Israeli Election Results: Hang On To Your Tuchases, It’s Gonna Get Meshugenah!

The Israeli election returns are very, very, very, very, very close. Right now at 6:15 PM EDT Haaretz has the average of the exit polls as Gantz’s Kahol Lavan (Blue and White) Party with 37 seats in Knesset, Netanyahu’s Likud Party with 35 seats, Shas (technically the Sephardic extreme right religious party) with 7 votes, the United Torah Judaism (UTJ – a partnership between the two most powerful Ashkenazi extreme right religious parties of Degel HaTorah and Agudat Israel) with 7 votes, (what’s left of) Labor with 7 points, the Hadash Ta’al Party (the non-Zionist Arab-Jewish communist party), the Rightist Union with 5, Meretz (the social democratic and green party) with 5, Yisrael Beiteinu (Avigdor Lieberman’s extreme right party) with 5, and Kulanu (centrist party focusing on economic issues) with 5.

Gantz has declared victory.

12:14 A.M. Gantz hails historic day for Israel

Kahol Lavan Chairman Benny Gantz told supporters Tuesday overnight he believes he should be the next prime minister, after exit polls suggest his party is either tied or leading over Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud. “This is a historic day,” Gantz told party activists in Tel Aviv.

“We wish to thank Benjamin Netanyahu for his service for this country, and say that despite our many differences, we will rise above our past disagreements and grudges,” Gantz said. “We will respect the voter’s will — the biggest party is the one that should … form the government.”

And one of the new Kahol Lavan Members of Knesset (MK) Orit Farkash HaCohen has put out a call for Likud MKs opposed to Netanyahu to abandon him and join Gantz in forming a governing coalition. From The Times of Israel:

Blue and White’s Farkash-Hacohen invites Likud rebels into gov’t, sans Netanyahu

Likely Blue and White MK-elect Orit Farkash-Hacohen tells The Times of Israel that she believes Benny Gantz will be able to form a coalition regardless of the final results for the right or left-center blocs.

“We will form a responsible coalition because we can work with parties from across the political spectrum,” she says.

Asked if that included the Likud, Farkash-Hacohen, number 15 on the Blue and White slate, repeats the party line that it would not sit with Netanyahu but that his party was an option.

Who will they speak to in Likud? “They will have to come to us first,” she says of potential Likud rebels. “And they are welcome to.”

The Labor Party’s chairman (for now…) has indicated that Labor will support Gantz and Kahol Lavan:

12:09 A.M. Labor chairman says disappointed with exit polls, Netanyahu must go

Labor Party Chairman Avi Gabbay told supporters he was disappointed with the exit poll results, which predicted his party receiving anywhere between six and eight Knesset seats, adding Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “must go.” Gabbay vowed to “spearhead the political and social struggle” against Netanyahu, facing potential charges in several corruption cases.

Gabbay also said he spoke with Kahol Lavan leader Benny Gantz. “I told him we will do everything” necessary to help Gantz form a government, he said.

He also pushed back at criticism from his own party over his leadership, including some calls to resign, saying he will go on leading the Labor Party.

The Times of Israel‘s most recent live update indicates that Labor has pulled ahead in the actual tallying of votes and that the Kulanu Party leader will recommend Netanyahu for Prime Minister.

With 228,000 votes tallied, Likud ahead by 5%

228,367 votes have now been counted.

Likud is ahead, with 29%, compared to Blue and White’s 24%.

The front-runners are followed, in descending order, by Shas (6.3%), Yisrael Beytenu (5.5%), Labor (4.9%), United Torah Judaism (4.7%), Union of Right Wing Parties (3.8%), Kulanu (3.6%), Meretz (3.2%), the New Right (3.1%), Zehut (2.8%), Ra’am-Balad (2.6%), Hadash-Ta’al (2.2%) and Gesher (1.8%).

Kulanu leader says he’ll recommend Netanyahu for PM

Kulanu leader Moshe Kahlon says he’ll recommend Netanyahu as prime minister.

Reports earlier in the evening suggested Kahlon was waiting for the final results before making a decision.

Netanyahu, of course, has also declared victory and announced that he will have his new coalition government formed by tonight.

