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2015 Israeli legislative election

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2015 Israeli legislative election
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{{pp|small=yes}}{{short description|Election for the twentieth Knesset}}{{Use dmy dates|date=February 2019}}







factoids
| election_date = 17 March 2015| turnout = 72%| results_sec = Results| party1 = LikudBenjamin Netanyahu}}| percentage1 = 23.40%| seats1 = 30| last_election1 = 18| party2 = Zionist Union| leader2 = Isaac Herzog| percentage2 = 18.67%| seats2 = 24| last_election2 = 21| party3 = Joint List| leader3 = Ayman Odeh| percentage3 = 10.54%| seats3 = 13| last_election3 = 11| party4 = Yesh Atid| leader4 = Yair Lapid| percentage4 = 8.81%| seats4 = 11| last_election4 = 19| party5 = Kulanu| leader5 = Moshe Kahlon| percentage5 = 7.49%| seats5 = 10| last_election5 = new| party6 = The Jewish Home| leader6 = Naftali Bennett| percentage6 = 6.74%| seats6 = 8| last_election6 = 12| party7 = Shas| leader7 = Aryeh Deri| percentage7 = 5.73%| seats7 = 7| last_election7 = 11| party8 = Yisrael Beiteinu| leader8 = Avigdor Lieberman| percentage8 = 5.11%| seats8 = 6| last_election8 = 13| party9 = United Torah Judaism| leader9 = Yaakov Litzman| percentage9 = 5.03%| seats9 = 6| last_election9 = 7| party10 = Meretz| leader10= Zehava Gal-On| percentage10 = 3.93%| seats10 = 5| last_election10= 6Prime Minister of Israel>Prime Minister| before_election= Benjamin Netanyahux70px|Benjamin Netanyahu)| before_party = Likud| after_election= Benjamin Netanyahux70px|Benjamin Netanyahu)| after_party = Likud}}File:Israel Elections 2015 Givataayim.jpg|thumb|Various party banners at a house in GivatayimGivatayimFile:Reuven Rivlin vote in Israeli legislative election, 2015.jpg|thumb|President Reuven Rivlin casts his vote in JerusalemJerusalem{{Politics of Israel}}Early elections for the twentieth Knesset were held in Israel on 17 March 2015. Disagreements within the governing coalition, particularly over the budget and a (Basic Law proposal: Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People|"Jewish state" proposal), led to the dissolution of the government in December 2014. The Labor Party and Hatnuah formed a coalition, called Zionist Union, with the hope of defeating the Likud party, which had led the previous governing coalition along with Yisrael Beiteinu, Yesh Atid, The Jewish Home, and Hatnuah.The incumbent Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu of Likud, declared victory in the election, with Likud picking up the highest number of votes. President Reuven Rivlin granted Netanyahu an extension until 6 May 2015 to build a coalition when one had not been finalized in the first four weeks of negotiations.Rivlin grants Netanyahu 2 week extension to form coalition The Jerusalem Post, 20 April 2015 He formed a coalition government within two hours of the midnight 6 May deadline.NEWS, 6 May 2015, In the 11th hour, Netanyahu finalizes 61-strong coalition,weblink The Times of Israel, Jerusalem, 6 May 2015, Prime minister reaches deal with Jewish home’s Bennett, finalizing a right-wing government; two men set to deliver a statement; Ayelet Shaked will be named justice minister., His Likud party formed the coalition with the Jewish Home, United Torah Judaism, Kulanu, and Shas, with the bare minimum 61 seats.NEWS, Heller, Jeffery, 6 May 2015, Netanyahu clinches deal to form new Israeli government,weblink Reuters, London, 6 May 2015, Yisrael Beiteinu later joined the coalition in May 2016.{{TOC limit|3}}

Background

{{further|2013 Israeli legislative election|Thirty-third government of Israel}}During late November and early December 2014, there were serious disagreements between parties in the governing coalition, particularly over the budget and a (Basic Law proposal: Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People|"Jewish state" proposal).NEWS,weblink Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu fires 2 ministers, election likely, CBC News, 2 December 2014, Netanyahu says Israel could be headed to early election Reuters, 1 December 2014 On 2 December, Likud announced it would support a dissolution bill, with a vote scheduled for 8 December. Hours later, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu fired Tzipi Livni and Yair Lapid from their cabinet portfolios.Accusing Lapid and Livni of attempted ‘putsch’, Netanyahu fires them, calls elections Times of Israel, 2 December 2014 In the first reading of the dissolution bill on 3 December, it was approved by a vote of 84–0, with one abstention.Israel's next election to be held on March 17, Knesset faction heads decide Haaretz, 3 December 2014 The second and third readings were held on 8 December, with the third reading passing with a vote of 93–0.Knesset votes to dissolve, sets new elections for March 17 Times of Israel, 8 December 2014The final election turnout was 72.3%,WEB,weblink בחירות 2015: התוצאות הסופיות, סרוגים, 31 March 2015, 4.6% higher than in the previous election and the highest since the 1999 elections, which saw a 78.7% turnout.Initially, exit polls reported a virtual tie between the Likud and the Zionist Union, a coalition headed by Leader of the Opposition Isaac Herzog and former Justice Minister Tzipi Livni. Both Netanyahu and Herzog began attempts to build a coalition in preparation for a possible government, with Herzog calling Netanyahu's statement "premature".WEB, Hoffman, Gil, Netanyahu declares victory in Knesset race; Herzog says Likud celebration is premature,weblink 18 March 2015, 17 March 2015, However, when the counting of the votes on 18 March 2015 revealed a significant lead for the Likud, Herzog acknowledged that "the only realistic option" was to remain in the opposition.WEB,weblink Isaac Herzog: The opposition is the Zionist Union's only realistic option, Jerusalem Post, He stated in a 19 March 2015 post-election interview that he still hopes to be the prime minister.WEB,weblink Walking back pre-vote pitch, PM says he is not a one-stater, Times of Israel,

Date

During the meeting held with Speaker Yuli-Yoel Edelstein on setting the date of the election, Likud and the Jewish Home favoured 10 March, the Labor Party requested 17 March, Shas and United Torah Judaism preferred 24 March, whilst the Arab parties requested that the elections be delayed until May.Knesset votes to dissolve; new elections called for March 17 The Times of Israel, 3 December 2014 The date was ultimately set for 17 March.

Calendar

  • 29 January 2015 – Deadline for parties to submit final Knesset candidate lists to the Central Elections Commission
  • 5 March 2015 – Election Day for members of Israeli diplomatic missions – Israeli diplomatic staff, their spouses, and Jewish Agency representatives vote, with ballot boxes set up in 96 Israeli diplomatic missions worldwide.WEB,weblink The voting begins: Israel's foreign diplomats cast ballots, ynet, 4 March 2015, 18 March 2015,
  • 13 March 2015 – Deadline for publishing election polls and predictions
  • 15 March 2015 – Election day for serving soldiers. 668 ballot boxes set up on military bases, and mobile polling stations are deployed to travel between remote army posts. Serving soldiers may vote from this day to the end of the elections.WEB,weblink Voting for 2015 elections starts on IDF bases, ynet, 15 March 2015, 18 March 2015, WEB,weblink 59% of soldiers voted by 5 PM, ynet, 17 March 2015, 18 March 2015,
  • 16 March 2015 – Starting from 19:00 campaigning using assemblies, meetings, speakers, and media is prohibited.
  • 17 March 2015 – Election Day. Most polling stations for the general public opened at 7:00 AM, although some polling stations in rural communities, hospitals, and prisons opened an hour later. Some 10,372 polling stations were set up, including 56 ballot boxes in prisons and 255 ballot boxes in hospitals.WEB,weblink 71.8% voter turnout in Israel elections, ynet, 17 March 2015, 18 March 2015, WEB,weblink Netanyahu or Herzog? Israelis vote in election too close, complex to call, The Times of Israel, 17 March 2015, 18 March 2015, Polls in prisons closed at 9:20 PM. Polling stations open to the general public closed at 10:00 PM. Hospital staff and emergency room patients who were not be available to vote while polling stations are open were issued special documents allowing them to vote after 10:00 PM.WEB,weblink Race to the Knesset: Follow the latest Election Day updates, Jerusalem Post, WEB,weblink General, psychiatric and geriatric patients in hospitals to get their chance to vote, Jerusalem Post, 15 March 2015, 18 March 2015,

