Tag Archive: Sarid

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

Phase 2 Prediction Analysis

Yesterday I focused on Phase 1.

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

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

I listed the two most likely scenarios for Phase 2:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Phase 1 Prediction Analysis

Yesterday I posted the Knesset Jeremy Model Prediction for 2015.

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

Few quick notes:

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

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

Phase 1 Recap:

#1 – Zionist Union 25 seats:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#2 – Likud 22 seats:

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

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

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

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

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

#3 – The Joint List 12 seats:

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

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

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

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

#4 – Yesh Atid 12 seats:

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

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

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

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

#5 – Bayit Yehudi 12 seats:

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

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

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

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

#6 – Kulanu 9 seats:

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

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

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

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

#7 – Shas 7 seats:

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

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

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

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

#8 – UTJ 7 seats:

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

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

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

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

#9 – Yisrael Beitenu  5 seats

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

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

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

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

#10 – Meretz  5 seats

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

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

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

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

#11 – Yachad 4 seats

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

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

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

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



Upcoming Posts:

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

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


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


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

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

2nd 21.6875 (22.83) [18] Likud

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

4th 12.3750 (12.30) [20] Yesh Atid

5th 11.8750 (11.91) [11] Bayit Yehudi

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

7th 07.2500 (06.83) [10] Shas

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

9th 05.3125 (05.58) [13] Yisrael Beitenu

10th 05.0625 (05.33) [06] Meretz

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


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

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


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


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

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


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


1 – Knesset Jeremy Analysis – Week 15:

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

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

2 – Final Prediction based on Knesset Jeremy Model

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

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

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

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

  • Stay tuned for Phase 1 Analysis tomorrow.

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


Knesset Jeremy Weekly Average #14 (week of March 1-7 2015) of 12 polls from 8 leading polling companies (3 Panels, 2 Teleseker, 2 Midgam, 1 Smith, 1 Dialog, 1 Maagar Mochot,  1 New Wave, 1 Geocartography,  0 Sarid & TRI.


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

1st 23.50 (23.66) [20] Zionist Union (Labor+Livni)

2nd 22.83 (23.08) [18] Likud

3rd 12.58 (12.41) [11] The Joint (Arab) List

4th 12.30 (11.91) [20] Yesh Atid

5th 11.91 (12.00) [11] Bayit Yehudi

6th 08.25 (08.16) [02] Koolanu (Kahlon+Kadima)

7th 06.83 (06.75) [10] Shas

8th 06.66 (06.91) [07] Yahadut Hatorah/UTJ

9th 05.58 (05.66) [13] Yisrael Beitenu

10th 05.33 (05.00) [06] Meretz

11th 04.16 (04.41) [02] Yachad (Yishai+Chetboun+Marzel)


66.25 (67.08) [63] Right-Religious-Kahlon (Parties that have not ruled out nominating a Netanyahu coalition)

53.75 (52.91) [57] Center-Left-Arab (Parties that have ruled out nominating a Netanyahu coalition)


Changes: Yesh Atid passes Bayit Yehudi for fourth place and Shas replaces UTJ for seventh place.


Largest Gains: Yesh Atid gained 0.39 of a seat; Meretz gained 0.33 of a seat and The Joint (Arab) List gained 0.17.

Biggest Losses: Likud, UTJ and Yachad all dropped 0.25 of a seat.

Swing: Less than 1.1 seat change across the board from last week.


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


Knesset Jeremy Analysis – Week 14:

1 – The Speech, The Debate and Purim.

The election is ten days away. Yet, it seems like a majority of Israelis concentrated on the Jewish holiday of Purim during a week that was dominated by headlines and analysis from the previous weekend’s debate and Netanyahu’s speech to Congress. The overall swing was about 1.1 Knesset seats.

Likud lost a quarter of a seat this week, despite polling better in the second part of the week following Netanyahu’s Knesset speech, due to a poor showing in the beginning of the week ahead of the speech. Overall Likud had a high of 24 (3 polls) and a low of 21 (1 poll) for a 22.83 average compared to Zionist Union’s low of 22 and high of 24 for an average of 23.5. The best news for Netanyahu this week was Shas’s decision to join Yachad and Bayit Yehudi in endorsing Netanyahu for Phase 2.