10:21 P.M. Netanyahu claims victory

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claims victory, minutes after Benny Gantz did the same. “The right-wing bloc led by Likud won a clear victory,” Netanyahu writes on Twitter. “I thank the citizens of Israel for their faith. I will begin forming a right-wing party with our natural partners tonight already.” (Jonathan Lis)

I expect that if Likud does not win a larger plurality than Gantz’s Kahol Lavan Party, then Bibi will do what he did when he lost to Tzipi Livni in 2009, which is simply form a majority coalition as quickly as possible and dare anyone to do something about it. I would expect that Benni Gantz, a retired 4 star general and former Chief of Staff of the Israeli Defense Forces to put up more of a fight than Livni did in 2009, but Netanyahu has demonstrated time and time again that he really does not care about what the law requires and will do what he wants, when he wants to attain, maintain, and/or consolidate power. Which is why he sent Likudniks to polling places in Arab neighborhoods and had them plant over 1,200 cameras to surveil Israeli Arabs voting just to make sure that nothing untoward was being done by Israeli citizens exercising their right to vote. This led to police intervention, calls for an investigation, but also what Netanyahu wanted most: a large drop in Israeli Arab turnout in today’s elections.

The final results are likely to be very close and I fully expect plenty of Bibi’s usual shenanigans. I also expect Gantz to fight to deny Bibi another term as Prime Minister and his execrable, racist, theocratic, xenophobic, and neo-fascist coalition another term as Israel’s governing coalition. If Bibi brazens this out once again, then I expect that Zone C of the West Bank, which includes the legal and illegal settlements, will be annexed in short order, the President will announce that the US recognizes this annexation as legal, legislation will be pushed through Knesset that makes it illegal to prosecute a serving prime minister, and Bibi will, effectively, have pushed Israel into full on authoritarianism using democratic systems and processes to achieve illiberal and undemocratic outcomes.

Updated at 6:35 PM EDT

Here’s the chart from Pfeffer’s twitter feed:

Here’s a bit of positive news and progress:

Oy vey…

Updated at 6:45 PM EDT

From The Times of Israel:

Report: Netanyahu may ask Kahlon to merge with Likud, forming largest party

The pro-Netanyahu Israel Hayom newspaper reports that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may ask Kulanu leader Moshe Kahlon to merge his center-right party with the Likud, making it the largest party and the best-poised to form a government.

Kahlon is a former Likud lawmaker. The report comes as exit polls are split on which party is the biggest, with Channel 12 and Kan handing the title to Blue and White, and Channel 13 giving Likud a one-seat edge. The official results are being counted.


Amended Channel 13 poll has Likud ahead by one seat

Channel 13 has adjusted its exit poll as real-time official results emerge. The amended poll gives Netanyahu’s Likud a one-seat edge over Gantz’s Blue and White at 35-34.

The network had previously predicted that the two front-running parties would be tied at 36. Both Netanyahu and Gantz have crowned themselves the winners of the election.

Updated at 6:50 PM EDT

From Netanyahu biographer (it just came out, I just bought it, it’s in the queue, haven’t read it yet):

Updated at 7:00 PM EDT

Updated at 7:05 PM EDT

The Times of Israel, based on Israel Channels 11’s and 13’s exit polling, has this projection:

Updated exit polls indicate Netanyahu headed for victory

Channel 12 and Channel 13 update their exit polls as the official ballots are counted.

Both networks’ revised samples indicate Netanyahu’s Likud will win 35 seats, compared to Blue and White’s 34.

The Channel 12 survey previously predicted 37 seats for Blue and White and 33 for Likud; Channel 13 had the two parties tied at 36.

Both exit polls now indicate that Shas would be the third-largest party with eight seats, followed by United Torah Judaism with 7. According to the TV stations, the New Right, Zehut and Gesher will fall under the electoral threshold.

In its breakdown of the political blocs, Channel 12 gives 63 of the 120 Knesset seats to the right, compared to 57 for the center-left, giving Netanyahu a clear path to forming a government. According to Channel 13, the right-wing bloc would receive 65 seats, compared to 55 for the center-left.