Electoral system

{{further|Elections in Israel}}(File:קלפי בבחירות 2015 בגבעת נשר 01.jpg|thumb|upright|Israeli polling booth)The 120 seats in the Knesset are elected by proportional representation in a single nationwide constituency. The electoral threshold for the 2013 elections was 2%, but on 11 March 2014, the Knesset voted to raise the threshold to 3.25%. The vote was boycotted by the opposition.WEB,weblink Israel ups threshold for Knesset seats despite opposition boycott, Reuters, 11 March 2014, In almost all cases, this is equivalent to a minimum party size of four seats, but on rare occasions, a party can end up with three.NEWS, With Bader-Ofer method, not every ballot counts,weblink Jerusalem Post, 16 March 2014,

Joint electoral lists

{{further|Electoral alliance}}Continuing their long-standing alliance, Degel HaTorah and Agudat Israel ran on a joint electoral list named United Torah Judaism.WEB,weblink Hareidi-Religious Fear Loss of Nationalist Votes, Israel National News, 22 December 2014, In December 2014, the Labor Party and Hatnuah agreed to form a joint electoral list named Zionist Union.WEB,weblink Labor, Livni agree to join forces ahead of elections, Haaretz, 10 December 2014, The new Yachad party and Otzma Yehudit agreed on a joint electoral list.Following the raising of the electoral threshold, Balad, Hadash, the southern branch of the Islamic Movement, Ta'al, and the United Arab List agreed in January 2015 to form a joint electoral list named Joint List.WEB,weblink Arab parties finalize unity deal, Times of Israel, 22 January 2014,

Surplus-vote agreements

{{further|D'Hondt method}}Two parties could make an agreement so that they were considered to be running on a joint list when leftover seats were distributed. The Bader–Ofer method favors larger lists, meaning that a joint list is more likely to receive leftover seats than each list would individually. If such a joint list were to receive a leftover seat, the Bader–Ofer method would be applied a second time to determine which of the parties that make up the joint list would receive it.The Distribution of Knesset Seats Among the Lists – the Bader-Offer Method, Knesset website The following agreements were signed by parties prior to the election:

Parliament factions

The table below lists the parliamentary factions represented in the 19th Knesset.{| class="wikitable"! rowspan="2" colspan=2| Name! rowspan="2"| Ideology! rowspan="2"| Primary demographic! rowspan="2"| Leader! colspan="2"| 2013 result! rowspan="2" |Seats at 2014dissolution! Votes (%)! Seats| Likud| National conservatismNational liberalism| -| Benjamin Netanyahu23.34%{{efnLikud and Yisrael Beiteinu ran as a joint list called Likud Yisrael Beiteinu.}}20{{Likud/meta/color}}}}18{{Likud/meta/color}}}}|Yisrael Beiteinu|NationalismSecularism| -|Avigdor Lieberman11{{Yisrael Beiteinu/meta/color}}}}13{{Yisrael Beiteinu/meta/color}}}}| Yesh Atid| LiberalismSecularism| -| Yair Lapid14.33% 19{{Yesh Atid/meta/color}}}}19{{Yesh Atid/meta/color}}}}Israeli Labor Party>Labor| Social DemocracyLabor Zionism| -| Isaac Herzog11.39% 15{{Israeli Labor Party/meta/color}}}}15{{Israeli Labor Party/meta/color}}}}| The Jewish Home| Religious ZionismNational conservatism| -| Naftali Bennett9.12% 12{{The Jewish Home/meta/color}}}}12{{The Jewish Home/meta/color}}}}| Shas| Religious ZionismReligious conservatism| -| Aryeh Deri8.75% 11{{Shas/meta/color}}}}11{{Shas/meta/color}}}}United Torah Judaism>UTJ| Religious conservatism| -| Yaakov Litzman5.16% 7{{United Torah Judaism/meta/color}}}}7{{United Torah Judaism/meta/color}}}}| Hatnua| LiberalismZionism| -| Tzipi Livni4.99% 6{{Hatnua/meta/color}}}}6{{Hatnua/meta/color}}}}| Meretz| Social democracySocial liberalism| -| Zehava Gal-On4.55% 6{{Meretz/meta/color}}}}6{{Meretz/meta/color}}}}United Arab List>Ra'am-Ta'al| Arab nationalismIslamism| -| Ibrahim Sarsur3.65% 4{{United Arab List/meta/color}}}}4{{United Arab List/meta/color}}}}| Hadash| CommunismSocialism| -| Ayman Odeh2.99% 4{{Hadash/meta/color}}}}4{{Hadash/meta/color}}}}Balad (political party)>Balad| Arab nationalismPan-arabism| -| Jamal Zahalka2.56% 3{{Balad (political party)/meta/color}}}}3{{Balad (political party)/meta/color}}}}| Kadima| LiberalismZionism| -| Shaul Mofaz2.09% 2{{Kadima/meta/color}}}}2{{Kadima/meta/color}}}}

Campaign

Likud

{| style="float: right; margin: 0 0 0.5em 1em; clear:left; width:310px;" class="toccolours" Likud leadership election style="text-align:center;" '''Benjamin Netanyahu > Danon''' style="text-align:center;" 75% style="text-align:center; width:50%;" | 19% '''Full Likud list for Israeli legislative election, 2015'''HTTP://WWW.TIMESOFISRAEL.COM/BENNY-BEGIN-NAMED-TO-SAFE-SLOT-ON-LIKUD-KNESSET-LIST/WORK=TIMES OF ISRAELLANGUAGE=HEARCHIVE-URL=HTTPS://WEB.ARCHIVE.ORG/WEB/20160303225612/HTTP://BECHIROT.GOV.IL/ELECTION/CANDIDATES/PAGES/ONELISTCANDIDATES.ASPX?LPF=SEARCH&WEBID=6ADADC15-E476-480B-9746-04490AEDEB0F&LISTID=BA72A662-765C-45AF-9D48-FB68080956AF&ITEMID=56&FIELDID=LISTNICKNAME_GXS_TEXTURL-STATUS=DEAD, dmy-all, {| style="width:100%; font-size: 8pt" 1 Benjamin Netanyahu 2 Gilad Erdan| 3| Yuli Edelstein| 4Yisrael Katz (politician born 1955)>Yisrael Katz| 5| Miri Regev| 6| Silvan Shalom| 7| Moshe Ya'alon| 8| Ze'ev Elkin| 9| Danny Danon| 10| Yariv Levin| 11| Benny Begin| 12| Tzachi Hanegbi| 13| Yuval Steinitz| 14| Gila Gamliel| 15| Ofir Akunis| 16David Bitan{{efn>name=Bitan|Slot reserved for candidate from the Shfela region}}| 17| Haim Katz| 18Jackie Levy{{efn>name=Levy|Slot reserved for candidate from the Galilee region}}| 19Yoav Kish{{efn>name=Kish|Slot reserved for candidate from the greater Tel Aviv area}}| 20| Tzipi Hotovely| 21Dudu Amsalem{{efn>name=Amsalem|Slot reserved for candidate from the Jerusalem area}}| 22Miki Zohar{{efn>name=Zohar|Slot reserved for candidate from the Negev region}}| 23| Anat Berko| 24| Ayoob Kara| 25| Nava Boker| 26| Avi Dichter| 27Avraham Neguise{{efn>name=Avraham|Slot reserved for an immigrant}}| 28| Nurit Koren| 29| Yaron Mazuz| 30| Oren Hazan| 31| Sharren Haskel| 32| Amir Ohana|33|Yehuda Glick|34|Osnat MarkPrime Minister Netanyahu called a primary for 25 December 2014; however, it was postponed until 6 January. After the election was called, the prime minister demanded a vote of the central committee to move it back up to 31 December. This was passed in a mini-referendum.WEB,weblink Likud members vote on Netanyahu's request to advance date of leadership race, 10 December 2014, Haaretz, The candidates were NetanyahuWEB,weblink Netanyahu to call for December 25 Likud primaries, 5 November 2014, Times of Israel, and former deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon.NEWS,weblink Danny Danon submits candidacy for Likud leadership, Times of Israel, 8 December 2014, 9 December 2014, Likud's internal court changed the date to 6 January 2015 after finding that the vote lacked a two-thirds majority.NEWS,weblink Likud court knocks down vote for earlier primaries, Times of Israel, 15 December 2014, 15 December 2014, A panel of Likud judges accepted Netanyahu's appeal and allowed the vote to occur on 31 December 2014.NEWS,weblink Likud to hold early primaries after all, Times of Israel, 17 December 2014, 17 December 2014, The controversy over the timing of the primaries led to an internal investigation resulting in a report by party comptroller Shay Galilee that claimed Netanyahu had misused party employees. Galilee subsequently invited Netanyahu to a pre-disqualification hearing, which resulted in Netanyahu being prevented from running in the primaries. The prime minister immediately appealed to the Likud internal court.WEB,weblink Likud comptroller disqualifies Netanyahu from Likud leadership race; PM likely to appeal, Jerusalem Post, 24 December 2014, Menachem Ne’eman, the chairman of the Likud election committee, has claimed that Galilee acted outside his authority and that his decision is invalid. Netanyahu's attorney and his primary campaign have contested the disqualification.WEB,weblink Likud comptroller seeks to bar PM from running for party leadership, Times of Israel, 24 December 2014, Netanyahu was allowed to run.WEB,weblink Likud comptroller clears way for PM to run in primary, Times of Israel, 20 December 2014,

