Israeli election results

*Update 2/20/09: As expected, Benjamin Netanyahu is the new Israeli Prime Minister.

The Israeli elections just finished this week. Unlike the United States' 2 party system, Israel has a fluctuating list of political parties. Parties often have to unite and form coalitions with smaller parties in order to gain a majority government. This year is no different. Here’s the run-down of the results:

The right wing won big in the election: Shas, Likud, United Torah Judaism, Yisrael Beitenu, National Union, and Jewish Home are all right-wing parties. Yisrael Beitenu is considered by some to be ultra-right; their holding of 15 seats in the Knesset is a huge win for the right.

Nonetheless, the leftist parties of Labor, Kadima, and Meretz have significant numbers. In fact, the party with the most seat wins is the center-left Kadima.

As an interesting footnote, Israel has a small but significant Arab leadership. The parties of Balad, United Arab List, and Hadash are Arab-Israeli parties that make up a portion of the Israeli government. I think this attests to the openness and democratic nature of Israeli politics. Shamefully, Balad's charismatic leader, Azmi Bishara, an intellectual Christian Israeli Arab from Nazareth, left the country while under charges for aiding Hizbullah in its fight against Israel. Sadly, the Balad party has taken a turn for the worse, and now has allied itself with Islamic elements in the Palestinian factions.

The favorite for Prime Minister this year was Benjamin “Bibi” Netanyahu, member of right-leaning Likud.


 Right-wing Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu posing with Barack Obama.

Despite the big-win for the right, and Likud’s Netanyahu being the favorite for Prime Minister, it is the center-left Kadima, the coalition party of Ariel Sharon, with a majority win, edging out Likud 28 seats to 27.

However, this does not mean Kadima will run the government.

Center-left Kadima must try to form a coalition of parties, with Tzippi Livni its the Prime Minister, in order for it to lead the government.


Center-left Kadima leader Tzippi Livni

For this to work, Kadima would need to unite both Labor and Yisrael Beitenu parties. Should that occur, center-left Kadima will be the ruling party.

By all indications, Kadima will succeed in having Labor join them, but Yisrael Beitenu, a far-right organization, will more likely back Likud.

If Yisrael Beitenu instead backs Likud as expected, then Likud will be the ruling party, with Bibi Netanyahu as its Prime Minister.

Thus, the election is now in the hands of Yisrael Beitenu party. It’s leader, Avigdor Lieberman, is now being called a “kingmaker”, as his decision to unite his party with leftist Kadima or rightist Likud will determine the future Prime Minister.


Far-right Yisrael Beitenu leader Avigdor Lieberman

Bottom line: the right won big in the Israeli elections and in all likelihood will have the right-wing Benjamin Netanyahu as its Prime Minster.

I have some family and friends-of-the-family working for Likud in Israel, so I’m pulling for Benjamin Netanyahu and his Likud party. While some of the smaller right-wing parties may be more ideal, I think Likud and Netanyahu represent an electable organization with good stances on the major issues:

  • General opposition to Palestinian statehood.
  • Greater Israel, the idea that Israel is the Promised Land, whose boundaries were defined in Scripture, and whose land was God-granted.
  • Rights of Israeli settlers in Judea and Samaria, now occupied by Arab terrorist organizations.
  • Revival of Jewish culture and Zionism in Israel.
  • Support for the Torah within the context of a civil Judaism.
  • Strongly opposed to the giving away of the Golan Heights for peace.
  • Strongly opposed to any division of Jerusalem.

Benjamin Netanyahu has also met with several Messianic groups as well as Evangelicals publicly here in the United States. His friendly stance towards Zionist, pro-Israel believers in Messiah is a welcomed one.

The next weeks will tell if Yisrael Beitenu will join Likud, making our man Benjamin Netanyahu the next Prime Minister of Israel.


  1. Hi JH

    So Bibi is friendly toward Messianic believers? I had heard this but didn't know the sources. I had also heard rumours that he was himself a believer so perhaps those were just rumours mutated from the first one?

    Interesting in hindsight to dig up this article from last year. I think I found it on israellycool or it may have even been from you JH! Can't remember who to give the hat-tip to...

  2. Yeah, he's met with and visited some large Messianic groups in the US.

    His approach seems to be one of friendliness towards all Zionists, even Messianic Jews and Christian Zionists.

    I don't think he's a believer in Messiah. I haven't seen any evidence to suggest that.

    That's an interesting article you point out. I would think Arabs would favor the center-left Livni. Hmmm. Kind of surprising.

    Unsurprisingly, Hamas doesn't care much for either Livni or Netanyahu. And that's a good thing. :-)