gabbay pulled out a victory despite not receiving the support of more than two thirds of the Zionist Union Faction MKs and failing to receive the endorsements of the failed first round candidates. How did Gabbay leapfrog over Peretz? Was it really his last-minute endorsements? His highest profile allies Shelly Yachimovich, Eitan Cabel and Stav Shafir spent a large portion of Election Day in the Knesset and not on the campaign trail. Was it an anti-Peretz sentiment? Most people thought Peretz was going to win.

Perhaps the answer is that Labor voters decided not to be disciplined and instead of falling in line voted against the Zionist Union that they had chosen 28 months beforehand. Perhaps the Labor voters were happy to vote for an outsider that is not responsible for the past, is perceived as a centrist, and had a mediocre 4.9 rating out of 10. Perhaps the Labor voter wanted to send a message to the entire establishment and machine that the vote was actually against them, even if that means that the vote was for someone who until recently served as a minister in the Netanyahu government they want to replace.

Perhaps the Labor party members are done with the old Labor Party that no longer represented them and that is why they voted for a new Labor Party.

The “KnessetJeremy Polling Average – The Israeli Poll of Polls” is currently averaging the seven most recent polls from July 2017:

I am listing the parties in order of their performance in the March 17 2015 election from highest to lowest.


2015 Election: 30
40 Poll Avg: 25.4 (1st)
Current Avg 23.9 (2nd)
High: 31
Low: 21 (twice)

It took Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu six elections at the helm of Likud to achieve a quarter (30 of 120) of the Knesset’s seats. The most favorable poll of 31 seats came back in 2015. Likud hasn’t received more than 26 seats in the last 12 polls conducted over the past six months.  Although the Likud leads all parties with its overall average of all 40 public polls conducted over the last two years, it has dropped to second place in a majority of polls conducted over the last six months. The good news for Likud is that their numbers have been relatively stable, and the last time they dropped to their lowest score of 21 seats was in late September. The best piece of news for Netanyahu is that his bloc of the current coalition has been able to form the next government in 39 of the 40 polls conducted over the last two years.

Zionist Union:

2015 Election: 24
40 Poll Avg: 13.2 (3rd)
Current Avg: 11 (5th)
High: 20
Low: 8 (3 times)

Herzog’s Zionist Union is one of just two party lists not to poll above their electoral result in any of the 40 public opinion polls of the last two years. Their high of 20 was achieved back in 2015, and the list has been dropping gradually ever since. Although Herzog’s party is in third place among all 40 polls, his list has dropped to 5th place in the current average. The Zionist Union hasn’t received a poll above 13 seats since June and has received single-digit-numbers in five polls since that time. It is remarkable that Herzog might still have a fighting chance in his upcoming Labor primary considering some polls have had his list drop two-thirds of its seats to 6th place in some recent polls.

Joint List:

2015 Election: 13
40 Poll Avg: 12.8 (4th)
Current Avg: 12.7 (3rd)
High: 14 (twice)
Low: 11

The Joint List has been the most consistent. The list has achieved between 11-14 seats in all 40 polls and has produced 12 or 13 seats in 37 of those 40 polls. The Joint List’s next electoral result depends on two factors: their turnout compared to the national average and their ability to maintain the union of the four parties currently on their list.

Yesh Atid:

2015 Election: 11
40 Poll Avg: 21.4 (2nd)
Current Avg: 25.6 (1st)
High: 27 (5 times)
Low: 15

Lapid’s Yesh Atid is the only list not to have one poll drop below their electoral result in any of the 40 public opinion polls of the last two years. Yesh Atid’s lowest showing of 15 seats was back in 2015. Since that point Lapid’s party gradually increased its showing until reaching 27 seats for the first time in September. Lapid would receive 27 seats in five of the nine polls conducted between that point in September until January.  Yesh Atid’s meteoric rise has stopped since it was unable to reach 27 seats in the four polls conducted since, including a showing this month of 22 seats, their lowest since November. Yesh Atid is ranked second among the 40 poll average but has been averaging a first place finish for a majority of the last six months.