Primary results and aftermath

The primary results were widely seen as a victory for Netanyahu and the more moderate faction within Likud, as opposed to the far-right fringe.WEB,weblink The day Netanyahu regained control of Likud, The Times of Israel, 1 January 2015, Moshe Feiglin, who for a long time led his own far-rightist faction within Likud and once challenged Netanyahu for the chairmanship, suffered a major defeat in the primary, failing to win a realistic spot on the ticket. In response, he left Likud and announced plans to form a new party.WEB,weblink Moshe Feiglin leaving Likkud, 5 January 2015, Jerusalem Post, Feiglin said his new party, which may be called the Jewish State Party, will not run in the 2015 election, but will run in the next election after that.WEB,weblink Feiglin not running in election, Jerusalem Post, 11 January 2015, 11 January 2015,

Platform

The major foreign policy focus of Benjamin Netanyahu during this campaign has been to "prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear capability, by turning world opinion in favor of maintaining and expanding economic and diplomatic sanctions against Tehran". Netanyahu reiterated his positions on Iran to a joint session of the United States Congress. In the Middle East peace process, "Netanyahu has spoken out against further withdrawals from land, further releases of terrorists from prisons, or dividing Jerusalem in any way". Additionally, Netanyahu and other Likud members suggested that positions that he had made in his famous Bar Ilan speech were now null and void.WEB, Ronen, Gil, Netanyahu: Bar Ilan Speech is Dead,weblink Arutz Sheva, 16 March 2015, He reiterated this position on the last day of the campaign, telling Makor Rishon that "If I'm elected, there will be no Palestinian State".WEB, Ravid, Barak, Netanyahu: If I'm elected, there will be no Palestinian state,weblink Haaretz, 16 March 2015, Domestically, Likud "calls for a "free-market economy with social sensitivity", suggesting that in order "to remain competitive in a global market, there is a need for budgetary discipline, lowering taxes, an effectively managed stock market, and growth of the private sector". The party has also pledged to "implement State Comptroller Joseph Shapira's recommendations for ending the housing crisis and improve benefits for the self-employed".On election day, Netanyahu made a public statement, claiming:Binyamin Netanyahu: 'Arab voters are heading to the polling stations in droves', The Guardian, 17 March 2015It's been argued that this statement had implications on the Likud victory in the election. Following the elections, Netanyahu said he regretted the message.NEWS, Benjamin Netanyahu Says He Regrets Warning About Israeli Arabs Voting,weblink The Huffington Post, 23 March 2015, Samantha, Lachman, 23 March 2015, The President of the United States, Barack Obama, criticized that statement.NEWS, 25 March 2015, Obama doesn't buy Netanyahu flip on Palestinian statehood, CNN,weblink 23 March 2015, The Labor leadership election">

Zionist Union (Labor and Hatnuah){| style"float: right; margin: 0 0 0.5em 1em; clear:left; width:310px;" class"toccolours" The Labor leadership election

style="text-align:center;" Herzog Yachimovich style="text-align:center;" 58.5% 41.5% '''Full Zionist Union list for Israeli legislative election, 2015'''HTTP://WWW.YNETNEWS.COM/ARTICLES/0,7340,L-4614882,00.HTMLWORK=YNETWORK=JERUSALEM POSTWORK=JERUSALEM POST, 25 January 2015, {| style="width:100%; font-size: 8pt" 1 Isaac Herzog 2 Tzipi Livni| 3| Shelly Yachimovich| 4| Stav Shaffir| 5| Itzik Shmuli| 6| Omer Bar-Lev| 7| Yehiel Bar| 8| Amir Peretz| 9| Merav Michaeli| 10| Eitan Cabel| 11| Manuel Trajtenberg| 12| Erel Margalit| 13| Mickey Rosenthal| 14| Revital Swid| 15| Danny Atar| 16| Yoel Hasson| 17| Zouheir Bahloul| 18| Eitan Broshi| 19| Michal Biran| 20| Nachman Shai| 21| Ksenia Svetlova| 22| Ayelet Nahmias-Verbin| 23| Yossi Yona| 24| Eyal Ben-Reuven| 25| Yael Cohen Paran| 26| Saleh Saad| 27| Leah Fadida| 28| Robert Tiviayev| 29| Moshe Mizrahi| 30| Eldad YanivThe Labor Party and Hatnuah agreed on 10 December 2014 to form a joint ticket. Hatnuah head Tzipi Livni has said that other parties will also be part of the alliance.WEB,weblink Two Israeli parties unite against Netanyahu, Al Jazeera English, 11 December 2014, Herzog and Livni initially said that if they won enough votes to form the next government, they would take turns in the role of prime minister, with Herzog serving for the first two years and Livni for the second two, in a compromise known as rotation,Alliance Adds Twist to Israeli Elections. The New York Times. 10 December 2014. though Livni announced on 16 March 2015 that only Herzog would serve as prime minister.Livni forgoes rotating premiership with Herzog. Times of Israel. 16 March 2015. Labor held its primaries on 13 January 2015.WEB,weblink Labor holds primaries to elect its Knesset slate, Times of Israel, 13 January 2015, 13 January 2015, Aluf (Major General, res.) Amos Yadlin was the party's candidate for Ministry of Defence, though he did not run in the election itself.WEB,weblink Yadlin Not Seeking a Knesset Seat, Yeshiva World News, 20 January 2015, The alliance was expanded further when Livni selected Yael Cohen Paran, a co-chair of the Green Movement, Major General (res.) Eyal Ben-Reuven, and Yoel Hasson for Hatnuah's reserved slots on the Zionist Union list.WEB,weblink Israel election updates / Labor OKs Knesset slate; Livni: Netanyahu is on his way out, 25 January 2015, WEB,weblink Israel's Labor Party finalizes its election slate, Haaretz, 26 January 2015, The slate was endorsed by former prime minister Ehud Barak,NEWS,weblink Israel election live blog / Livni gives up power-sharing deal with Herzog, Haaretz, 16 March 2015, former prime minister and president Shimon Peres,WEB,weblink Peres endorses 'levelheaded' Herzog for prime minister, The Times of Israel, former Shin Bet chief Yuval Diskin,NEWS,weblink Diskin: Netanyahu failed, give Herzog a chance, Moran Azulay, Ynetnews, 13 March 2015, former Mossad chief Meir Dagan,NEWS,weblink Ex-Mossad chief Dagan: I would have resigned if Netanyahu ordered Iran strike, Haaretz, 15 March 2015, head of Israel's wealthiest family Stef Wertheimer,NEWS,weblink How is one of Israel's wealthiest men voting in the election?, Danna Harman, Haaretz, 13 March 2015, columnist Ari Shavit,NEWS,weblink Isaac Herzog’s lead ahead of election reveals Israel’s changing values, Patrick Martin, The Globe and Mail, 10 March 2015, NEWS,weblink Israelis, vote for hope. Vote for Zionist Union, Ari Shavit, Haaretz, 12 March 2015, the daily Haaretz,NEWS,weblink A chance to end Netanyahu's rule, Haaretz, 13 March 2015, and The Economist.NEWS,weblink Bibi’s a bad deal, The Economist, 14 March 2015,