Haaretz is also reporting this:

01:55 A.M. Updated exit polls show Likud overtaking Kahol Lavan by one seat  

The most recent exit polls still gave advantage to the right-wing bloc, showing that it is likely to garner 63-65 Knesset seats, while the center-left bloc has 55-57 seats, with the Likud overtaking Kahol Lavan by just one seat.

According to both exit polls by Channel 13 News and Channel 12 News, the Likud will snag 35 Knesset seats.

Both exit polls also showed that Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked’s Hayamin Hehadash party did not pass the electoral threshold of 3.25 percent. Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu party is going to receive four Knesset seats, the exit polls indicated, while the United Arab List-Balad, which was at risk of not making it into the Knesset, will get four to six seats as well.

The exit polls also predicted that Orly Levi-Abekasis’ Gesher party as well as Moshe Feiglin’s Zehut party will fail to enter the Knesset.

Gantz’s path to victory is quickly being closed off.

Updated at 7:30 PM EDT

From Haaretz:

02:11 Netanyahu in celebratory speech: ‘This is a night of great victory’

“We love you,” Netanyahu told Likud supporters in a victory speech he held after exit polls showed his party has likely won the election. “23 years ago it was the first time Sara [his wife] and myself stood here, and here we return because of you and for you.”

“This is a night of great victory,” Netanyahu said to a standing ovation.

“I operate day and night for you, for the country, for our land,” he added. “You earned an almost unfathomable feat in the face of biased media and under impossible conditions,” he extolled Israelis who voted for his Likud party.

“The right-wing bloc will continue to lead Israel for the next four years,” he added.

The Times of Israel:

Netanyahu says he’ll form right-wing government, but will be PM for all

Netanyahu says Israel, under his leadership, is strong, prosperous and “a good place to live.”

Even as he declares his win, Netanyahu also counsels patience until all the ballots are counted.

“A long night, maybe a long day, is still ahead of us and we will wait for the final results,” says Netanyahu.

Netanyahu says he is contact with right-wing parties, “our natural partners.”

“Nearly all of them have publicly declared that they will recommend that I form the next government,” he says.

“It will be a right-wing government. But I intend to be the prime minister of all of Israel, right and left, Jews and non-Jews alike.”

So to paraphrase Samuel L. Jackson: grab on to your tuchases because things are going to get meshugenah!

Open thread!

91 replies
  1. 1
    debbie says:

    The best news is that it’s close! Forget meshugenah, I’m verklempt!

  2. 2
    Brachiator says:

    Gantz has declared victory.

    Wow. Is this a good thing?

    Whatever will Trump make of it?

    Netanyahu claims victory

    Wait. What?

    I will step away from the computer for a while.

  3. 3
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @debbie: You don’t want it close. You don’t even want Gantz squeaking it out by one or two points. Because Bibi is going to announce, once he get’s to his election party, that he’s already formed a new coalition government and that he is, once again, the Prime Minister-elect of Israel.

  4. 4
    Emerald says:

    Didn’t I read just a week or so ago that Netanyahu has been indicted? So, how does that work?
    Or was I dreaming?

  5. 5
    B.B.A. says:

    So you’re saying one Judeofascist war criminal beat the other Judeofascist war criminal.

    Feel free to reverse when the final results come out.

  6. 6

    I’m sure everybody will be very reasonable while this is sorted out. Thanks for the update, Adam!

  7. 7
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Emerald: Yes.

  8. 8
    debbie says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    I want Bibi to be afraid. Very afraid.

  9. 9
    Adam L Silverman says:

    I’m putting rolling updates up top as they come in from Haaretz, The Times of Israel, and other Israeli reporters and commentators. So check up top periodically for the most recent information.

  10. 10
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    I’d rather he was dead. He’s kind of a piece of shit

  11. 11
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷: Ease up just a wee bit.

  12. 12
    debbie says:

    Speaking of racists (and since we’re speaking of Bibi, we are), I was very peaceably listening to my local NPR’s call-in program on home rule. My city wants to end concealed carry (legal in Ohio) within city limit. The representative for a gun rights lobby, Ohioans for Concealed Carry, insisted that compromising concealed carry in any way would be a return to the days of Jim Crow. He repeated this and was not strongly called out. Damn NPR’s politeness!