2015 Election: 10
40 Poll Avg: 6.6 (9th)
Current Avg: 6.3  (10th)
High: 9 (3 times)
Low: 4

Kahlon’s Kulanu is one of just two party lists not to poll above their electoral result in any of the 40 public opinion polls of the last two years and is the only current double-digit party to not have even one poll in the double digits.  Kulanu hasn’t polled above 7 seats since July and has gradually dropped down the rankings to 9th place in the average of all 40 polls. Kulanu has dropped to last place among the current average of the polls conducted in 2017. Kahlon’s low of 4 seats is right on the electoral threshold. Kahlon’s party is simply trending down. The silver lining is that pundits are paying more attention to Zionist Union’s collapse.

Bayit Yehudi:

2015 Election: 8
40 Poll Avg: 12.1 (5th)
Current Avg: 12.4 (4th)
High: 16 (twice)
Low: 8

Bennett’s Bayit Yehudi party has been trending gradually upwards since the election and has not received one poll over the last two years that would suggest it would lose any seats. The low point was a poll that suggested it would match its current showing of 8 seats back in May. Bennett’s party has been in double-digits in 36 of the 40 polls conducted since the last election. The high of 16 seats was achieved in two polls during the last summer recess in July and August. Since that point it has been averaging closer to its highest showing than to its lowest showing. Bayit Yehudi has received 13 seats in the last three polls and is currently in fourth place in the average of all 2017 polls.


2015 Election: 7
40 Poll Avg: 6.6 (8th)
Current Avg: 6.7 (8th)
High: 8 (6 times)
Low: 4 (4 times)

Arye Deri’s Shas is the second most stable party after the Joint List. Shas has received 6 or 7 seats in 30 of the last 40 polls conducted over the last two years. Shas has received its high of 8 seats more frequently than its low of 4 seats, which is on the border of the electoral threshold. The party has not polled at 5 seats during the last two years. Similar to the Joint List, the turnout of their base compared to the national average will determine their outcome in the next election.

Yisrael Beitenu:

2015 Election: 6
40 Poll Avg: 8.4 (6th)
Current Avg: 7.6 (6th)
High: 11
Low: 6

Defense Minister Liberman’s Yisrael Beitenu has not received any poll that would translate into a loss of current seats. His high was in May just before he joined Netanyahu’s government, and his low was shortly thereafter in July. Overall the party has been dropping gradually since Liberman entered the government and started to present himself as more statesmanlike, but the decline has not been significant. Yisrael Beitenu remains in sixth place in both the average of all 40 polls and the current average of the 2017 polls.


2015 Election: 6
40 Poll Avg: 7.5 (7th)
Current Avg: 7.4 (7th)
High: 12
Low: 6 (6 times)

Litzman’s UTJ has enjoyed five double-digit polls thanks to Pollster Dagani’s Geocartographia that have been dismissed by the great majority of pundits. I have included them in the average to compensate for polls that have predicted a 6 seat showing for UTJ even in cases of a lower national election turnout. UTJ has received 7 seats in 24 of the 40 polls conducted over the last two years. Similar to the Joint List and Shas, UTJ’s electoral result will depend on the turnout of their base compared to the national turnout.


2015 Election: 5
40 Poll Avg: 6 (10th)
Current Avg:  6.4 (9th)
High: 9
Low: 4

The high of nine seats for Gal-on’s Meretz was the same Geocartographia poll in July that also gave UTJ their high of 12 seats. Meretz’s two showings of 8 seats were also in Geocartographia polls that produced double-digit numbers for UTJ. Meretz has received between 5-7 seats in 36 of the 40 polls conducted over the last two years. Meretz ranks last over those 40 polls and are above only Kulanu in the polls conducted in 2017. Meretz’s Central Committee rejected Gal-on’s motion last week to make Meretz the fourth Israeli party to have a primary election process for all of its members. Instead the Central Committee that includes dozens of family members of Meretz MKs supported Gal-on’s challenger for the leadership, Gilon. To quote Gal-on: “If Meretz will not open itself up, it simply will not exist”.

