Israel Ready for Elections in One Week: A List of the Major Parties Vying for Power

  • Likud run by Benjamin Netanyahu the majority right party received an equal amount of mandates as the Blue White party in the last elections.
  • The religious parties may object to joining Blue-White with Benny Gantz as Prime Minister.
  • The United Arab Party and their leaders will not become Prime Minister but there is always a possibility that they will be included in the government.

Israel is in a crisis. Hezbollah has threatened them from the North. They are at war with Iran deploying their forces in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. Trump has vowed support for Israel and its survival in an unstable Middle East. The Peace Deal of the Century between Israel and Palestine is ready to be revealed after the elections.

Elections in Israel are different than in America. In Israel there is no direct election of President or Prime Minister but each candidate has the opportunity to make a coalition of a majority of 61 mandates. Each party in the elections receives a number of mandates if qualified. Some parties may not receive one mandate and their votes will go to the majority party. These are the parties which will appear on the ballots in elections next Tuesday:

Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu.

Likud run by Benjamin Netanyahu the majority right party received an equal amount of mandates as the Blue White party in the last elections. If Netanyahu will gather 61 mandates including other parties usually the right religious parties, Shas the Sephardic party, and other right parties Netanyahu will become again Prime Minister.

Benjamin “Benny” Gantz.

Blue-White headed by Benny Gantz a former military general received an equal number of mandates as Likud in the previous elections but also was not able to gather the required 61 mandates to make a government. Second to Benny Gantz is Yair Lapid who is disliked by the religious parties.  For this reason the religious parties may object to joining Blue-White with Benny Gantz as Prime Minister.

Ayelet Shaked.

The right Zionist Party headed by Ayelit Shaked for Minster of Justice reaches out to both religious right Mizrachi Israels living in the settlements and in Israeli cities known as Kipur Serugot Jews wearing skull caps with many colors sometimes with a Magen David Star of David. Among the religious right Zionists are a variety of levels of religious observance. Ayelit was chosen to lead the party in place of Rafi Peretz because she is more secular than Rafi Peretz and appeals to all types of Zionist right traditional religious. In the last election she ran separately which was a mistake. She is now leading the right religious Zionist working class bloc.

The United Arab Party and their leaders will not become Prime Minister but there is always a possibility that they will be included in the government. In the last elections there were two parties and a poor turnout of Arab voters. They are hoping through making a united Arab party to get more support from Arab Israeli voters.

Avigdor Lieberman.

The Israel House Party is led by Avigdor Lieberman a Russian immigrant who has built up a large following among the million Israelis from Russia.  He is right in his policies toward two-state solution but against religious influences in Israel.

The Democratic Camp Party is more left than Blue White and the Gesher Work party led by Amir Peretz.  They have no problem joining with the Arab party in the government or with the Orthodox parties. They were called Meretz in the previous elections. Ehud Barak the former Prime Minister joined them as a tenth candidate to arouse support and votes to help make a government on the Left Side opposing Netanyahu.  They are looking for a more liberal government.

The Torah Judaism Party also called Aguda represents the Ashkenazic Chassidic and Charedi Orthodox strictly observing Jewish law. In Israel there are several communities built for them exclusively and the government provides for them support for education. Their major interest in politics is for the sake of receiving funds for their religious institutions and for housing for their families. Their children usually do not serve in the army which is a sensitive issue for Netanyahu making a new government. They have a strong representation in Israel which is a Jewish state where marriage and divorce is supervised by the Orthodox.  They also work in the field of ritual slaughter and kosher food certifications. They apply pressure on the government to maintain Sabbath in all cities even which the majority are secular.

Amir Peretz.

The Shas Party which is the Orthodox Sephardic party can make a big difference in the results of the elections.  The Sephardic religious are less in opposition to military service of their children but still strong in the importance of Torah learning.  They have more appreciation for the government having lived in the nations surrounding Israel before 1948 when the State of Israel was established. Among the Sephardim are less left liberal Jews than among the Ashkenazi European.  The nation was founded by European Ashkenazic Zionists who were almost completely illiterate in Judaism and were holocaust survivors. The head of the party is Arye Deri who served a short prison sentence for corruption and bribery before returning to politics. The party lost a lot of support because of this and also their spiritual master Ovadia Yosef has passed away and there has been no one greater to replace him. The son of Ovadia Yosef is the Grand Rabbi of Israel not connected to politics.

The Labor Gesher Party is run by Amir Peretz who served as Minister of Defense during the second Lebanon war.  He was the head of Histadrut the Workers Union.  They call their party Gesher because it is in between far left and the other strong left Blue-White.

The Otzma far right party goes the way of Rabbi Meir Kahane supporting transfer of Arabs out of Israel, the Jewish land. They are determined for Israel to return to be a theocracy like in Biblical times and to rebuild the holy temple. They support the Army of Israel and pray for their welfare. They also are against the two state solution which Trump is prepared to bring after the elections.  In the last elections they didn’t receive even one mandate.

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David Wexelman

Author of 5 books on the internet on topics of Jewish mysticism, managing two websites. www.progressivejewishspirituality.net
http://www.worldunitypeace.org

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