  13. 13
    Adam L Silverman says:

  14. 14
    Zzyzx says:

    @B.B.A.: what the fuck is the first half of “Judeofascist” supposed to mean? Fascist is a descriptive word by itself.

  15. 15
    sempronia says:

    Adam, I enjoy your jauntiness, but this is a really depressing post.

  16. 16
    Jay says:


    NPR’s not being “polite”, they have gone to the dark side.

  17. 17
    B.B.A. says:

    @Zzyzx: I mean they’re not Christofascist or Islamofascist.

  18. 18
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @debbie: So he’s not 100% wrong with that statement. Most of the really harsh gun control laws in the southern US that were passed before and after the Great Rebellion were put in place specifically to keep African slaves and African American freed men and women from arming themselves for both self defense and to rebel against the slave owners and the politicians, clergies, businessmen, and others that kept them enslaved or denied them their rights as Americans. In fact California’s heavy regulation of firearms began under Governor Reagan as a response to the Black Panthers carrying unloaded rifles and shotguns with them at all times, including when protesting at the state capitol.

  19. 19
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @sempronia: I’m doing what I can with the material I have to work with…

  20. 20
    cain says:

    Why are there so many hard right and center right parties in Israel? Is there any liberal ones? It seems the whole country is going hard right. (I suppose I should include Palestinians too)

  21. 21
    pjcaper says:

    * The Adelson funded news platform is Israel Hayom, not Times of Israel.

  22. 22
    MomSense says:


    That’s what I keep wondering. I thought he was indicted on corruption and bribery charges.

  23. 23
  24. 24
    Adam L Silverman says:

    Gantz’s path to victory is being closed off:

  25. 25
    B.B.A. says:




  26. 26
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @MomSense: He was. Or, at least, the Israeli Attorney General’s Office indicated the indictments are forthcoming. Anshel Pfeffer, who just wrote a biography of Bibi, has speculated that should Bibi be reelected, one of his first orders of business will be pushing legislation through Knesset making it illegal to indict a sitting prime minister. Which would, of course, allow him to immunize himself from prosecution.

  27. 27
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @pjcaper: Thanks, I apologize for confusing/conflating the two and I’ll fix it right now.

  28. 28
    cain says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Depressing. But it seems that whatever ploy he’s done it worked, and he has seized power. It’s really unfortunate that the israeli arabs decided to not vote because of shenanigans.

  29. 29
    🇺🇸🌎 Goku (aka Amerikan Baka) 🗳🌷 says:

    @Adam L Silverman:
    Sorry. It just pisses me off when evil people win, though the election isn’t over yet

  30. 30
    cain says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    @MomSense: He was. Or, at least, the Israeli Attorney General’s Office indicated the indictments are forthcoming. Anshel Pfeffer, who just wrote a biography of Bibi, has speculated that should Bibi be reelected, one of his first orders of business will be pushing legislation through Knesset making it illegal to indict a sitting prime minister. Which would, of course, allow him to immunize himself from prosecution.

    A miscarriage of justice. So basically he can break any law and not be held to account? Lovely.

  31. 31
    Patricia Kayden says:

    Dang it! I was so hoping that Bibi would lose. Oh well. With such a narrow victory, let’s see if he continues his hostile takeover of Arab land.

  32. 32

    @cain: It’s good to be King.

  33. 33
  34. 34
    Zzyzx says:

    @Patricia Kayden: it’s worse. Because his victory was so narrow, he’s going to be forced to join forces with the extreme right and offer them favors.

  35. 35
    MomSense says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    This is maddening.

  36. 36
    MomSense says:


    That’s exactly it.

  37. 37

    Ugh, well, thanks for the real-time updates though!

  38. 38
    debbie says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    He’s not being sincere about that. He’s trying to agitate minority communities into demanding there be no restrictions on carrying guns and he’s waving the red flag of Jim Crow in front of their eyes. The vast majority of people in these communities are asking for help in ending the escalating gang violence.

  39. 39
    Adam L Silverman says:

  40. 40
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Zzyzx: He had already done that.