Herzog is happy to see the parties that have ruled out nominating a Netanyahu coalition increase to 53.75 with two polls this week giving the bloc 56 seats. His bloc did suffer a setback when The Joint List announced they would not sign a voter exchange agreement with Meretz. Herzog who signed with Meretz was hoping to increase his bloc by cancelling the agreement to sign with Yesh Atid if The Joint List agreed to sign with Meretz. If The Joint List won’t sign a voter exchange agreement with Meretz, it will be interesting to see if they will be able to bring themselves to nominate Herzog for Phase 2. It is great news for his bloc that Meretz is up this week.

With the top two parties fighting for the largest list, the battle for the third largest list will be an interesting story-line to follow. The Joint List, Yesh Atid and Bayit Yehudi are all averaging within a half a seat of each other. Yesh Atid is the party with momentum and hasn’t been in single digits since Feb 15. Kulanu is still trying to figure out how to get out of single digits.

Shas enjoyed a bump after Deri’s endorsement of Netanyahu, receiving 7 and 8 seats in the last two polls released this week. There was a lot of pressure for Deri to support Netanyahu. A previous public poll showed that just 4% of Shas voters preferred Herzog to Netanyahu. Yachad was down to 4 seats in the last ten polls conducted this week. Yishai is expected to lose from Deri’s endorsement. 5 polls (Smith, Panels, Midgam, Dialog and New Wave) had UTJ at just 6 seats this week.

2 – Week 15 Preview: The Last Week of Polling

On Friday I will release the last Knesset Jeremy Weekly Average. This means Knesset Jeremy Weekly Average #15 will most likely be the last poll related post on Knesset Jeremy for this election cycle due to the Israeli law.

In the final Poll of Polls post I will post a prediction for the final results that will be based on the polls average, factions of seats lost votes to the 15 parties expected not to pass the threshold, vote-swap agreements and momentum. This will be based on pure science and math, no hunches or gut feelings. I can tell you ahead of time that it will be wrong, but it will be interesting to see how close (or far) it is from the final results.

In 2013 the KnessetJeremy Average predicted 8 of the 12 lists elected within 1 seat of the final election results.

Official Results (KJ AVG) Party
31 (35) Likud Beitenu
15 (18) Labor
12 (15) Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home/National Union)
19 (12) Yesh Atid
11 (11) Shas
6 (7) Movement
7 (6) Yahadut Hatorah/UTJ
6 (6) Meretz
4 (4) Hadash
4 (3) Ra’am-Ta’al
3 (3) Balad
2 (2) Kadima (Model predicted Kadima over 2 seats but under 2.4 seats)


For more analysis on the ‘Poll of Polls’ you can catch my weekly radio interview on Sundays with Gil Hoffman on Voice of Israel.com

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


Knesset Jeremy Weekly Average #13 (week of Feb 21-Feb 28 2015) of 12 polls from 7 leading polling companies (3 Panels, 2 Teleseker, 2 Smith, 2 Dialog, 1 Midgam, 1 Geocartography, 1  TRI,  0 Maagar Mochot, Sarid & New Wave)


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

1st 23.66 (23.90) [20] Zionist Union (Labor+Livni)

2nd 23.08 (23.80) [18] Likud

3rd 12.41 (12.00) [11] The Joint (Arab) List

4th 12.00 (12.50) [11] Bayit Yehudi

5th 11.91 (11.10) [20] Yesh Atid

6th 08.16 (08.10) [02] Koolanu (Kahlon+Kadima)

7th 06.91 (07.20) [07] Yahadut Hatorah/UTJ

8th 06.75 (06.60) [10] Shas

9th 05.66 (05.60) [13] Yisrael Beitenu

10th 05.00 (05.00) [06] Meretz

11th 04.41 (04.20) [02] Yachad (Yishai+Chetboun+Marzel)


67.08 (68.00) [63] Right-Religious-Kahlon (Parties that have not ruled out nominating a Netanyahu coalition)

52.91 (52.00) [57] Center-Left-Arab (Parties that have ruled out nominating a Netanyahu coalition)


Changes: The Joint (Arab) List passes Bayit Yehudi for third place.


Largest Gains: Yesh Atid gained 0.8 of a seat; The Joint (Arab) List gained 0.4 of a seat and Yachad gained 0.2.

Biggest Losses: Likud dropped 0.8 of a seat; Bayit Yehudi dropped 0.5 of a seat and Zionist Union & UTJ lost 0.3 of a seat.


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


Knesset Jeremy Analysis – Week 13:

1 – The Debate – Phase 2 & 3 Game-changers.

