Why the Israel Election Results Are Not Yet Final

Baruch Gordon,

לבן ריק
לבן ריק
צילום: ערוץ 7
Baruch Gordon
Baruch Gordon founded the Arutz Sheva - IsraelNationalNews.com website in 1995 and served as manager and News Director for its English Media Department for 14 years. Today he serves as Director of Development and Public Relations for the Israel Defense Forces Preparatory Academy in Bet El and Bet El Institutions. He also directs BetElTours.com which offers countrywide tours of Israel. Baruch founded in Bet El a Smicha Program for working men, and received his smicha in 2014 from Rav Zalman Nechemia Goldberg. Baruch served in the IDF Search and Rescue Unit. Born and raised in Memphis, he was elected International President of United Synagogue Youth in high school and soon after became religious while studying at Tufts University. Baruch resides with his wife Anat, a native Israeli, in Bet El and has 7 Sabra children and even more grandchildren. ...

by Baruch Gordon 

Dear Friends,

Israeli elections are NOT over and much can change. Here’s how:

What exactly are the “soldiers’ votes” AKA “Double Envelopes?”

The 260,000 “Double Envelopes” are special votes that enable people in the IDF, Israeli Embassies, foreign missions, on-duty Knesset committees and hospitals to vote. Since most are from the IDF, they are all referred to as the “soldiers’ votes.”

When they cast their vote away from home, the ballot envelope is placed in an additional envelope with their name and Israeli ID number on the outside. Only after it is verified that they did not vote where they are registered, the envelopes are opened and counted, which all takes another day or two.

The tally of the double envelopes begins this evening in the Knesset at 7pm. Counting doesn’t take more than 5 hours and a pretty clear picture should surface late tonight. However, official results of the soldiers’ votes are expected to be announced by Thursday afternoon Israel time.

How will the soldiers’ votes influence the allocation of Knesset seats? Soldiers traditionally vote more to the right than the general public. Thus, Likud will likely gain a seat.

Feiglin's Zehut party only got 2.51% of the vote and would require 39,000 double envelope votes to pass the minimum threshold of 3.25% of total votes. Their chances are close to zero. Feiglin is out and with him about three Knesset seats worth of votes. It is estimated that 80% of his voters are from the right wing.

On the other hand, the "New Right" (Bennett-Shaked) has received 3.14% of the vote. In order to pass the threshold, they’ll only need 5% of the soldiers' votes (some 13,000) to enter the Knesset with 3-4 seats.

Now that will likely be a close call. If Bennett gets in with 3-4 seats, he’ll take a seat away from each of the parties that barely got their last Knesset seat. The following parties would likely lose a seat to Bennett:

-Gantz’s Blue and White Party
-The United Right (National Religious Party)
-The Labor party
-One of the Hareidi parties (United Torah Judaism or Shas)

On the other hand, the Arab Ra'am-Balad party needs 3,000 of the Double Envelope votes to keep above the minimum threshold. That may also be a close call.  If Ra'am-Balad does not pass the minimum threshold, they would lose all 4 seats, some of which would go to right-wing parties and likely usher in Bennett’s party. 

In sum, much can change overnight. If Bennett gets in and Ra'am-Balad loses its minimum threshold, we may wake up Thursday to a right-left ratio of 70-50 Knesset seats. It’s all very close. As the psalmist says: בערב ילין בכי ולבקר רנה

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With love of Israel and wishes for a Pesach Sameach,
Baruch Gordon