Current Coalition Bloc:

2015 Election: 67
40 Poll Avg: 66.5
Current Avg: 64.3
High: 72
Low: 60

The best news for Netanyahu is that his current coalition bloc of six lists has received a majority in 39 of the 40 polls conducted since the last election. Among the 40 polls his bloc drops just a half a seat. However, the gradual decline Kulanu has experienced led to an overall 1.7 seat loss for Netanyahu’s bloc among the polls conducted in 2017. The high point of 72 came in August. The low point was the 60-60 tie in the Geocartographia poll in January.

Current Opposition Bloc:

2015 Election: 53
40 Poll Avg: 53.5
Current Avg: 55.7
High: 60
Low: 48

The current opposition bloc of the Zionist Union, Yesh Atid, Meretz and the Joint List have gained an overall half seat in the average of all 40 polls conducted since the election, and that increases to a gain of 1.7 seats over the polls conducted in 2017. Although those numbers might be encouraging for some, they are not sufficient to form a government, and the cooperation of the Joint List for Phase 2 is luke-warm at best. The low point was obviously the six polls where the current coalition received 70 or more seats. The high point was the Geocartographia poll in January that resulted in a 60-60 tie.


Note: I am aware it is no longer the weekend, but the crazy week once again forced me to delay my piece to today.

Current KnessetJeremy Polling Average – The Israeli Poll of Polls:

Today the Democratic Party is trying to find itself after Hilary Clinton’s loss to Donald Trump. However, not long ago it was the Republicans that were searching for their identity after two consecutive defeats led to eight years of President Barack Obama in the White House. In Israel, it is the Labor Party that is attempting to find itself after eight consecutive years of Benjamin Netanyahu in the Prime Minister’s Office.

On March 23, 2015, Senator Ted Cruz became the first Republican candidate to announce his candidacy for President.  By the end of July 2015 the Republican Party had 17 major candidates running for President. Erel Margalit released his first campaign video on April 19, 2016, back when it was not known when the Labor Primary would take place. There are currently nine candidates that are expected to run, and that number may increase to the double digits before the deadline on May 1, 2017. We now know the first round will take place on July 3. After no candidate reaches 40%, the top two candidates will go head-to-head in a second round to determine the winner on July 13.

Some early polls in 2015 suggested that former nominee Mitt Romney could win the nomination, but in the end he decided to sit out the race. Early polls in the Labor race suggested that Isaac Herzog’s predecessor Shelly Yachimovich could win, but she decided to sit out this race. Romney tried to influence the Republican Primary, but it didn’t work. Yachimovich might find a similar problem.

Almost every poll showed that every Republican candidate would lose to Clinton. Today the Zionist Union faces the same situation in the polls. In the current KnessetJeremy Polling Average of the last seven polls the Zionist Union is averaging 10.4 seats. That is fifth place, behind Yesh Atid, Likud, Joint List and Bayit Yehudi. Three of the last six polls have been in single digits, a sharp drop from the 24 seats they won in the last general election. Yet, similar to the 2015 Republicans, there are no shortage of candidates ready to run for Labor’s leadership.

The incumbent Herzog will most likely face off against party veterans Amir Peretz and Eitan Cabel as his main rivals. 2-term MKs Margalit and Omar Bar Lev are in the second tier, as both have been preparing for the race since the Zionist Union’s general election defeat. The third tier is made up of outside challengers Avi Gabbay, Eldad Yaniv, Amiram Levin and Yom-Tov Samia, not considered by party insiders to be candidates with a significant power base.  The rules of the game were set retroactively that whoever signed up as a party member by February 28 is eligible to vote in the primary. Discussions will take place on a merger with Livni’s Party which could allow her to become the 10th candidate if she does not get the United Nations job. Supposedly, discussions over an open-primary system will also be discussed but it is not likely that it will be adopted because it will harm the chances of the top tier candidates that currently control the party.