It is human nature to want to predict the future. The Debate between the eight party leaders representing a majority of Israeli voters, 66.3 seats according to our weekly average, was more focused at times on Phases 2 & 3 than the policy positions that will elect the party leaders in Phase 1. The Israeli public, as well as analysts, are asking themselves who is willing to sit with who (and at what cost) and how the next government will look like.

The Debate gave us a clear picture of what eight of the eleven party leaders are thinking 19 days before the election. Both candidates for Prime Minister, Netanyahu and Herzog, watched the debate from their homes with one question in mind: What are the party leaders thinking about doing in Phases 2 & 3.

There is a huge difference between a political analyst and a poll analyst. You can analyze Phase 1 with math and science. With Phases 2 & 3 – You need to be a prophet to know what will happen because of the many statistical possibilities that are based on the Phase 1 data that has not yet taken place. However, if we choose to believe the politicians and their statements from The Debate, you don’t need to be a prophet to analyze Phases 2 & 3.

Koolanu’s Moshe Kahlon decided to double-down on his Finance Minister strategy. The overall feeling is that the wildcard Kahlon cares more about being Finance Minister than who is Prime Minister. He wasn’t shy about it either, in his closing pitch he asked to be Israel’s next Finance Minister. Overall, Kahlon’s performance was all over the place. He went right when he talked about a united Jerusalem and keeping the Jordan valley, stating his only differences with Netanyahu are on economic and social issues. He also went left by talking about his vision for a Palestinian State if a partner arises, he wouldn’t rule out nominating Herzog in Phase 2 or sitting in a government with Meretz in Phase 3. Kahlon kept name-dropping Former Likud Prime Minister Menachem Begin’s legacy and referring to his previous Likud background with pride. He side-stepped how a Begin-Likud guy could nominate Herzog for Prime Minister. He chose not to address the fact that Herzog already offered the Finance portfolio to someone else and for some reason no one bothered asking him that key question.

Yisrael Beitenu’s Avigdor Liberman took a sharp turn to the right. Herzog would object to a majority of the ‘minimum’ demands and campaign promises that Liberman proposed. He attacked Meretz and repeatedly stressed he wouldn’t sit with them. He also attacked The Joint List’s Iman Udah countless times, going as far as calling him a Fifth Column and a Palestinian rep that should sit in Abbas’s Parliament.

Shas’s Aryeh Deri also went right. He said there is no partner for peace with the Palestinians and rejected Iman Udah’s offer to work together if Udah remains focused on the Palestinian issue. Deri made it clear he will sit with anyone including Eli Yishai, but he won’t sit with Yair Lapid, who refuses to turn the clock back on last term’s legislation. Deri had started out by talking about his old friendship and coffee meetings he used to share with Lapid, by the end of The Debate he was attacking him bitterly. Deri also refused to comment on the content of the tapes of Rav Ovadiah Yosef and instead used it as a way to get into a fight with Eli Yishai over who is the Maran’s true successor.

Yesh Atid’s Yair Lapid refused to agree to the possibility of turning the clock back on what is needed to bring Deri, and one would think Litzman, into the next government. Lapid ignored Deri’s olive branches and at one point even suggested to Deri to help rehabilitate him from the time he sat in jail as a convicted felon. Lapid crushed Herzog’s dream of having both of them in the same coalition.

The Joint List’s Iman Udah refused to commit to helping Herzog in Phase 2 or 3. He refused to respond to any of Liberman’s questions including the question if he is Israeli or “Palestinian as he claims to be”. He wouldn’t answer head-on anything that had to do with MK Hanin Zoabi and if he shared those views. He complained about getting the least time to speak and reminded the audience that he is the leader of the third largest party in the polls.

Meretz’s Zahava Gal-On sounded like Naftali Bennett’s spokeswoman when she said that everyone including the Zionist Union wants to join the next Netanyahu government. She also made it clear that she will not sit with Liberman in the same government as a matter of true principle.

We know that the other two party leaders will be backing Prime Minister Netanyahu and it was interesting that Eli Yishai and Naftali Bennett refused to fight each other. Bennett attacked Liberman & Kahlon for their support of a two-state solution. Yishai fought off attacks from Deri on what Rav Ovadiah Yosef would think of his decision to run with outcasts from Bayit Yehudi and Kahanaists

Main takeaway from The Debate: Herzog’s issue of needing to choose between Yisrael Beitenu or Meretz & Yesh Atid or Haredim is very real & crushing to his ability to form a new coalition, even in the scenario where The Joint List can be convinced to join a Herzog-led coalition.