Platform

Maintaining its position firmly within the Israeli peace camp, the party pledged to "reignite a process with our Palestinian neighbors based on a regional platform, and foster our unique and special relationship with Washington", but did not specify in greater detail the concessions that would be made by a Zionist Union government, other than saying that the Jordan Valley must be Israel's eastern security border.WEB, Hoffman, Gil, Israel politics: Platforms for the politically perplexed,weblink Jerusalem Post, 16 March 2015, The party also pledged "to rescue Israel from its international isolation [by] restor[ing] relations with the US and Europe, and unit[ing] the world in its war against terrorism and aggression".Much of the party's policy has been focused on economic issues facing Israelis, due in large part to members of the 2011 Israeli social justice protests currently on the party's slate of candidates. The party has pledged "support for 300,000 available apartments, released to the market at the rate of 50,000–60,000 per year, and subsidizing land value in housing, while providing an opportunity for partial ownership through rent payments. The party also plans to "lower the costs of healthcare, education, and basic goods for every family in Israel, allocating NIS 2 billion to create a basic aid package for senior citizens in need and launch a national savings program for children". Full Joint List for the 2015 Israeli legislative election">

Joint List{| style"float: right; margin: 0 0 0.5em 1em; clear:left; width:310px;" class"toccolours" Full Joint List for the 2015 Israeli legislative election

'''HTTP://WWW.YNETNEWS.COM/ARTICLES/0,7340,L-4618281,00.HTMLWORK=YNETNEWSACCESSDATE=27 JANUARY 2015, {| style="width:100%; font-size: 8pt" 1 Ayman Odeh 2 Masud Ghnaim| 3| Jamal Zahalka| 4| Ahmad Tibi| 5| Aida Touma-Suleiman| 6Abd al-Hakim Hajj Yahya}}| 7| Haneen Zoabi| 8| Dov Khenin| 9| Taleb Abu Arar| 10| Yousef Jabareen| 11| Basel Ghattas| 12Osama SaadiHTTP://WWW.JPOST.COM/ISRAEL-ELECTIONS/TIBI-PICKS-LAWYER-FOR-SECOND-SLOT-IN-TAAL-PARTY-389170WORK=JERUSALEM POST, 27 January 2015, | 13| Abdullah Abu Ma'aruf| 14| Juma Azbarga| 15| Said al-Harumi| 16| Ibrahim Hijazi| 17| Youssef Atauna| 18| Wael YounisFollowing the raising of the electoral threshold, Balad, Hadash, the southern branch of the Islamic Movement, Ta'al, and the United Arab List agreed on 22 January 2015 to run on the same list in the election, the first time the major Arab parties had all run on a single list.As Arab MKs unite, a new political landscape emerges Times of Israel, 28 January 2015 One poll suggested that the formation of alliance, later named the Joint List, could increase turnout amongst Arab voters to 56%, 10% higher than in the 2013 elections. However, the more hard-line northern branch of the Islamic Movement opted to boycott the elections, alongside the Abnaa el-Balad (Sons of the Village) movement.Tibi's Ta'al party picks lawyer for second slot The Jerusalem Post, 27 January 2014

Platform

Despite the official positions of anti-Zionism of some of the List's parties, the party's platform on the Middle East peace process tries to stake a moderate position. The Joint List's policy on the peace process "calls for a just peace based on UN resolutions, ending the occupation of all land Israel captured in 1967, dismantling all settlements and the security barrier, releasing all "political prisoners", and forming a Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital". Additionally, the party "calls for a just solution to the Palestinian refugee problem, which guarantees a right of return and self-rule for Israeli-Arab citizens on educational, cultural and religious issues". On other foreign policy matters, the party "supports a nuclear-free Israel and Middle East".Due to the fact that the party is primarily concerned with the interests of Israeli Arabs, the party "calls for full equality in state budgeting for Jewish and Arab municipalities and institutions, as well as affirmative action to help the poor – who are disproportionately Arab". Additionally, the party wants to raise the minimum wage to 60% of the average salary.

Yesh Atid

{{clear}}{| style="float: right; margin: 0 0 0.5em 1em; clear:left; width:310px;" class="toccolours" '''Full Yesh Atid list for Israeli legislative election, 2015'''HTTP://WWW.TIMESOFISRAEL.COM/YESH-ATIDS-NEW-KNESSET-LIST-PROMISES-CONTINUITY/WORK=TIMES OF ISRAEL, 25 January 2015, {| style="width:100%; font-size: 8pt" 1 Yair Lapid 2 Shai Piron| 3| Yael German| 4Meir Cohen (politician)>Meir Cohen| 5| Yaakov Peri| 6| Ofer Shelah| 7| Haim Yellin| 8| Yoel Razvozov| 9| Karin Elharar| 10| Aliza Lavie| 11| Mickey Levy| 12| Elazar Stern| 13| Pnina Tamano-Shata| 14| Boaz Toporovsky| 15| Ruth Calderon| 16| Yifat Kariv| 17| Dov Lipman| 18| Ronen Hoffman| 19| Zehorit Shorek| 20| Ofra FinkelsteinHailed as the kingmakers in the 2013 elections, Yesh Atid and its leader Yair Lapid have seen their popularity cut in half since joining the government. Elected on a "promise to lower the cost of living and improve the middle class's quality of life, Lapid implemented a string of unpopular austerity measures after being appointed finance minister that, he said, were necessary to counter a government deficit that ran into the tens of billions of shekels".WEB, Winer, Stuart, Yair Lapid says sorry, sorta,weblink The Times of Israel, 26 January 2015, Such actions led to Lapid being named the "most disappointing politician of 2013" and giving him the lowest approval ratings of cabinet ministers.WEB, Sharon, Itamar, Lapid last among ministers in public approval poll,weblink The Times of Israel, 26 January 2015, WEB, Ben Zion, Ilan, Lapid most ‘disappointing’ politician of the year, poll finds,weblink The Times of Israel, 26 January 2015, Following the election call, several sitting Yesh Atid MKs announced their intention not to run in the upcoming elections, including Rina Frenkel, Adi Koll, and Shimon Solomon.WEB, Ezra, Hezki, Third Yesh Atid MK Quits Politics,weblink Arutz Sheva, 26 January 2015, However, the party gained a member from another party, as Hatnuah MK Elazar Stern joined Yesh Atid following party leader Tzipi Livni's merger with Labor.

Platform

Yesh Atid's platform on the Middle East peace is firmly in the middle. The party "maintains that Israel was founded as the nation-state of the Jewish people and must remain a state with a Jewish majority, with defensible borders". The party suggested that a multilateral approach involving Israel's neighbors would allow for Israel's long-term security as well as a Palestinian state.On the subject of Iran, the party says Israel cannot allow Iran to become a nuclear threshold state and must do everything to prevent that scenario, in conjunction with the international community if possible, and unilaterally if necessary.Party leader Yair Lapid served as finance minister in Netanyahu's government and takes both the support and the blame for the government's fiscal policies. Had the government not fallen, Lapid's 2015 budget "would have increased investment in social services by more than NIS 10 billion without incurring any increase in taxes". The party "believes in a fair economic policy that directs budgetary investments to the middle class and the weakest in society, closing social gaps, while strengthening the market and encouraging growth". The party calls for more spending on health, education, and welfare, as well as encouraging growth and investment in industry by assisting small and medium businesses and promoting innovation in the market, fighting the black market, and striving to put public funds back in the hands of the public. Full Kulanu list for Israeli legislative election, 2015">

Kulanu{| style"float: right; margin: 0 0 0.5em 1em; clear:left; width:310px;" class"toccolours" Full Kulanu list for Israeli legislative election, 2015

'''HTTP://WWW.HAARETZ.COM/NEWS/ISRAEL-ELECTION-2015/1.637206WORK=HAARETZ, {| style="width:100%; font-size: 8pt" 1 Moshe Kahlon 2 Yoav Galant| 3| Eli Alaluf| 4Michael OrenHTTP://WWW.HAARETZ.COM/NEWS/ISRAEL-ELECTION-2015/1.639666PUBLISHER=HAARETZ, 29 January 2015, | 5| Rachel Azaria| 6| Tali Ploskov| 7| Yifat Shasha-Biton| 8Eli Cohen (politician born 1973)>Eli Cohen| 9| Roy Folkman| 10| Meirav Ben-Ari| 11| Shai Babad| 12| Akram Hasson|13|Tomer Uzan||The Kulanu party was established in November 2014 by former Likud MK Moshe Kahlon following months of speculation.WEB,weblink Popular ex-Likud minister launches new party, Times of Israel, 3 December 2014, WEB,weblink Ex-Likud minister Kahlon to call his new party Kulanu, Times of Israel, 10 December 2014, Kahlon was able to attract some high-profile candidates for the Kulanu party list, including former Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren and Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem Rachel Azaria. However, one of these candidates, former Reshet Aleph director and IBA presenter Tsega Melaku, was barred from running in the elections, due to the fact that she did not wait the requisite 100 days between quitting her public sector job and running in a general election.WEB,weblink Kulanu candidate barred from running in March elections, Times of Israel, 26 January 2015,

