Israel’s Final Election Results Declared


What happened: The final results of the Knesset election show that the pro-Netanyahu bloc won 64 seats.

  • The Likud have 32 seats,
  • Yesh Atid 24,
  • Religious Zionist Party 14,
  • National Unity Party 12.
  • Shas 11,
  • United Torah Judaism 7,
  • Yisrael Beitenu 6,
  • United Arab List 5,
  • Hadash-Ta’al 5,
  • Labour Party 4
  • Meretz received 3.16 per cent of the votes, falling 4,000 votes short of the four seat threshold.
  • The final voter turnout was 70.6 per cent.
  • Last night outgoing Prime Minister Lapid called Likud leader Netanyahu and congratulated him on his election victory. Lapid issued a statement that he had ordered the entire staff of the Prime Minister’s Office to prepare for an orderly transfer of power. Lapid wrote: “the State of Israel comes before any political consideration and I wish Netanyahu good luck for the sake of the people of Israel and the State of Israel.”
  • Prior to the elections there had been calls for Meretz to unite with Labour and Balad to remain part of the Joint List along with Hadash- Ta’al.  In hindsight the decision not to merge swung the result to the right wing that was more united.
  • Last night there were recriminations on the left. Led by Labour leader Merav Michaeli who accused outgoing Prime Minister Lapid of toppling her party and Meretz. Michaeli said: “Yesh Atid worked against Meretz and the Labour Party for the entire campaign and particularly on Election Day. Lapid couldn’t even get the Arab parties to sign surplus vote agreements. The man who was responsible for managing this battle mismanaged it.”
  • In fact it was the Labour leader who had refused to merge with Meretz, mistakenly thinking that their sum parts would be greater than their combined power.
  • In terms of the popular vote the Likud, Religious Zionists and the ultra-Orthodox parties won 48.36 per cent of the vote. Even if you include Ayelet Shaked’s Jewish Home party (wo also did not make it over the threshold with 1.19 per cent) they do not have a majority.
  • Nevertheless, Israel’s electoral system means that Benjamin Netanyahu will form the next government for the sixth time in his career.
  • Last night Netanyahu began to receive congratulations from various world leaders, notably too from senior former officials in the Trump administration including Mike Pompeo and Nikki Haley. In addition the current US Ambassador to Israel Tom Nides also called Netanyahu and said that he was looking forward to working with him.
  • One in ten Israelis voted for the hard line right wing party, Religious Zionist Party.  They successfully tapped into Israelis personal security concerns, that have recently included shooting, stabbing and car ramming attacks as well as lawlessness in the south and the violent rioting that took place in mixed Jewish and Arab communities last year.
  • There is particular concerns over the future role of head of the Jewish Power faction within the Religious Zionist Party Itamar Ben Gvir. In his youth he was considered too radical and dangerous to be recruited into the IDF. Back in 2007 he was convicted on charges of racist incitement against Arabs and support for Kach, considered a Jewish terrorist organisation inside Israel (and the US). Ben Gvir has since distanced himself from the movement, allowing him to run in this election.
  • Nevertheless, his role in a future government has already caused concern among Israel’s allies abroad.  According to Channel 12 News, if he were to be given the public security ministry (as he has requested) that would limit the cooperation between the Israel Police and the FBI.

Looking ahead: Next week the official results will be presented to President Herzog, who will then invite all the party leaders into a live televised consultation to hear their recommendations for prime minister.

  • It is anticipated that Netanyahu will receive the mandate that gives him twenty eight days to build a coalition, distribute ministerial portfolios and agree government guidelines. In pre-election interviews Netanyahu said that he would keep the three most senior posts (Defence, Finance and Foreign) within the Likud.
  • US President Joe Biden and Netanyahu are scheduled to speak in the next few days.