2 – Week 14 Preview: The Speech & Purim

The first part of the week will be overshadowed by “the speech” and the second part of the week will be overshadowed by celebrations surrounding the Jewish holiday of Purim and Shushan Purim in selected cities.

For more analysis on the ‘Poll of Polls’ you can catch my weekly radio interview on Sundays with Gil Hoffman on Voice of Israel.com

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

Knesset Jeremy Weekly Average #12 (week of Feb 15-Feb 20 2015) of 10 polls from 8 leading polling companies (2 Panels, 2 Teleseker, 1 Smith, 1 Dialog, 1 Midgam, 1 Maagar Mochot, 1 Geocartography, 1  TRI,  0 Sarid & New Wave)

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

1st 23.9 (23.2) [20] Zionist Union (Labor+Livni)

2nd 23.8 (24.4) [18] Likud

3rd 12.5 (12.4) [11] Bayit Yehudi

4th 12.0 (12.4) [11] The Joint (Arab) List

5th 11.1 (10.1) [20] Yesh Atid

6th 08.1 (08.0) [02] Koolanu (Kahlon+Kadima)

7th 07.2 (07.0) [07] Yahadut Hatorah/UTJ

8th 06.6 (06.8) [10] Shas

9th 05.6 (05.8) [13] Yisrael Beitenu

10th 05.0 (05.1) [06] Meretz

11th 04.2 (04.4) [02] Yachad (Yishai+Chetboun+Marzel)

68.0 (69.0) [63] Right-Religious-Kahlon (Parties that have not ruled out nominating a Netanyahu coalition)

52.0 (51.0) [57] Center-Left-Arab (Parties that have ruled out nominating a Netanyahu coalition)

Changes: Zionist Union passes Likud to be the largest list & Bayit Yehudi breaks the third place tie with The Joint (Arab) List dropping back down to fourth place.

Largest Gains: Yesh Atid gained 1 seat; Zionist Union gained 0.7 of a seat and UTJ gained 0.2.

Biggest Losses: Likud dropped 0.6 of a seat; The Joint (Arab) List dropped 0.4 of a seat & three parties (Shas, Yisrael Beitenu & Yachad) lost 0.2 of a seat.


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


Knesset Jeremy Analysis – Week 12:

1 – 23 days Left – Netanyahu vs Herzog: Zionist Union 23.9, Likud 23.8

For most of the election campaign the Zionist Union has averaged as the largest list. The Zionist Union led for four straight weeks, from Week 2 until Week 5, and after a week break led again for another three weeks straight, from Week 6 to Week 9. Herzog realized it was time for a change after Likud had their first back-to-back weeks at the top (Weeks 10 & 11). In comes Reuven Adler and suddenly Livni is taking a back seat. That will be a storyline to follow as we get closer. If the rumors are true and Adler is trying to push Livni to give up on her rotation agreement – Things could get a lot more interesting.

So far Likud circles agree that they got off lightly from the State Comptroller Report. The report is expected to still get a lot of play in the media cycle this coming week and it is possible it could do some damage as other parties help keep the report in the headlines.

The head-to-head match-up for largest list is most likely going down to the wire, with just 0.1 seats separating the largest two lists. As for the much talked about ‘national unity government’ scenario, at a combined 47.7 seats, Likud & Zionist Union would need to invite additional parties to create a national unity government.

2 – The Players: Bayit Yehudi 12.5, The Joint (Arab) List 12, Yesh Atid 11.1

Bayit Yehudi has had a lousy month. They started the week with an average of 11.5 in the first four polls, with some results having the party dip as low as 5th place. Something changed mid-week and Bayit Yehudi finished with an average of 13.16 in the last six polls of the week. Some of the votes are coming from Likud but others are actually coming from Yisrael Beitenu. Yisrael Beitenu averaged 6.25 in the first four polls of the week and 5.16 in the six polls released later in the week.

The Joint (Arab) List has four party leaders and each party leader has a different answer to the question of what the list is planning to do in Phase 2 & Phase 3. One thing that is certain is that none of them will be backing Prime Minister Netanyahu. It is very possible that the four party leaders give different answers to President Rivlin during Phase 2. This will be an interesting dilemma for President Rivlin. The law says it is the leader of the list, not the leader of each party who makes the decision on nomination in Phase 2. If President Rivlin goes strictly according to the law it is the new Hadash leader who would get to make the decision for all of the other party leaders and remarks by both MKs Zachalka (Balad) and Tibi (Ta’al) would be irrelevant. The Joint List can decide to split their vote in Phase 3, but for now a majority of the candidates on The Joint List rule out the option of even considering voting for a Zionist government in Phase 3.