Ideology

Kahlon is known for his support for egalitarian economics and for issues affecting the middle class, although he also maintains a strong working-class appeal. As communications minister, he earned popularity by taking on Israel's wireless cartel and forcing them to lower mobile phone prices by introducing new competitors.NEWS,weblink Ex-Netanyahu ally looks to be Israeli kingmaker, Aron Heller, Associated Press, 3 December 2014, 27 January 2015, His platform aims to break up business monopoliesNEWS,weblink Israel elections 101: Can country risk another fragile coalition?, Joshua Mitnick, Christian Science Monitor, 19 February 2015, and lower the high cost of living.NEWS,weblink Israel's election a referendum on Netanyahu, Dan Perry, Associated Press, 4 December 2014, 27 January 2015, Traditionally known for a hard line on security matters, Kahlon has in more recent times suggested support for territorial compromise for a two-state solution. He has said he is "a product of the Likud", but that his "worldview is center, slightly leaning to the right".NEWS, Moran Azulay,weblink Moshe Kahlon unites faction under 'togetherness' banner, Ynetnews, 10 December 2014, 27 January 2015, Within the Likud, he was known to be socially liberal. Ari Shavit wrote in January 2015 that Kulanu had the potential to be the true successor to the national liberalism of Ze'ev Jabotinsky and Menachem Begin.NEWS,weblink Longing for Likud, Ari Shavit, Haaretz, 1 January 2015, It is not clear with which political bloc his party is naturally allied.NEWS,weblink Two Israeli parties join forces against Netanyahu, Associated Press, 10 December 2014, 27 January 2015, Kahlon considers himself a long-standing member of both Israel's "national camp" and its "social camp". While campaigning in 2015, he would not say whether the party would endorse Benjamin Netanyahu or Isaac Herzog for prime minister, although Galant, placed second on the party's list, suggested it would prefer Herzog.NEWS,weblink Kahlon: Government has failed, should ‘clear the way’, Itamar Sharon, The Times of Israel, 13 March 2015, NEWS,weblink Kahlon says he, not Galant, will decide on Liberman alliance, Niv Elis, The Jerusalem Post, 11 March 2015,

The Jewish Home

{{clear}}{| style="float: right; margin: 0 0 0.5em 1em; clear:left; width:310px;" class="toccolours" The Jewish Home leadership election style="text-align:center;" '''Naftali Bennett > Or''' style="text-align:center;" 90% style="text-align:center; width:50%;" | 10% '''Full Jewish Home list for Israeli legislative election, 2015'''HTTP://WWW.ISRAELNATIONALNEWS.COM/NEWS/NEWS.ASPX/190055#.VLLG5IYGMXGWORK=ISRAEL NATIONAL NEWS, 16 January 2015, {| style="width:100%; font-size: 8pt" 1 Naftali Bennett 2 Uri Ariel| 3| Ayelet Shaked| 4| Eli Ben-Dahan| 5| Nissan Slomiansky| 6| Yinon Magal| 7| Moti Yogev| 8| Bezalel Smotrich| 9| Shuli Mualem| 10| Avi Wortzman| 11| Nir Orbach| 12| Avichai Rontzki| 13| Orit Strook| 14| Anat Roth| 15| Ronen Shoval| 16| Avihai Boaron| 17| Nahi Eyal| 18| Moshe Solomon| 19| Yehudit Shilat| 20| Sarah EliashThe Jewish Home held its primary elections on 14 January 2015.WEB,weblink Jewish Home Party Primaries Under Threat?, Israel National News, 13 January 2015, 13 January 2015, It has agreed to a vote-sharing agreement with Likud. Tkuma has candidates on the same list as the Jewish Home for the election. It held its primaries on 11 January 2015. Its Knesset members will be placed on the 2nd, 8th, 13th and 17th slots in the joint list.WEB,weblink Smotrich, Struk and Kalfa Elected to Tekuma's Knesset List, Israel National News, 12 January 2015, NEWS,weblink Jewish Home faction Tekumah selects Knesset candidates, Lewis, Avi, The Times of Israel, 12 January 2015, 12 January 2015, Rabbi Shimon Or competed against incumbent party leader Naftali Bennett in 14 January leadership elections.WEB,weblink בנט: "מתקרב היום שאנחנו ננהיג את המדינה", NRG, Minister Uri Orbach was placed 6th in the list, but he died on 16 February 2015.Ex-Jewish Home minister Uri Orbach dies at 54 Times of Israel, 16 February 2015

Platform

The Jewish Home is "the only incumbent party in Israel that opposes any type of Palestinian state west of the Jordan River", as well as a one-state solution, which it sees as "infeasible and dangerous". The party instead supports annexing Area C, and giving Area A and B self-governing autonomy.The party's economic platform is "committed to increasing competition, breaking up monopolies, and cutting taxes to the middle class whenever possible, because the party believes the government must encourage new ventures by maintaining a business-friendly climate through favorable economic policies and cutting red tape". The party also supports doubling the incentive package given to small businesses, allowing them to borrow up to 85 percent of set-up costs.{{Clear}}

Yisrael Beiteinu

{| style="float: right; margin: 0 0 0.5em 1em; clear:left; width:310px;" class="toccolours" '''Full Yisrael Beiteinu list for Israeli legislative election, 2015'''HTTP://WWW.ISRAELELECTION2015.ORG/CANDIDATES#ISRAELBEITEINULISTWORK=J STREET, {| style="width:100%; font-size: 8pt" 1 Avigdor Lieberman 2 Orly Levi-Abekasis| 3| Sofa Landver| 4| Ilan Shohat| 5| Sharon Gal| 6| Hamad Amar| 7| Robert Ilatov| 8| Oded Forer| 9| Yulia Malinovsky| 10Alex Miller (Israeli politician)>Alex Miller| 11| Shimon Ohayon| 12| Leon LitinetskiYisrael Beiteinu, who ran in the 2013 elections on a joint party list with Likud, split from the party in July 2014, with analysts suggesting that it was due to policy disagreements between Prime Minister Netanyahu and Yisrael Beitenu leader Avigdor Lieberman, specifically regarding the 2014 kidnapping and murder of Israeli teenagers and the ensuing conflict in Gaza.WEB, Butnick, Stephanie, Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu to Split From Likud,weblink Tablet Magazine, 20 January 2015, The party's poll numbers stayed relatively steady after the split from Likud, but began to slide in early 2015.

Platform

Party leader Avigdor Liberman has publicized his own plan for peace with the Palestinians. The Lieberman Plan is controversial due to its plan for massive population exchanges between Jews and Arabs.On economic issues, the party pledged a 90% mortgage for the purchase of a first apartment for couples in which both partners work, and served in the army or did national service. Additionally, they suggest that the state should provide after-school activities until 5 p.m. for children aged from six months to six years.The party would also ran on a platform that included death sentences for terrorists; in July of the same year a bill was proposed, and sponsored by one of the party's members, to allow a majority of presiding judges to sentence a terrorist to death. By a vote of 94–6 the bill was rejected in its first reading.WEB, Knesset votes down death penalty for terrorists 94-6,weblink The Jerusalem Post, 16 July 2015, The United Torah Judaism listWEB">

UNITED TORAH JUDAISM{, Bernstein>first1=Benjaminurl=http://israelections.com/2015/01/29/yahadut-hatorah-list-announced/accessdate=30 January 2015, {| style="width:100%; font-size: 8pt" 1 Yaakov Litzman 2 Moshe Gafni| 3| Meir Porush| 4| Uri Maklev| 5| Eliezer Moses| 6| Yisrael Eichler| 7| Ya'akov Asher| 8| Eliezer Sorotzkin| 9| Shlomo TeitelUnited Torah Judaism, or Yehadut HaTorah, is an alliance between:

Platform

As a party that caters to Israel's large Haredi and Hasidic community, the party's platform reflects this.On foreign policy, "the party's guiding principle is that the Land of Israel was given to the Jewish people by God, and belongs to them forever". When faced with practical questions on the conflict, leading rabbis will also consider pikuach nefesh, the Jewish legalistic principle of saving life taking priority over all else. At heart, the party is "committed to true peace in the Middle East, and putting an end to the bloodshed".The party "demands a solution to the Haredi housing shortage, and will work to change housing policies to enable young couples to comfortably purchase or rent a suitable home". Additionally, the party "insists that state land be allocated free of charge to those eligible for state housing, and will work to construct a program to populate these units with homeless from the Haredi community". On other social issues, the party also wishes to educate Israelis in Jewish values regarding economic stability and managing family economics. The party's economic policy advocates a focus on the private sector, and decreasing government involvement in the economy. The Shas list">

