Standoff Continues, No Change in Blocs on Right or Left

An elections ballot box at the first election committee meeting at the Knesset, Dec. 18, 2019. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Over a week after the closure of the election lists and the announcement of unified parties on the left and the right, not much has changed on the political scene: Neither the Likud nor Blue and White have enough Knesset votes to form a majority government with their “natural” partners. According to a Kan News poll, if elections were held today, the Likud’s rightwing/chareidi bloc would get 55 seats, while the Blue and White leftwing/Arab bloc would get 57.

On the right, the Likud would get 31 seats, with both Shas and United Torah Judaism getting eight seats apiece. Yemina would also get eight. On the left, Blue and White remains the biggest party, with 35 seats, while the union of the Democratic Front/Labor would get nine seats. Otzma Yehudit falls far from the electoral threshold, with 1.9% of the vote – worth between one and two Knesset seats.

Yisrael Beytenu with eight seats and the United Arab List with 13 seats remain the kingmakers. In order to form a government, Blue and White’s Benny Gantz would need both those parties, as well as getting the agreement of rightwing elements in his own party, who, along with Yisrael Beytenu, appear unlikely to sit in a coalition with the Arab list.

Blue and White said that it will join the Likud in demanding that the Central Elections Committee ban United Arab List MK Hiba Yazbak from running for the Knesset, on the grounds that she supports terror “on a systematic basis,” the Likud said. Yisrael Beytenu will also support the demand. Speaking to Yisrael Hayom, a UAL official slammed Blue and White for planning to support the ejection of Yazbak. “They are trying to move to the right to pick up votes, but they will not do this at our expense,” the source said. Blue and White head Benny Gantz “thinks we are in his pocket and will support his government no matter what, but he is sorely mistaken.”