Yesh Atid had a good week. They started with an average of 10 seats in the first three polls of the week and jumped to 11.5 seats in the final seven. Overall they gained the most ground of the 11 lists expected to pass the threshold this week. It is most likely that Lapid is benefiting from the other party leaders mistakes because nothing major happened during the Yesh Atid campaign this week that would explain Lapid gaining a full seat. It appears that many of the undecided voters are answering Yesh Atid this week and Yair Lapid is going to do what he can to keep them locked down.

3 – The Third-Tier: Koolanu 8.1, UTJ 7.2, Shas 6.6

Kahlon expected to be higher in the polls with three weeks and change to go. He knows that his party has the promise to be the breakout party of this election. He still has some time but Koolanu is polling lower than Yesh Atid did at Week 12 during the previous cycle. Kahlon will need to shake things up to get out of the third-tier.

UTJ’s decision to open their main campaign headquarters in Petah Tikva shows a great deal about their plans for extending their voter base.  Petah Tikva, the city that finished in fifth place in votes cast two-years ago, is a former National Religious Party stronghold and UTJ received 4% of the Petah Tikva vote in 2013.

The last time Deri led Shas into an election they received 17 seats in 1999. Yishai led the party to 11 seats in 2003, 12 in 2006 and 11 seats in 2009. The joint-leadership ticket of Yishai-Deri-Attias repeated 11 seats in 2013. Deri understands he won’t repeat his 1999 achievement with Attias in retirement and Yishai running with his own list. Despite knocking off a few more Shas MKs from the current list (Zeev, Amnon Cohen & Edri), Deri will need 8 seats for all the remaining Shas MKs to retain their positions.

4- Fighting the Threshold: Yisrael Beitenu 5.6, Meretz 5, Yachad 4.2

After nine years (2006-2015) as a party with double-digits MKs, between 11 and 15 depending on the election, Foreign Minister Liberman is polling within two-seats of the new 3.25% threshold that he created. Yisrael Beitenu is currently in position to be remembered as the biggest loser of the election. It would take a dramatic change to prevent Yisrael Beitenu from dropping from their current 13 seats to become a single-digit party. When his bill passed less than a year ago Yisrael Beitenu had five ministers, in the next government Liberman might be stuck with just two. Following Lapid and Livni’s firing there were rumors in the Knesset that Shas & UTJ would agree to join Netanyahu to create a narrow 61-MK majority coalition and it was Liberman who preferred elections over the Haredim in the government. If those rumors are true, one has to wonder if Liberman regrets that decision.

Meretz has been dropping every week, slowly but surely. The last time Meretz didn’t drop was back in Week 5 when they retained their 6.5 seats from Week 4.Meretz’s high was 6.8 seats which they received back during Week 1. In some circles there are analysts who are wondering if Meretz, now averaging at 5 seats, will pass the threshold.

This is the second straight week where Yachad passed the electoral threshold in all of the week’s polls. Many expect this trend to continue as additional disgruntled Sephardi Rabbis jump ship from Shas to Yachad. The biggest Sephardic Rabbi pickup of this week was Rabbi Yoram Abergel. On the other side of their electoral spectrum, Yachad took a slight hit in their battle for Chardal (a mix of ultra-orthodox-national religious) voters when Rabbi Zalman Melamed decided to endorse Bayit Yehudi. Rabbi Melamed’s influential student and former MK & National Union Leader Yaakov Katzeleh Katz also endorsed Bayit Yehudi last week. Yachad is pushing the endorsement of influential Chardal Rabbi, Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu, as their answer to Rabbi Melamed’s endorsement of Bayit Yehudi. Baruch Marzel returns to the list at #4 following the Supreme Court decision to overturn the Central Elections Committee decision to disqualify him. Zoabi’s disqualification was also overturned and she returns to The Joint List.

5 – Week 13 Preview

We have three more installments of the Poll of Polls left and things are heating up. We had eight of the top ten polling companies conducting at least one poll this week. Expect more polls throughout this coming week. This will be the last full week of polling for parties to test ideas ahead of the launch of television ads on March 3.