Shas{| style"float: right; margin: 0 0 0.5em 1em; clear:left; width:310px;" class"toccolours" The Shas list

{| style="width:100%; font-size: 8pt" 1 Aryeh Deri 2 Yitzhak Cohen| 3| Meshulam Nahari| 4| Yaakov Margi| 5| David Azoulay| 6| Yoav Ben Tzur| 7| Yitzhak Vaknin| 8| Avraham Michaeli| 9| Haim Biton| 10| Yigal Guetta| 11| Michael Malchieli| 12| Rafi BaranesOne of the fiercest rivalries in this campaign has been competition among several different parties for the votes of Sephardic Haredi Jews. Historically, Shas, a Sephardic Haredi party founded by Sephardic Chief Rabbi Ovadia Yosef has been the key party among Haredi Sephardic and Mizrahi populations. In 1999, Shas leader Aryeh Deri was convicted of taking $155,000 in bribes while serving as Interior Minister, and given a three-year jail sentence. In 2000, he was replaced by Eli Yishai.NEWS, In a Divided Israel, Thousands Rally for the Ex-Shas Party Leader as He Goes to Jail,weblink Deborah, Sontag, 4 September 2000, The New York Times, 29 January 2015, NEWS, Israeli political leader goes to jail after emotional send-off,weblink Kessel, Jerrold, 3 September 2000, CNN, 10 October 2007, dead,weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20050327141431weblink">weblink 27 March 2005, Yishai led the party for over ten years after Deri's imprisonment, leading the party through Knesset elections until 2013. Deri was released from prison for good behavior in 2002, and remained a popular figure within his constituency.Between 2011 and 2014, several events occurred that created rifts in the party. In 2011, after years out of the political spotlight, Deri announced an interest in returning to politics. After Aryeh Deri announced his return to politics, and following a series of highly publicised events that led to an increase in the tensions between the Haredi public and the non-Haredi public, Shas's popularity began to falter, according to most polls. As a result, Shas chairman Eli Yishai requested that Aryeh Deri join the party, instead of establishing an independent party.NEWS, he:אלי ישי: "ש"ס היא ביתו הטבעי של אריה דרעי, קורא לו לחזור",weblink 9 January 2012, 26 October 2012, Hebrew, Shas spiritual leader Ovadia Yosef offered Aryeh Deri the 3rd position on the party list, but Deri rejected it at first, and was believed to want to lead the party, start his own party (which according to polls might win as many as 7 seats), or not participate in the election at all.WEB,weblink Deri Rejects Rav Ovadia's Offer for #3 Slot, 29 January 2015, 29 April 2012, Arutz Sheva, On 16 October, a compromise was reached: Shas would not have a formal chairman, but would instead be jointly led by Deri, Yishai, and Housing and Construction Minister Ariel Atias.NEWS,weblink As Israeli elections near, Shas party seals deal on joint leadership, Yair, Ettinger, Haaretz, 17 October 2012, 21 October 2012, In May 2013, some months after internal rift following Deri's political comeback, Yishai was ousted and Deri was once again renamed as the leader of the Shas party.WEB,weblink Aryeh Deri restored as Shas leader, Eli Yishai is out, Israel Hayom, 3 May 2013, Ovadia Yosef, the Sephardi sage and Shas spiritual leader, said regarding his decision to oust Yishai: "It was a deposit that he held, and now, he can redeem it." Yosef also said he had told Deri at the time of his imprisonment that the position of party leader would be returned to him.NEWS, Kalman, Aaron,weblink I promised Deri he'd return to lead party, Shas rabbi says, The Times of Israel, 5 May 2013, 7 July 2013, 2013 also marked the death of Ovadia Yosef, the party's spiritual leader.In 2014, Yishai created a new party, called Yachad. On 28 December 2014, a recording was released of Rabbi Yosef, condemning Deri and supporting Yishai in 2008, years before Deri's return to politics.WEB, Soffer, Ari, Explosive Tape Shows Rabbi Yosef Slamming 'Evil' Aryeh Deri,weblink Arutz Sheva, 29 December 2014, In response to these recordings, Deri tendered his resignation to the party leadership, which they rejected.NEWS, Ettinger, Yair, Shas rabbis reject Aryeh Deri's resignation request,weblink 29 December 2014, Haaretz, There were also protests and threats to boycott the election from some Haredi women, upset with the fact that the Haredi parties do not allow women on the ballot.At the end of the campaign, Yishai sent an open letter to Deri, "calling for peace and unity between the two parties for Election Day and in the coming Knesset, in order to defeat evil decrees against the Torah and against the working class".WEB, Sharon, Jeremy, Eli Yishai calls for peace with Deri, Shas leader dismisses plea,weblink Jerusalem Post, 16 March 2015, "Deri dismissed Yishai's missive as hypocritical, and said that he had pleaded for co-operation from Yishai before he quit Shas, but to no avail".

Platform

The party's platform on the peace process is simple. Aryeh Deri has suggested that "there is currently no negotiating partner on the Palestinian side; so, the basis of the next government should be socio-economic". On that subject, Shas' economic plan calls for an increase in the minimum wage to NIS 30 an hour, lowering the value-added tax on basic household items, and requiring 7.5% of every building plan to be devoted to public housing. Shas insist that their housing plan creates Mixed-income housing, rather than segregating rich and poor neighborhoods. The Meretz list">

Meretz{| style"float: right; margin: 0 0 0.5em 1em; clear:left; width:310px;" class"toccolours" The Meretz list

{| style="width:100%; font-size: 8pt" 1 Zehava Gal-On 2 Ilan Gilon| 3| Issawi Frej| 4| Michal Rozin| 5| Tamar Zandberg| 6| Mossi Raz| 7| Gabi Lasky| 8| Avi Dabush| 9| Avshalom Vilan| 10| Uri ZakiMeretz held its primaries on 19 January 2015 at a meeting of its 1,000-member central committee in the Tel Aviv Fairgrounds. Leader Zehava Gal-On was re-elected as head of the party, whilst MK Nitzan Horowitz chose not to stand.WEB,weblink Meretz primary puts incumbent MKs on top of Knesset slate, Haaretz, 26 January 2015,

Platform

Meretz remains the most vocal party within the Israeli peace camp. Leader Zehava Gal-On said that any solution must be based on two states for two peoples, with a border based on pre-1967 lines with agreed-upon land swaps, and include an end to the conflict through a regional solution hinged on the Arab Peace Plan. The party sees UN recognition of a Palestinian state as a pathway toward negotiations, and calls for the following immediate steps to be taken: Stopping settlement construction, paying Israeli residents of the West Bank to leave willingly, and removing the naval blockade on the Gaza Strip in a gradual and co-ordinated way.Meretz is also one of the more left-wing parties in terms of economic policy. The party seeks to create a welfare state with broad-reaching social services that are effectively regulated and monitored. It calls for more support for workers and organized labor, rather than the rich, equalizing society through tax reform, and reducing spending in areas such as settlements and the security budget. The Yachad listYachad electoral list Central Elections Committee">

Yachad and Otzma Yehudit{| style"float: right; margin: 0 0 0.5em 1em; clear:left; width:310px;" class"toccolours" The Yachad listYachad electoral list Central Elections Committee

{| style="width:100%; font-size: 8pt" 1|Eli Yishai 2|Yoni Chetboun| 3| Michael Ayash| 4| Baruch Marzel| 5| Sason Treblesi| 6| Amital Bar-Eli| 7| Dudi Shwamenfeld| 8| Ya'akov YakirFormer Shas MK Eli Yishai unveiled Yachad on 15 December 2014.WEB,weblink Ex-Shas MK Yishai called ‘traitor’ as he unveils new party, Times of Israel, 15 December 2014, The Otzma LeYisrael party, which failed to cross the electoral threshold in the 2013 elections, was rebranded as the Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Strength) party. The leaders of the party announced that they would consider running with breakaway groups from Shas and the Jewish Home, but not with the Jewish Home itself, because they viewed Naftali Bennett as "insufficiently right-wing".WEB,weblink Far-right Jewish Strength party to run for Knesset, Jerusalem Post, 14 December 2014, The two parties came to an agreement on a joint electoral list,WEB,weblink Yishai's List Finalizes - With Marzel, But Not Ben-Ari, 29 January 2015, 29 January 2015, Arutz Sheva, running under the Yachad name.

