Small Parties Could Flame Out on Election Day

YERUSHALAYIM -
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, center, leaves the Knesset, Wednesday, Dec. 2 2020. (Alex Kolomoisky/Pool via AP)

There was sobering news for Israel’s proliferating small political parties on Tuesday: several of them will fail to clear the electoral threshold for entering the Knesset, according to a Channel 12 poll.

The list of vulnerable parties include: the once nationally dominant Labor party, Moshe Yaalon’s center-right Telem which just parted company with Yesh Atid; Bezalel Smotrich’s right-wing National Union which just left Yamina; Orly Levy-Abekasis’ centrist Gesher, a Labor castoff; Ofer Shelah’s center-left Tnufa, which spun off from Yesh Atid; Itamar Ben-Gvir’s far-right Otzma Yehudit, and former Finance Ministry official Yaron Zelekha’s New Economic party.

All are well are of their vulnerabilities and at least some will merge with larger parties before a February 4 deadline ahead of the March 23 elections.

According to the survey, if elections were held now, Likud would recapture 29 of its 36 seats, Gideon Saar’s New Hope (16), Naftali Bennett’s Yamina (13), Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid (13), the Joint List (10), Shas (8), United Torah Judaism (8), Yisrael Beytenu (7), Ron Huldai’s The Israelis (6), Meretz (5), and Blue and White (5).

If Yamina and New Hope run on a joint ticket, they could win 25 seats, four fewer than if they run independently. But that would not prevent them from entering a coalition together after the elections.