For more analysis on the ‘Poll of Polls’ you can catch my weekly radio interview on Sundays with Gil Hoffman on Voice of Israel.com

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

Knesset Jeremy Weekly Average #11 (week of Feb 8-Feb 14 2015) of 7 polls from 4 leading polling companies (2 Panels, 2 Teleseker, 2 Smith, 1 Dialog, 0 Midgam, Maagar Mochot, Geocartography, Sarid, TRI, New Wave)

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

1st 24.4 (25.3) [18] Likud

2nd 23.2 (23.6) [20] Zionist Union (Labor+Livni)

3rd 12.4 (13.0) [11] Bayit Yehudi

4th 12.4 (12.0) [11] The Joint (Arab) List

5th 10.1 (10.4) [20] Yesh Atid

6th 08.0 (07.5) [02] Koolanu (Kahlon+Kadima)

7th 07.0 (07.2) [07] Yahadut Hatorah/UTJ

8th 06.8 (06.5) [10] Shas

9th 05.8 (05.4) [13] Yisrael Beitenu

10th 05.1 (05.2) [06] Meretz

11th 04.4 (03.8) [02] Yachad (Yishai+Chetboun+Marzel)

69.0 (68.6) [63] Right-Religious-Kahlon (Parties that have not ruled out nominating a Netanyahu coalition)

51.0 (51.3) [57] Center-Left-Arab (Parties that have ruled out nominating a Netanyahu coalition)

*Note #1: Marzel & Zoabi are currently disqualified but Supreme Court has yet to have final say.

* Note #2: Results including the two polling companies that released their first polls of the election cycle and are not expected to carry out additional polls (Times of Israel’s 202 Strategies and Sekernet): Likud 24.4, Zionist Union23.6, Bayit Yehudi 12.1, The Joint (Arab) List 12.1, Yesh Atid 10.1, Koolanu 8.3, UTJ 7.1, Shas 6.5, Yisrael Beitenu 6.0, Meretz 5.0, Yachad 4.5. There is no change in placement compared to the regular poll of poll results and no party has a change of more than 0.4 of a seat on the average.

Changes: The Joint (Arab) List has tied Bayit Yehudi as the third largest party.

Largest Gains: Yachad gained 0.6 of a seat; Koolanu gained 0.5 of a seat and both The Joint (Arab) List and Yisrael Beitenu gained 0.4.

Biggest Losses: Likud dropped 0.9 of a seat; Bayit Yehudi dropped 0.6 of a seat & Zionist Union lost 0.4 of a seat.

Knesset Jeremy Analysis – Week 11:

1 – President Rivlin sets the ground rules for Phase 2: Race goes from a head-to-head war to a bloc war

Last week we discussed the 3-Phase process to the Prime Minister House. Phase 1 – Elections (seats). Phase 2 – President’s Residence (nomination). Phase 3 – Knesset vote (61 MKs needed).

Most analysts have been focusing on Phase 2 because President Rivlin chose to not be so clear on how he will conduct that process. Rivlin’s decision this week to announce he plans to pressure all parties to choose a preference turns the election from a head-to-head war to a bloc war.

Previously the thought process was that parties such as Koolanu, Yisrael Beitenu, UTJ and Shas could get away by saying they prefer a national unity government or say they do not have a preference between Netanyahu and Herzog. Rivlin’s insistence to force an answer out of each party leader will reduce the wiggle room each of these parties has.

Only six (Likud-Bayit Yehudi-Yachad vs Zionist Union-Yesh Atid-Meretz) of the eleven lists that are expected to be elected to the next Knesset have made their positions on Phase 2 clear, with a seventh (Joint Arab List) making it clear they will never nominate or vote for a Netanyahu government. Of course parties such as Yesh Atid have implied their Phase 2 preference does not necessarily indicate what their Phase 3 plans. Rivlin’s move is meant to force the other parties to announce their Phase 2 plans before the election. The move could also convince parties that have made commitments on Phase 2, but are non-committal about Phase 3, to announce their intentions before the election as well.

Both Likud and the Zionist Union are frustrated by this announcement because the head-to-head argument was helping the two largest lists in the polls during the last few weeks. Rivlin’s move could help parties that are polling close to the electoral threshold such as Meretz and Yisrael Beitenu stay afloat.

