Anti-Netanyahu voting strategy

The one voting issue

Israelis will go to the polls on November 1st for the fifth time in ~3.5 years. I won’t rehash our recent electoral history, other than to say that this insanity of going to vote over and over again revolves entirely around one individual: former Prime Minister Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu.

Putting aside whether one supports Netanyahu or opposes him, this is a profoundly unhealthy political situation. These five recent elections have not been about policy, as elections should be; Israel’s political landscape has undergone a metamorphosis into two major camps: pro-Bibi and anti-Bibi. It’s to the point that most parties barely bother campaigning on their political platforms.

Without Bibi, a government would readily be formed, and that is an objective fact.

Bibi himself knows this, of course; but he does not care. He only cares about getting elected again as Prime Minister, castrating Israel’s courts, and getting parliamentary immunity so that he won’t have to face the legal consequences of being found guilty of corruption. This is also a fact, although his supporters will dispute it. (the ultimate proof of this was Bibi’s leaving the State of Israel without a budget and without a fully functioning government entirely for his personal political benefit, with no thought whatsoever to the well-being of the State and its citizens.)


Required for forming a government coalition: 61 Knesset seats

Israel’s parliament is called the Knesset, and it has 120 seats. In order to become Prime Minister, one needs a majority of the Knesset (61 Members of Knesset) to support them.

We are now going into our fifth election in ~3.5 years because Bibi has been unable to get 61 Knesset Members to support his Premiership. However, despite this, the man remains the head of the largest Knesset party- Likud. In the latest polls, Likud is projected to get 32 seats in the coming elections (more than ยผ of the entire Knesset), making the formation of a broad coalition government without Bibi incredibly challenging.


Bibi’s main opponent

The former Prime Minister’s main opponent for the premiership is current interim Prime Minister Yair Lapid, the head of the Yesh Atid party. Yesh Atid is projected to get 24 seats in the Knesset, making it the second largest party after the Likud.

Of course, there are no guarantees in Israeli politics; the head of a smaller party could become Prime Minister, which is exactly what happened when former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett replaced Netanyahu. Still, Prime Minister Yair Lapid is broadly considered the most likely alternative to Bibi, and he’s already the sitting Prime Minister, which affects public perception.


How to avoid handing the election to Netanyahu

Many voters who don’t want to see Bibi return to power are going to be voting for Yair Lapid to keep him in the Prime Minister’s seat. This, however, is a terrible mistake.

The electoral threshold

You see, there is an electoral threshold in Israel of 3.25%, meaning that any political party receiving less than 3.25% of the total vote will be left out of the Knesset. In and of itself, this is not unreasonable, but the consequences of a party failing to enter the Knesset could be tremendous.

If a party garners only 3.2% of the vote, just under the required 3.25%, it fails to enter the Knesset; and its votes get distributed among the other parties, according to whichever parties are closest to receiving another Knesset seat.

3.25% of the national vote represents four seats in the Knesset, which means that any party receiving 3.2% of the vote will end up having its four Knesset seats distributed among those parties that did cross the voter threshold. Statistically, half of that party’s four seats (two Knesset seats) will go to parties that support Netanyahu.

Netanyahu’s potential coalition in the polls

All of this is in an environment, in which Netanyahu and his political allies are projected to get 59 or 60 Knesset seats. Recall: there are 120 seats in the Knesset, and one only needs the support of 61 Knesset Members to become Prime Minister.

Simply put: If one small party fails to enter the Knesset due to the voter threshold of 3.25%, half of its votes (equivalent to two seats in the Knesset) will almost certainly go to parties that support Benjamin Netanyahu… And this will be enough to return him to power.

The correct voting strategy for Netanyahu’s opponents

This is why voters who don’t want to see Netanyahu back in power must vote for the smaller parties that oppose him. Yair Lapid and his Yesh Atid party are guaranteed to get in, as is another large, centrist party led by Benny Gantz.

There are four small parties hovering dangerously close to the threshold that need our votes, and we need all four of these parties to cross the threshold and enter the Knesset, lest Bibi absorb half of their Knesset seats and form a coalition.

From the perspective of anyone who wants Yair Lapid to remain Prime Minister, it doesn’t actually matter whether they, as voters, agree with the platforms of these four smaller parties… It only matters whether or not these four parties cross the threshold.

If any one of these four small parties fails to cross that threshold, Yair Lapid won’t have enough political allies to form a government coalition with; and this will guarantee Benjamin Netanyahu’s return to power.

The four parties are the two left-wing Zionist parties (Meretz and Labor) and the two Arab parties (The Joint List & Ra’am)

34 thoughts on “Anti-Netanyahu voting strategy”

  1. Does Netanyahu’s passion to lead come from his desire for power–or his desire to protect Israel and Israel’s interests? Do other leaders in Israel, have the same passion to protect Israel? Do they also have the ability to do so? (I don’t already have an opinion on these questions–just a desire to know and understand.)

    1. The really sad thing about Netanyahu is that he was once a good politician. He used to be Finance Minister, and he did a terrific job at it. Even as a PM, he did a lot of good for Israel. But power really does corrupt ๐Ÿ˜•

  2. Leadership is typically poor. Thereโ€™ve been ten U.S. Presidents in my lifetime. With Lincoln being a 5 and Buchanan being a 1 the average in my life I calculate to be 2.3.

      1. Thatโ€™s valid. ๐Ÿ˜‚ But we can do better than weโ€™ve recently been doing

  3. I know very little about Israel. But I felt that it was a progressive, sensible, well lead country. Very sensible people.
    Guess it has the same issues as us all. Unreliable, self-centred, deluded politicians.
    The world is going to hell in a hand basket. In a hurry.

    1. โค Trish โค ~ Israel has tons of problems, believe me! Corruption, abuse of power, etc., etc.

      I mean, sure, there are sensible people too, and I'm generally happy to be living here, but problems? We've got more than enough!

      ~David

  4. I like your explanation! Too bad that isn’t how the US is set up… I’m just hoping that the orange one ends up in jail and unable to run for the Presidency!

    1. Israel’s system has major problems too, Muri… for example, there’s no local representation in the Knesset… So people with political issues have no local representatives to turn to with their problems.

    1. some left-wing Jews do vote for Hadash. I don’t think many Jews vote for Ra’am.

      but if more left-wing Jews vote for Hadash, and some centrist Jews vote for Meretz or Labor… well… it could make a difference when the votes get counted.

  5. They should form an umbrella party. Anti-Bibi. Only that one party should stand agaist Likud. Give people a straight choice of for or against. Would that work?

    1. That’s very hypothetical, Pete. Yes, technically, they could.

      But they all have their own political interests, and the haggling over who would get which position on that massive umbrella party’s list would be epic. The two Arab parties won’t run together due to different platforms, and the two liberal Zionist parties won’t run together due do petty politics.

      1. But would they agree to co-operate to oust Netanyahu once and for all? This does not have to be forever. Didn’t the French do that in their (parliamentary) elections. To polarise to ensure that Macron was kept out? I may be wrong.

        1. well, no, they wouldn’t.

          they could have, and they didn’t – the party lists have been finalized and submitted – so all that’s left to do now is go out and campaign for votes.

  6. Sounds familiar, David…Much the same going on here. How did so many crazies get into such high positions? Happening in country after country.

      1. It could be Judy… because many crazies vote… we are as a people, vote for who we are… even those who vote by staying away, get nobody…!
        ๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ–๏ธ

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