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Israel’s Right-Wing Majority

Apr 15, 2019

If Israel holds elections in the year 2029, you might do well to bet on the right-wing Likud Party. Benjamin Netanyahu will probably no longer be prime minister by then, but that doesn’t matter. On Wednesday morning Bibi celebrated his fourth consecutive electoral victory and his fifth overall. Netanyahu will become Israel’s longest-serving prime minister, surpassing the founding leader of the country, David Ben Gurion.

Voters have handed a clear victory to the right-wing parties that support Netanyahu, at least at the moment. Netanyahu will now move to form a coalition similar to his previous one, between his own enlarged Likud and other right-wing factions. The bloc of Likud and its ultra-Orthodox and right-wing allies finished with 65 seats, compared to 55 for the center, left and Arab parties.

Israelis have consistently shunned the left over the past decades. As Tamar Hermann and Or Anabi of the Israeli Democracy Institute recently found, a full 63 percent of Jewish Israelis (about 80 percent of the population) self-define as being on the right or center-right of the Israeli political map. Only 14 percent of Jewish Israelis (plus nearly all of Arab Israelis) define themselves as being on the left or center-left. Eighteen percent self-define as pure center. These election results reflect that, with Labor’s demise and the poor showing of the left-wing Meretz party as well.