Zionist Spirit: The political alliance, ‘Zionist Spirit’ that was formed less than two months ago has collapsed, three days before the party list need to submitted.
The Zionist Spirit was created by Ayelet Shaked (formerly Yamina) and Yoaz Hendel and Tzvi Hauser who were part of Gideon Saar’s New Hope Party.
The main disagreement between Shaked and Hendel and Hauser was whether to support Netanyahu in forming a narrow right-wing government, if there was no unity option.
Shaked is in favour, but Hendel and Hauser are opposed – even if that means going to another election.
Shaked is now expected to try and recruit her Yamina colleagues Abir Kara and Nir Orbach into her list with the Jewish Home.
The added pressure on Shaked relates to their poor polling (see below) that suggested the Zionist Spirit would not have made it over the electoral threshold.
Both Shaked and Hendel continue to serve as ministers in the ‘Government of Change’, as interior and communications ministers respectively.
When Saar merged his party with the centrist Blue and White, led by Defence Minister Benny Gantz, to form the ‘National Unity Party’, Hendel and Hauser were left out.
Labour – Meretz: Over the weekend, Prime Minister Lapid convened a meeting with Labour Party leader Merav Michaeli and Meretz leader Zehava Galon in an effort to have them merge ahead of the list closing. However the efforts have not been successful.
Both left wing parties are polling just over the threshold, the fear on the centre-left is if one of them does not make it over, the votes will be lost, skewing the votes cast in favour of the right wing,
Following the meeting the Labour Party issued a statement: “A merger between the two parties was tried in the past and was an abysmal failure. To this moment, we have not seen a single poll that indicates that a merger would enlarge the camp. This is not disagreement over portfolios, this is a matter of maintaining the bloc against Netanyahu’s return. We call on Yesh Atid to act judiciously and with composure. That is how we won the last election, and that is how we will win this time.”
Meretz leader Galon said: “Meretz will continue to act responsibly to ensure that no vote goes to waste. Meretz is gaining and we intend to continue to grow and ensure that there is a strong left-wing component to Lapid’s left.”
Joint List: Hadash and Balad announced over the weekend that they reached an agreement to run together.
The agreement gives Hadash leader Ayman Odeh four of the party’s top six Knesset seats.
Balad Party leader Sami Abu Shehadeh will be second on the list, with the fifth slot going to former leader Dr. Mtanes Shehadeh.
According to their agreement, the Joint List are not expected to endorse any candidate to the president to form a government.
Notably the agreement appears to leave out veteran MK Ahmad Tibi and his party, the Arab Movement for Renewal. He could now run independently, but is unlikely to make it over the threshold.
Latest Polling: According to Channel 12 News, the Likud receives 32 seats, Yesh Atid: 23, National Unity Party: 12, The Religious Zionist Party: 11, Shas: 9, United Torah Judaism: 7, Meretz: 6, Joint List: 5, Yisrael Beiteinu: 5, Labour Party: 5, United Arab List: 5.
This gives a division into blocs: Pro-Netanyahu bloc: 59, Current coalition parties: 56 with the Joint List: 5.
According to this poll the Zionist Spirit are on 0 (1.1%).
The margin of error in this poll is 4.4%.
Looking ahead: Shaked is expected to announce a merger with the Jewish Home Party and its leader, Givat Shmuel Mayor Yossi Brodny. The parties are understood to have agreed that each one would have equal representation in the top six.
Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid Party are expected to reveal their list in the next day or two.
The Likud Party are also expected to release their full list. Party leader Netanyahu has the right to unilaterally insert three candidates for realistic spots: in 14th, 16th and 28th. He is expected to include the former Yamina rebels MKs Amichai Chikli and Idit Silman, who helped bring down the unity government.