In brief

Strength of right-wing bloc leaves Netanyahu well placed to secure another term in government

Centrist White and Blue alliance performs better than expected, but left-wing and Arab parties lose ground

Benjamin Netanyahu.
Benjamin Netanyahu. Author: US Department of State
A bloc of right-wing and far-right parties got 65 of 120 seats at yesterday’s Israeli Parliament election, leaving Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu well placed to secure another term. His Likud party won 35 seats, the same number as the main opposition alliance, centrist White and Blue. Arab parties lose ground, as do Israeli left-wing forces.

Besides Likud, the right-wing bloc is made up of religious ultra-Orthodox Shas (Sephardite-Haredim, 8 seats) and United Judaism of the Torah (Ashkenazi-Haredim, also 8 seats), plus Yisrael Beytenu (secular nationalist right, 5 seats), the United Right coalition (far-right, 5 seats) and Kulanu (right-of-centre, 4 seats). During the election campaign, Netanyahu was confident that these parties would agree to form a post-election conservative nationalist majority, as it now seems likely to happen.

White and Blue, which for the first time ran as an alliance, achieved a better result than predicted by polls, but the collapse of parties to their left makes it unfeasible that an alternative majority can be put together. The Labor Party, with 6 seats, got its worst result ever. Left-wing pacifist Meretz gained a mere 4 seats.

The result of the two Arab alliances is not much better. The joint list made up by communist Hadash and Arab nationalist Ta’al won 6 seats. The other alliance, consisting of the United Arab List and Balad, got 4. This is a combined 10 seats, less than 13 reached by those four parties in 2015 when they ran under the umbrella of the Joint List.

An explanation for the losses of the Arab lists may be the impact of some calls to electoral boycott among Israeli Arabs. According to some exit polls, these calls have caused that turnout of the Israeli Arab population has been smaller than on previous elections.