Fans of the two-party system shouldn’t blame President Rivlin for making this call because it is the Israeli public that is choosing to make this a bloc war. The two largest lists running in this election have failed in every poll to reach half of the seats together. A national unity government of the two largest parties would still require other parties to reach 61 MKs. Simply, a majority of Israelis are choosing the other nine.

2 – What would it take for Herzog to become Prime Minister?

If Herzog wins 23 seats in Phase 1, as he did in the average of this week’s polls, what would it take for him to reach the Prime Minister office?

One possible scenario:

In Phase 2, Herzog would need to receive the backing of enough party leaders to prove to Rivlin that he is capable of reaching 61 MKs to approve his government in Phase 3. To start off Herzog figures out a way to convince his future coalition partners why he is keeping the top three senior portfolios (Foreign Minister Livni, Finance Minister Trajtenberg and Defense Yadliin) or alternatively Herzog dumps some or all of the people he had campaigned with. Herzog starts with his natural partner. Meretz’s 5 seats will quickly bring Herzog from 23 to 28. Yair Lapid, who makes it harder to bring in the Haredim and the Arabs, joins a Herzog coalition and convinces Herzog to either dump Trajtenberg as Finance Minister or perhaps accepts a lower level portfolio. Yesh Atid brings Herzog up to 38. Herzog turns to Kahlon, who almost ran on a joint list with Likud, and offers Koolanu either the Finance portfolio that Herzog didn’t give Trajtenberg or Lapid, or perhaps a lower level portfolio.

At 46, Herzog makes a play to get a commitment from the Arabs. The Joint (Arab) List forgives the Zionist Union for voting to disqualify MK Zoabi from running in the election, ignore past commitments not to enter a Zionist coalition, and raises Herzog’s numbers to 58. Herzog, with a commitment from Zionist Union-Meretz-Joint Arab List-Yesh Atid-Koolanu for 58 seats has two options. Herzog either convinces Liberman to take a big demotion and sit with Meretz (and perhaps the Joint Arab List) in a left-wing government or Herzog tries to convince Shas and/or UTJ to sit with Lapid. The Hardim find some way to agree to sit with Lapid and not rollback the Haredi Draft Law, with some sort of increase Haredi institution funding. Or perhaps Lapid allows the Haredi Draft Law to be repealed for the sake of replacing Netanyahu. The Joint Arab List who helped Herzog in Phase 2 disappear in Phase 3, but it doesn’t matter because by this point you have a stable coalition of Zionist Union-Meretz-Yesh Atid-Koolanu-Yisrael Beitenu-Shas-UTJ.

Following this unusual Phase 2 arrangement, this potential Herzog government would now require 61 MKs to approve such a coalition in Phase 3, without any rebel MKs from any of the factions voting against such a union. Of course MKs such as Zoabi & Trajtenberg would vote for such an arrangement.

3 – What would it take for Netanyahu to become Prime Minister?

If Netanyahu wins 24 seats in Phase 1, as he did in the average of this week’s polls, what would it take for him to reach the Prime Minister office?

One possible scenario:

Prime Minister Netanyahu starts off with his natural partners. He offers Naftali Bennett a senior portfolio and jumps from 24 to 36. Netanyahu brings in the three Haredi parties (UTJ-Shas-Yachad) with promises of the Interior Minister, Appropriations Chairman and plenty of funding.  With 53 seats in the bag, Netanyahu offers Kahlon the Finance Minister position and Netanyahu’s coalition is already at 61. Yisrael Beitenu joins between Phase 2 and Phase 3.

There are challenges of course. Deri might refuse to nominate Netanyahu, even if given a major portfolio. Can Deri and Yishai sit together in the same cabinet? Can Netanyahu get away with selling out to the Haredim? Will Netanyahu be able to overpay Kahlon and/or Liberman for a commitment before they meet President Rivlin?


4 – Week 12 Preview

The election is in 30 days. Things have started to stabilize, no party gained or lost a complete seat this week. The ground game is also starting to pick up. Likud and Zionist Union will try to find a way to return the focus to their head-to-head match-up. Yesh Atid, Koolanu and Yisrael Beitenu will try to take advantage of Rivlin’s recent statements. Bayit Yehudi will try to keep rebounding after three consecutive weeks of bad polling with encouraging news following two Friday polls at 13 seats. The Joint Arab List and UTJ will keep focus on their plans to get out their vote.

For more analysis on the ‘Poll of Polls’ you can catch my weekly radio interview on Sundays with Gil Hoffman on Voice of Israel.com