Platform

Party chairman Eli Yishai told Jeremy Sharon of The Jerusalem Post that he was against giving away any territory from the Land of Israel, and would not agree to any future settlement freeze. The party's economic policy focussed primarily on bridging the gap between rich and poor. Due to Yishai's support within the Haredi community, the party opposed economic sanctions against haredi draft-dodgers.

Other participating parties

The Ale Yarok (Green Leaf) party, which supports legalizing marijuana, said that anyone who donated to them would receive marijuana if and when the plant was legalized in Israel. As a result, the party raised over NIS 100,000 as of 13 January. Green Leaf has never won parliamentary seats before; however, there are enough cannabis smokers in Israel that if even a quarter of them vote for Ale Yarok, the party will have a good chance of winning seats.WEB,weblink Israel's Green Leaf party offers weed for campaign donations, Jerusalem Post, 13 January 2015, In January, a political party led by Haredi women declared its intention to run in the upcoming elections, a first in the Israeli political system.WEB,weblink 20 January 2015, Historical first: Haredi women’s party formed, 19 January 2015, Israel Elections, The party, which is called U'Bizchutan ("And By Their [female] Merit"), includes Ruth Korian and Noah Erez on its list.WEB,weblink ובזכותן - חרדיות עושות שינוי, Central Elections Committee, 1 February 2015, Party leader Ruth Korian asked for protection from the government after she said her 10-year-old daughter was pulled out of class and questioned about party activities.NEWS, Pirates, potheads and pageantry: Parties submit lists for election,weblink Jerusalem Post, 28 January 2015, The "We Are All Friends Na Nach" party, representing Breslover Hasidim, is also running. Because the name of the party in Hebrew is "Kulanu Haverim Na Nach", they objected to the use of the first word by Moshe Kahlon's Kulanu party. Ultimately, however, both parties were allowed to use the name.The Greens party renamed itself this election as the "Greens Don't Give A Fuck" party.NEWS, 26 parties submit final lists for election,weblink Jerusalem Post, 30 January 2015, Other parties running again after failing to cross the threshold in the previous election are the Pirate Party, Or, HaTikva LeShinui ("The Hope for Change"), and the Economy Party headed by the Goldstein brothers. Atid Ehad ran under the name "Protecting Our Children – Stop Feeding Them Porn". Though it submitted a list to the Central Elections Committee,WEB,weblink רשימות המועמדים לכנסת, Central Elections Committee, 1 February 2015, the party decided to drop out of the elections and throw its support behind The Jewish Home when it determined based on polls that it would receive fewer than 30,000 votes.NEWS, יו"ר מפלגת "מגינים על ילדינו" מסיר את מועמדותו ותומך בבית היהודי,weblink ערוץ 7, 11 March 2015, Former United Arab List MK Taleb el-Sana founded a party called "The Arab List" after not receiving a slot on the Arab parties' Joint List. An alliance of the Arab National Party headed by Muhamad Kanan and the Arab Democratic Party headed by el-Sana, the party submitted a list to the Central Elections Committee, with Kanan in the top spot and not including el-Sana,Arab List list Central Elections Committee but decided to drop out of the elections only one week before the polls.NEWS, המפלגה הערבית הדמוקרטית פרשה מהמירוץ לכנסת,weblink ערוץ 7, 10 March 2015, However, its ballot papers still appeared in voting booths.Other parties running for the first time in this election were Democratura, Manhigut Hevratit ("Social Leadership") headed by former Moreshet Avot head Ilan Meshicha, Nivheret Ha'Am HaZmanit ("The Temporary National Team") headed by former Brit Olam founder Ofer Lifschitz, Schirut BeKavod ("Making a Living With Honor"), and Perach ("Flower").

Non-participating parties

Kadima

After polls showed that Kadima would be unable to win any seats in 2015 if it competed on its own, there were reports that the Zionist Union was considering adding it to its ticket by reserving the 11th spot for Kadima leader Shaul Mofaz.WEB,weblink Israel election updates/ Lieberman: Islamic Movement's northern branch should be outlawed, 8 January 2015, Haaretz, However, Mofaz rejected these rumors, stating he had no intention of joining the alliance,WEB,weblink Mofaz won’t join Labor, Yadlin a strong possibilty (sic), 19 January 2015, 19 January 2015, and announced that he was retiring from politics in January 2015. He was replaced as party leader by Akram Hasson, the first time a Druze Israeli had led a Jewish party.WEB,weblink Mofaz Resigns from Politics, Arutz Sheva, 28 January 2015, His leadership of the party was short-lived, however, as Hasson shortly quit the party to join the Kulanu list,WEB,weblink Mofaz: My Biggest Mistake Was Joining Netanyahu's Coalition, Israel National News, 1 February 2015, receiving the 12th slot. Without either of its current MKs, Kadima did not run in the election.

Opinion polls

Results

The elections resulted in a record number of women (29) being elected to the Knesset.NEWS, Hartman, Ben, Final Knesset tally bumps female MKs up to 29,weblink 22 March 2015, Jerusalem Post, 20 March 2015, {| class=wikitable style=text-align:right!colspan=6|(File:Israel Knesset 2015.svg|300px)!colspan=2|Party!Votes!%!Seats!+/–Likud985,40823.4030+12Zionist Union786,31318.6724+3Joint List446,58310.6113+2Yesh Atid371,6028.8211–8Kulanu315,3607.4910NewThe Jewish Home283,9106.748–4Shas241,6135.747–4Yisrael Beiteinu214,9065.106–7United Torah Judaism210,1434.996–1Meretz165,5293.935–1!colspan=6|Yachad (political party)>|NewAle Yarok47,1801.1200Arab List (Arab National Party-Arab Democratic Party (Israel))>|NewThe Greens (Israel)>|0We Are All Friends Na Nach2,4930.0600U'Bizchutan1,8020.040NewHope for Change1,3850.0300Pirate Party of Israel8950.0200Flower Party8230.020NewBrit Olam7610.0200Or (political party)>|0Living with Dignity4230.0100Economy Party3370.0100Democratura2420.010NewMoreshet Avot>|0Invalid/blank votes43,854–––Total4,254,738100120–Registered voters/turnout5,881,69672.34––Source: weblink" title="web.archive.org/web/20150318200737weblink">CEC

Aftermath

Analysis

Although Likud won a plurality of 30 seats, the election did not result in a rightward drift, as much of Likud's success came at the expense of more nationalist parties. In fact, by some counts (particularly if the centrist Kulanu is considered aligned with the left-leaning bloc), the left picked up seats.Jodi Rudoren Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likely Next Steps (Q&A), New York Times (23 March 2015) Bernard Avishai called it a "compromised victory" for Likud, using David Horovitz's terminology to point out that Netanyahu had "desperately cannibalized" other parties in his ideological camp.Bernard Avishai, Netanyahu's Compromised Victory, New Yorker, 18 March 2015David Horovitz, King Bibi and his divided people, Times of Israel, 18 March 2015 Nevertheless, Likud's lead put Netanyahu in a comfortable position to attract potential partners, including nationalist and religious parties, into a coalition with less ideological divisions than his last government, given the unlikely return of the center-left Yesh Atid and Hatnuah factions to the coalition, the departure of many extremists within Likud, and the diminished size of other right-wing parties.Jodi Rudoren, Win in Israel Sets Netanyahu on Path to Rebuild and Redefine Government, New York Times (18 March 2015)Jeremy Ashkenas, In Netanyahu’s Next Knesset, a More Compatible Coalition, New York Times, 19 March 2015 The 20th Knesset will also see fewer settlers (and supporters of settlements outside the major blocs), fewer Orthodox lawmakers, a record number of women, more supporters of progressive streams of Judaism, and more Arabs.Judy Maltz, More women and Arabs, fewer Orthodox in next Knesset, Haaretz, 18 March 2015Judy Maltz, Among new Knesset faces, some staunch advocates of Jewish pluralism, Haaretz, 25 March 2015Despite his electoral victory, coalition building proved very difficult for Netanyahu.Aron Heller, Despite victory, Israeli leader struggling to form coalition, Associated Press, 19 April 2015