  41. 41
    Mr Stagger Lee says:

    Do the Russians have the ability to hack Israel’s election? But then I guess the Israeli Right wing mostly Russian emigrants.

  42. 42
    Adam L Silverman says:

  43. 43
    Adam L Silverman says:

  44. 44
    Adam L Silverman says:

  45. 45
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @debbie: That part I’m also aware of.

  46. 46
    Jay says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    The ransom the hard right will demand will be extensive.

  47. 47
    mad citizen says:

    I’m scrolling through, only to say I’m sure this could matter to me somehow, like if WWIII is impacted, but given our (U.S.) situation, real life, work, etc., I have no more brain cells to devote to whatever is happening here. Dog bless those who do, though.

    I can only be a mad citizen for my own nation, with only occasional madness for other nations.

  48. 48
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jay: They’ve already got almost everything they want in terms of ministries. Not really what else they can demand other than declaring Israel a halachic (Jewish Law) state, with all matters under the purview of the Chief Rabbi.

  49. 49
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    This vile person. Ugh. It feels like the wee hours of November 9, 2016 all over again, only not quite as unexpected and shocking.

  50. 50
    some guy says:

    Apartheid Now, Apartheid Tomorrow, Apartheid Forever.

    Now, more than ever, the only morally responsible position is to Boycott, Divest, Sanction.

  51. 51
    Jay says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    There’s no such thing as too far right. They will continue the process of stripping Israeli Arabs of rights and freedoms, and of course, the Dome.

  52. 52
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jay: Without a doubt. The only good news is that Naftali Bennett got voted out and Rabbi Moshe Feiglin and his party didn’t get voted in.

  53. 53
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Jay: Also, I sent you an email yesterday, so you may want to check that account.

  54. 54
    B.B.A. says:

    Just remember, folks, my senior senator and our minority leader praised Il Douche for moving the embassy and will probably back our invasion of Iran when the day comes.

    Someday, when my parents’ generation of Jews has died off, we’ll be able to adopt a reasonable policy about Israel, like a full embargo.

  55. 55
    Aleta says:

    Thanks very much Adam. Whenever I look up something specific about Israeli politics, for ex. voting rights in Israel, or numerous other things, for each piece that I read I don’t know enough to be sure of the perspective or political beliefs or framing of the author. So I never end up trusting that I’ve put together even a piece of the picture from the different sources; accurately that is.

    Anyway, I think I understand one thing: that many who could have voted today (those who now choose to identify as Arab Palestinian citizens of Israel, instead of the term Israeli Arabs) boycotted the election because of the Jewish Nation-State Bill.

    Implications for the future of this–and, if Net. loses, whether this will change– I’d like to hear your opinion Adam, if you ever feel like commenting on it.

    Thanks again.

  56. 56
  57. 57
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Aleta: You’re welcome and that does appear to be what happened. Unfortunately by electing not to vote, they may have guaranteed that things will get far, far worse for them very, very quickly.

  58. 58
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Aleta: If you mean the effects of the nation-state bill, then it will lock in a two tiered system of citizenship in Israel. And I fully expect it will eventually be expanded.

  59. 59
    Adam L Silverman says:

    Oh goody!

  60. 60

    @Adam L Silverman: No worries then Adam, Jared will fix it!

  61. 61
    WaterGirl says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: For me, this harkens back to the Brexit vote. I thought that surely Brexit would be a cautionary tale for the US and that we wouldn’t be so stupid as to elect Donald Trump. But of course we did, by hook or by crook.

    So now I look at Bibi who has been indicted, is in a close election yet still wins, and I read all the predictions from Adam about what Bibi will do to enable more of his destructive and illegal activities, and once again I look ahead to 2020 and think surely this will be a cautionary tale for the US. But I only think that for a second because my heart sinks and I know very well that the US might indeed be that stupid.

  62. 62
    lgerard says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    trump is going to be pissed when Jared wins the Nobel Peace Prize!

  63. 63
    Jay says:


    The pro’s and con’s of Palistinian Israeli’s voting:

  64. 64
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Unlikely.

  65. 65
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @lgerard: This would also be highly unlikely.

