Israeli Elections: Low Turnout Strengthens Small Parties

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Israel Channel Two now estimates final voter turnout will be 60%, which is the lowest in history for the Israeli Knesset. The previous low, according to Israel National News, was 69%. The only other time they had a turnout this low was in 2001 — but then there was only a direct vote for the Prime Minister, where people understandably believed their vote was less necessary.

This is good news for the smaller parties, because their voters are, in general, somewhat more motivated than those for the larger ones. However, Jonathan Rosenblum tells me that charedi turnout was disappointing. Indeed both Belz and Slonim came to the polls much less than usually, and apparently the Karlin-Stoliner Rebbe also didn’t recommend either way, leaving it up to the individual whether to go vote. Given the upcoming Pesach holiday, you can imagine that low priorities drop off the page quickly.

Nontheless, UTJ is likely to eke out six seats, and Shas, which polls gave 9 or 10 seats, may benefit from the low turnout.

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