Reactions

Two days after the election, U.S. President Barack Obama called Netanyahu to congratulate him on his victory.The Associated Press (19 March 2015) - "Benjamin Netanyahu Receives Congratulatory Call From Barack Obama". CBC News. Retrieved 20 March 2015. During the call, Obama said that the United States would "re-assess" aspects of its relationship with Israel.Diamond, Jeremy (20 March 2015) - "Obama to 'Reassess' Israel Relationship". CNN. Retrieved 20 March 2015.Spetalnick, Matt (19 March 2015) - "Obama Tells Netanyahu U.S. to 'Reassess' Policy On Israel, Mideast Diplomacy". Reuters. Retrieved 20 March 2015. This came after Netanyahu said some controversial statements about the two-state solution during his re-election campaign.Rudoren, Jodi & Shear, Michael (19 March 2015) - "Israel's Netanyahu Re-Opens Door to Palestinian State, But White House Is Unimpressed". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 March 2015. A possible effect of the election has been described as the worsening of an already "poisonous" relationship between Obama and Netanyahu.Cooper, Helene & Shear, Michael (18 March 2015) - "Obama May Find It Impossible to Mend Frayed Ties to Netanyahu". The New York Times. Retrieved 20 March 2015.Dan Perry (18 March 2015), [AP ANALYSIS: Israel likely headed toward conflict, isolation], Associated Press According to Jeffrey Goldberg, American Jewish leaders were "uniformly, and deeply, anxious" about Israel's future in the wake of the victory by Netanyahu,Jeffrey Goldberg: PM has 'weeks' to prove he supports two-state solution, Times of Israel (21 March 2015) whose election tactics also put off many American Jews and pro-Israel groups.Laurie Goodstein, Netanyahu Tactics Anger Many U.S. Jews, Deepening a Divide, New York Times (20 March 2015Rachel Zoll, Post-election, a widening US Jewish split over Israel Associated Press (19 March 2015)Debra Nussbaum Cohen, Netanyahu election may increase American Jewish alienation from Israel, leaders here warn, Haaretz (20 March 2015)Many prominent Palestinians rejoiced at the news, believing it would give them increased legitimacy and Israel decreased credibility in the international arena and among its own allies.Diaa Hadid, Palestinian Leaders See Validation of Their Statehood Effort, New York Times (18 March 2015)Yousef Munayyer, Netanyahu’s Win Is Good for Palestine New York Times (18 March 2015)Christa Case Bryant, For Palestinians, a silver lining in Netanyahu's remarks on statehood (+video), Christian Science Monitor (19 March 2015) Similarly, Thomas Friedman observed: "From Iran's point of view, it makes fantastic TV on Al Jazeera, and all the European networks; it undermines Israel's legitimacy with the young generation on college campuses around the globe; and it keeps the whole world much more focused on Israeli civil rights abuses against Palestinians, rather than the massive civil rights abuses perpetrated by the Iranian regime against its own people. It is stunning how much Bibi's actions serve Tehran's strategic interests."Thomas L. Friedman, Netanyahu Will Make History, New York Times (18 March 2015)Iran's foreign ministry said on Wednesday it saw no difference between Israel's political parties, and called them all aggressors. Iran's foreign ministry spokeswoman Marizeh Afkham told reporters at a weekly news conference in Tehran: "For us, there is no difference between the Zionist regime's political parties. They are all aggressors in nature."WEB, Mehr,weblink Iran says no difference between Israeli parties, all aggressors: Mehr - Yahoo News, News.yahoo.com, 18 March 2015, 31 March 2015, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulated Prime Minister Netanyahu following the Likud party's success in the elections, in a post on Modi's Twitter account reading, "Mazel tov, my friend Bibi @Netanyahu..."WEB,weblink Indian PM Modi congratulates Benjamin Netanyahu in Hebrew - Israel Elections - Jerusalem Post, Jpost.com, 18 March 2015, 31 March 2015, British Prime Minister David Cameron congratulated Benjamin Netanyahu on his Likud Party's success in the Israeli elections. In a message on Twitter, Mr. Cameron said: "Congratulations to Netanyahu on election result. As one of Israel's firmest friends, UK looks forward to working with new government."WEB,weblink Cameron congratulates netanyahu | Daily Mail Online, Dailymail.co.uk, 18 March 2015, 31 March 2015, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper also tweeted congratulations: "I congratulate PM Netanyahu on his election results. We look fwd to working w/ the gov't once formed. Israel has no greater friend than Cda."WEB,weblink Stephen Harper on Twitter: "I congratulate PM Netanyahu on his election results. We look fwd to working w/ the gov't once formed. Israel has no greater friend than Cda.", Twitter.com, 18 March 2015, 31 March 2015,

Government formation

Following the elections, the leaders of parties with seats in the Knesset gave their suggestions to President Reuven Rivlin as to which party leader should be given the task of forming a coalition. Kulanu, the Jewish Home, Yisrael Beiteinu, Shas and United Torah Judaism all joined the Likud in suggesting the incumbent Prime Minister Netanyahu, giving him the support of 67 of the 120 seats. The Zionist Union and Meretz both suggested Zionist Union leader Isaac Herzog, giving him a total of 29 seats. Yesh Atid and the Joint List both chose to abstain and not suggest any party leader.WEB,weblink Rivlin to task Netanyahu with forming coalition after PM wins 67 recommendations, Greer Fay Cashman, JPost.com Staff, The Jerusalem Post, These suggestions do not define who will, and will not, end up in a coalition: In Israel's 2013 election, Hatnuah did not suggest Netanyahu and joined his government, while the ultra-Orthodox parties Shas and United Torah Judaism both suggested Netanyahu, but did not join his coalition.{|class="wikitable"|+!Party!Party Leader!Seats!Recommended|Likud|Benjamin Netanyahu|30|Benjamin Netanyahu|Zionist Union|Isaac Herzog|24|Isaac Herzog|Joint List|Ayman Odeh|13|No one|Yesh Atid|Yair Lapid|11|No one|Kulanu|Moshe Kahlon|10|Benjamin Netanyahu|The Jewish Home|Naftali Bennett|8|Benjamin Netanyahu|Shas|Aryeh Deri|7|Benjamin Netanyahu|Yisrael Beiteinu|Avigdor Lieberman|6|Benjamin NetanyahuUnited Torah Judaism>UTJ|Yaakov Litzman|6|Benjamin Netanyahu|Meretz|Zehava Gal-On|5|Isaac Herzog|||||||67|Benjamin Netanyahu|||29|Isaac Herzog|||24|No oneRivlin encouraged a unity government between Likud and the Zionist Union,WEB, Hoffman, Gil, Rivlin to encourage, but not force, unity government,weblink 18 March 2015, Jerusalem Post, 15 March 2015, but Isaac Herzog reiterated that unity government "never was, and never will be".WEB, Herzog denies report he met with PM for unity talks,weblink 6 May 2015, Times of Israel, 13 April 2015, Reports shortly after the election had the Kulanu party, led by Moshe Kahlon, in a decisive position to pick the next prime minister. At the time, Kulanu leader Kahlon remained open to forging a coalition with either Netanyahu or Herzog, and stated that he would make his decision "after all the votes are counted".NEWS, Zraick, Karen, Breakaway Party Leader Stays Mum on Where He’ll Throw Support After Israeli Elections,weblink 18 March 2015, 17 March 2015, New York Times, On 25 March, President Reuven Rivlin tasked Netanyahu to form a new government. As there were no coalition partners in place on 20 April, Rivlin granted Netanyahu a two-week extension, until 6 May, to form his coalition.Josef Federman, Israeli leader gets 2-week extension to form coalition Associated Press, 20 April 2015Avigdor Lieberman, the outgoing foreign minister, announced shortly before the 6 May deadline that his Yisrael Beiteinu party would not join a coalition with the Likud.Jodi Rudoren, Israeli Foreign Minister Says He Won’t Join Netanyahu’s New Government New York Times, 4 May 2015. Consequently, Netanyahu and his Likud party formed a narrow coalition government including The Jewish Home, United Torah Judaism, Kulanu, and Shas. This coalition commands a bare majority of 61 seats in the 120-seat Knesset. No candidate was announced to lead the Foreign Ministry. It was believed that Netanyahu was still trying to lure Herzog to lead the post, but Herzog rejected the idea.Jodi Rudoren, Netanyahu Forms an Israeli Government, With Minutes to Spare, New York Times, 6 May 2015 Due to the makeup of the coalition and its slim majority, analysts did not expect the government to last long or achieve much.Josef Federman, Israel's Netanyahu completes formation of government, AP, 6 May 2015As required by Israel's (Basic Law: The Government), Netanyahu informed Rivlin that he had succeeded in forming a coalition just two hours before the deadline. The government was approved by the plenum of the Knesset on 14 May, after a stormy debate, by a vote of 61–59.

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