  66. 66

    @Adam L Silverman: Ye of little faith.

    (You probably don’t believe in Santa, the Tooth Fairy, or Unicorns.)

  67. 67
    jonas says:

    I’m sure that someone has probably already written on this, but the implosion of the Labor Party in Israel has to be the most dramatic demises of a modern political party/movement in recent history. How the hell did an entire left-of-center party that had been a major player since the country’s founding get relegated to being a minor footnote in the space of a decade?

  68. 68
    lgerard says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Won’t stop him, from saying so. The magazine covers are redoubtably being printed and framed for all the golf courses as we speak

  69. 69
    J R in WV says:


    It feels like the wee hours of November 9, 2016

    I went to bed around 10 pm that night… with appropriate doses of both OTC medications (booze) and prescription meds. Which helped with the sleep if not with the morale. Sorry you stayed up for the wee hours!

  70. 70
    SiubhanDuinne says:


    I feel, looking back, that I was horribly naïve in 2016. The Brexit vote should have been a HUGE warning to us. At the time, it seemed an aberration, an outlier, a black swan. I was obviously aware of some of the fuckery in Brexit, but at the time I still had a modicum of faith in our system.

    Silly, silly me.

  71. 71
    Jay says:


    Their best leader and uniter was murdered by a right wing nutjob,

    The PLA discovered at the last moment, that the Peace Deal wasn’t a Peace Deal, but instead, an eviction notice.

    Hamas, the IDF and the Reich Wing worked in concert to create terror, terror all the time,

    And hard line Russians invaded Israel.

  72. 72
    B.B.A. says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: You’re still naive if you think it was fuckery what won it. We (and the Brits and the Israelis) did this to ourselves.

  73. 73
    SFAW says:


    You’re still naive if you think it was fuckery what won it. We (and the Brits and the Israelis) did this to ourselves.

    Спасибо, товарищ

  74. 74
    Alternative Fax, a hip hop artist from Idaho says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Today is National Unicorn Day. Someone actually told me that last week.

  75. 75
    Jay says:


    The fuckery is what shifted the margin by 3 to 5 points for the Brexiteers,

    Ditto for 2016 in 3 key states.

    A weapon designed to identify and deradicalize ISIL cadres online, was taken by Aggregate IQ and Cambridge Analetica, and used to identify targets for radicalization on line and to use social media to radicalize them.

    People were radicalized to not vote, vote Bernie, vote Green, vote Trump and infighting was incited everywhere and about everything to prevent united actions.

    And the Russians piled on, ( and Sawdi Arabia, Israel).

  76. 76
    Bill Arnold says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    Says Kushner peace plan will be released ‘before too long.’

    I’m afraid to look; is that the voluntary-self-expulsion-of-the-Arabs plan?
    Thanks very much for this, a concise sketch of the political structures but detailed enough to be helpful. Question: Is there any possibility of a coalition that includes Arab Knesset members?
    The maps the other day were also helpful, particularly the strictly territorial ones; my impression is that annexation of even parts of the West Bank will further mainstream the comparisons with Apartheid, though the population ratios are closer than they were in SA. And will also significantly strengthen the BDS movement worldwide. And getting enmeshed in US partisan politics was also a bad move by the Israeli right. Etc.
    Irritated. (A strong word for me.)

  77. 77
    B.B.A. says:

    @Jay: Were the 60 million deplorables all Russian plants? Somebody better tell them.

    The problem is that there are so many of them to begin with.

  78. 78


    Were the 60 million deplorables all Russian plants?

    You’ve heard of advertising and marketing?

  79. 79
    Jay says:


    79,860 votes in 3 targetted States decided the 2016 Election.

    54,900 votes in 21 Ridings, decided Brexit.

    Since the 80’s, 1% to 3% of the votes in Western Democracies decide elections due to a large variety of factors.

    As a result of that, the development of infometrics, computing power and social media, targetted ratfucking wins elections.

    More people didn’t vote in 2016, than voted for Dolt 45.

  80. 80
    Citizen Alan says:


    I think it was in right around the time of Iraq War that I realized a democracy cannot survive if a sufficiently large percentage of the citizens would prefer fascism.