The next four months will be an interesting time for the Labor Party and the Israeli left. Similar to the Republicans in 2015-2016, the Israeli Labor Party of 2017 is severely splintered as they search for their new identity. With so many candidates it is difficult to predict how the race will end or who will make it to the head-to-head, but I can predict that this will be the ugliest race Labor has ever seen.


Moshe Yaalon and Avi Dichter have known each other for a long time. Their approach to politics has been different, and this week that played out in the same news cycle as both announced their intention to run for Prime Minister. Yaalon was named Deputy IDF COS in 1999 and was promoted to the position of IDF COS in 2002. Dichter was Deputy Director of the Shin Bet in 1999 and was named Director in 2000. Both Yaalon and Dichter served in those sensitive security positions and participated in security cabinet meetings with politicians until 2005. Yaalon clashed with Prime Minister Sharon over the disengagement and was forced to leave his position early. Dichter backed Sharon, joined Kadima, and became Olmert’s Homeland Security Minister from 2006-2009. Yaalon entered politics with Likud in 2009 and was vocally displeased when he didn’t receive the Defense Ministry from Netanyahu, despite his #8 position on the party list. During that term Dichter correctly predicted when Kadima was about to sink and jumped ship to Likud to become Home Front Defense Minister from 2012-2013. Dichter didn’t win a seat in the 2013 election but remained in the Likud and started to work on winning over the base. Yaalon became Defense Minister in 2013. Yaalon frequently quarreled with senior ministers, both inside his party and out, and had terrible relationships with his deputies Danny Danon and Eli Ben-Dahan. Instead of accepting the Foreign Affairs portfolio when Yisrael Beitenu joined the government he decided to resign from both the cabinet and the Knesset. He ignored that although it might seem like a demotion in the short term the Foreign Ministry was something that could help him ultimately become Prime Minister one day by showing a different, non-security side to him. There were 17 Likud MK candidates that ran for 12 Likud Ministerial positions at the start of the government. Not only did Dichter not receive a ministerial position at the start of the government, he is currently one of only three candidates that is still an MK and not a minister. The other two are Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely and MK Benny Begin, who started out the term as a minister. Dichter took what was given to him, the Knesset Defense and Foreign Affairs Committee Chairmanship, and kept working the base.

Yaalon does not have a reputation for getting along with other high-level officials. He clashed with Sharon over the disengagement, and we now know based on the State Comptroller Report that in security cabinet meetings Yaalon clashed from time to time with Netanyahu as well. Publicly, Yaalon attacked coalition party leaders Naftali Bennett and Avigdor Liberman during the war itself, and his criticism hasn’t stopped since. His recent leak criticizing Yair Lapid, his one potential political suiter, casts serious doubt on his political skills. Announcing a new party following the State Comptroller Report has narrowed his options at a point when there is no reason to limit them. He announced no additional candidates on his list, nor did he even present a party name so that the polls of this week could provide free branding publicity for him. Scenario polls show a new Yaalon Party earning 8-10 seats (before the report), a far cry from the “national leadership of the country” that he is running for. Center parties such as Kulanu and Yesh Atid proved that it doesn’t make sense to run for Prime Minister in a new center party during the first or even second term. Can someone who never made it above #7 in a Likud primary really be successful in the already crowded center-right?

Dichter also announced this weekend that he is running for Prime Minister. The coalition agreements allow Netanyahu to appoint 12 Likud Ministers, and he currently has one vacancy. If Netanyahu does appoint a 12th Likud Minister I expect that Dichter just improved his chances of getting it over Hotovely or Begin. Netanyahu knows that you keep your friends close and your enemies closer. As a Minister Dichter will be forced to have an identical voting record to Netanyahu. Even if Dichter isn’t reappointed to the cabinet, he isn’t in a rush. He will keep using his current position and keep working the base.

Yaalon and Dichter have different approaches to politics. Time will tell who has the better future ahead of him. Historians can debate over who had the better past. Currently Dichter is making the most of the present.

Note: I am aware it is no longer the weekend, but the crazy week forced me to delay my piece to today.