  81. 81
    Bill Arnold says:

    This is a good piece. (With some good links.)
    If You Are Defending Stephen Miller, You Are an Ally of Anti-Semitism (Eric Levitz, April 9, 2019)

    Stephen Miller is personally responsible for the most xenophobic policies of the most xenophobic presidency in modern American history.

    But the GOP’s decision to brand Omar’s comments as anti-Semitic is something much worse than unfair or unsupportable. It is confirmation that the party sees anti-Semitism less as a scourge to be combatted than as a political cudgel to be exploited.

    We can’t look into Stephen Miller’s heart, or search X-rays of his body for signs of “racist bones.” But we do know that he has tried to ban Chinese students from American universities and pushed for the deportation of Vietnamese refugees who have been in the United States for decades — a policy with no national-security, economic, or assimilationist rationale. We also know that Miller reportedly told a colleague, “I would be happy if not a single refugee foot ever again touched American soil”; and a middle-school classmate, that they couldn’t be friends anymore because of the classmate’s “Latino heritage.” And we know that he wrote in his high-school yearbook, quoting Teddy Roosevelt, “There can be no fifty-fifty Americanism in this country. There is room here for only 100 percent Americanism, only for those who are Americans and nothing else.”

  82. 82
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @Bill Arnold: My understanding by looking at where the numbers are now, is that even though right now the Knesset seats won by both Kahol Lavan and Likud are tied at 35 apiece, there are more Knesset seats that have been won by those parties that would form a coalition with Netanyahu than with Ganz. So unless Ganz can peel off a bunch of Likud members of Knesset as defectors, and I honestly don’t even know how that would work, there is almost no way that Ganz can form a coalition unless Kahol Lavan somehow pulls out a bunch more votes as they finish the tallies. Here’s Haaretz’s brief explanation. Just one quick note: Gantz and Kahol Lavan are really not the left in Israel. Gantz is center right and his party occupies the center right/center space in Israeli politics. He is only left, as we understand it, because Likud and Netanyahu’s coalition are so far to the extreme right that the center looks like the left. And also because the parties that Gantz would need to form a coalition are center left to left. So a Gantz led coalition with his Kahol Lavan Party as the largest share of seats in Knesset would be a coalition that represents the center right to the left in Israel. Bibi’s coalition will only represent the right to the extreme right in Israel.

    Likud and Kahol Lavan are neck to neck with each receiving 35 Knesset seats after a hotly contested election campaign.

    However, the right-wing bloc has a clear advantage over the left, and seems to be likelier to form a coalition.

    5:52 A.M. 95 percent of votes counted; Likud and Kahol Lavan get 35 Knesset each

    With 95 percent of the votes counted, Likud and Kahol Lavan are tied at 35 seats each, but the right-wing bloc gets 65 seats in total.

    Ultra-Orthodox parties Shas and United Torah Judaism have eight seats each, Yisrael Beiteinu and the Union of Right-Wing Parties five, and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu four.

    Among center-left parties, Labor gets six seats, as does Arab-majority Hadash-Ta’al. Meretz has four seats, and United Arab List-Balad makes it into the Knesset with slightly over the 3.25-percent electoral threshold, securing four seats.

    Moshe Feiglin’s Zehut, Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked’s Hayamin Hehadash and Orly Levi-Abekasis’ Gesher also fail to enter the Knesset.

  83. 83
    eemom says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    So does this mean that even if the votes are totally tied, Bibi will win because his party will be able to form a coalition and Gantz’s won’t?

    This is some fucked up shit. Kind of ironic when you think about how often we lament the two party system here. Our system sucks. So does the alternative. The world is fucked, all of it.

  84. 84
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @eemom: The answer is somewhere between maybe and most likely. Unless something weird happens, right now Bibi’s got a 65 seat potential coalition between Likud’s 35 seats and the 30 seats total won by Shas, United Torah Judaism, Yisrael Beiteinu, The Union of Right Wing Parties, and Kulanu. Gantz is looking at a potential coalition of only 55 seats, between Kahol Lavan’s 35 seats and the 20 seats from the remaining parties that have made it past the 3.25% of the vote threshold.

    The outstanding question to me, is whether or not there is anything to MK-elect Orit Farkash HaCohen’s statement from earlier this evening inviting Likud defectors unhappy with Netanyahu to defect to Kahol Lavan. I’m not even sure if there are any rules or norms for what would happen if say 6 to 10 Likudniks who were just reelected decided to jump ship and give Gantz the numbers he’d need. I’d expect Bibi to go apeshit, which I think is a safe prediction should that happen, but I have no idea if it is probable or plausible. I’m sure it’s possible, but…

  85. 85
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @eemom: Part of what you’re seeing here is one of the negative effects of a multiparty parliamentary system that isn’t a first past the post system. So, unlike in Britain, Duverger’s Law doesn’t apply. And the result of that is instead of funneling almost everyone running for office and everyone voting for them into two large political parties that are themselves broad coalitions assembled ahead of the election, what you have in Israel is a lot of parties, including a whole lot of single or few issue parties (like the ultra-devout religious parties or Kulanu, which seems to only be interested in the economy), that fragment the vote preventing even the largest parties from earning an outright majority. You’re also seeing the result of the almost complete collapse of the old Labor Party as a viable political party from the center left to left of center and the failure of any new party to fill that space in Israeli politics.

  86. 86
    eemom says:

    Yeah, I was just gonna ask how Israel’s system compares with other parliamentarian ones like Britain’s. I really know nothing about any of it. It’s interesting though.

    One thing I need to get straight: people do vote for individual MKs right? And when you refer to the 3.25% of the vote threshold, does that mean that only a party whose members collectively get that percentage of the vote are seated in the Knesset….such that an individual candidate could “win” and still not be seated in the Knesset….?

  87. 87
    Adam L Silverman says:

    @eemom: No, these are not single member district/first past the post elections. Israel uses a party list system. So every party runs with a list of candidates. The number of seats they get is based on the percentage of the vote for the party. The minimum threshold is 3.25% of the total vote to seat anyone on a specific party’s list in Knesset. Knesset has 120 seats. So Likud and Kahol Lavan both ran a party list with 120 names on it. They both one just over 29% of the vote (29.16%), which entitles them to 35 seats each. The first 35 names on each of their lists will become members of Knesset. Some of the smaller parties don’t have party lists with 120 names on them because they don’t have that many members that want to or are willing to run for office. But since they know they’re not going to win a really big percentage, even if they get over the 3.25% threshold, they don’t need that many names.

    Everything else functions like a normal parliament. The Prime Minister and members of the cabinet are from the most senior people in the majority party, or if there isn’t one, from the party with the largest plurality, with specific cabinet positions (ministries of government) awarded to the smaller parties that are necessary to get above the minimum threshold for forming a coalition government. This is why the education and immigration ministries will be given to Shas and United Torah Judaism by Bibi, because they use them for indoctrination purposes and to enforce a 17th century understanding of Judaism and the world on 21st century people (think of them as the Pences of Israel, but with much more facial hair).

  88. 88
    Jay says:


    Nope, people vote for the Party. If an MP wins the local vote, but the Party doesn’t pass the 3.25% threshold, they are not seated.

  89. 89
    Adam L Silverman says:

    I’m going to go watch TV and rub doggie bellies. I’ll catch you all on the flip.

  90. 90
    eemom says:

    @Adam L Silverman:

    k, thanks. Again, this is some fucked up shit. But knowledge is power, I guess. 😳

  91. 91

    @B.B.A.: Not so sure about that, since right-wing evangelicals [spit] are more rabidly pro-Israel than the median Jewish American has been in decades if not ever. This should not be confused with being pro-Jewish, as most of these evangelicals [spit] are also horrifically antisemitic: the whole reason they support Israel is because their interpretation of Revelation demands a unified, Jewish Israel perish in Armageddon. These people are a large portion of the reason we can’t have a sensible Middle East policy. Fuckem.

    Anyway, I’m disappointed by tonight’s results, but I can’t say that I’m surprised. It’s incredibly depressing how, compared to the Jewish population pretty much everywhere else, Israel’s electorate [spit] is incredibly right-wing authoritarian. Fuckem.

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