News Nosh 02.27.15

APN's daily news review from Israel

Friday February 27, 2015

Numbers of the day:


--Percentages of votes that Zionist Camp and Likud parties received, respectively, in a poll at a bellwether high school in Israel. 

Election 2015 Polls:

With 17 days to go, the tie is over - for now - and a majority of Israelis plan to vote for the Zionist Camp in the upcoming elections, according to an average of the most recent polls. Both the Haaretz average of the last three polls and the ‘Project 61’ average of the last seven polls (conducted between 24-26 February) put Zionist Camp ahead of Likud. (Note, ‘Project 61’ looks at more polls than Haaretz.) That said, a Haaretz poll this week showed that a fifth of the voters are still undecided.
The State Comptroller’s damning housing report pushed the Likud party down in polls. In a Maariv poll taken directly after the Wednesday release of the report, Likud received 23 mandates to Zionist Camp’s 25. Some 41% saw Netanyahu as personally responsible for the mega-jump in housing prices. Nevertheless, it will be easier for Netanyahu to form a government, according to the poll.
In the personal aspect, Netanyahu has lost popularity. The Maariv poll found that 50% of the people who said previously that they wanted Netanyahu for another term, no longer do, compared to 45% from a Maariv poll last week. Moreover, more people said they would vote for Likud if it were led by resigned Likud minister Gideon Saar rather than by Netanyahu. Saar would have put Likud even with Zionist Camp at 24 mandates.

The recent polls also show the two major parties are less powerful. If at the beginning of February more people chose either Zionist Camp or Likud, the trend has turned and voters are moving elsewhere, with a sharp rise in Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party.
Yedioth ran an article this week showing how voting-age high-school students voted in different cities of Israel. Here are some of the interesting results.
Jerusalem Gilo Makif HS: 1. Likud 2. Yesh Atid 3. Yisrael Beiteinu 4. Aleh Yarok 5. Habayit Hayehudi
Tel-Aviv Ironi Gimmel HS: 1. Zionist Camp 2. Yesh Atid 3. Likud 4. Aleh Yarok 5. Meretz
Tel-Aviv Alliance HS: 1. Yesh Atid 2. Zionist Camp 3. Likud 4. Meretz
Haifa Ironi Gimmel HS: 1. Likud 2. Yisrael Beiteinu 3. Habayit Hayehudi 4. Zionist Camp 5. Yesh Atid
Haifa Leo Beck HS: 1. Yesh Atid 2. Zionist Camp 3. Habyit Hayehudi 4. Likud 5. Aleh Yarok
Haifa Chugim HS: 1. Likud 2. Yesh Atid 3. Aleh Yarok 4. Zionist Camp 3. Habayit Hayehudi
Ramat Hasharon Rottberg HS: 1. Yesh Atid 2. Zionist Camp 3. Likud 
Ramat Hasharon Alon HS: 1. Zionist Camp 2. Meretz 3. Yesh Atid
Ramat Gan 1. Zionist Camp 2. Yesh Atid 3. Likud 4. Habayit Hayehudi 5. Meretz
Beersheva Makif Vav HS: 1. Likud 2. Yesh Atid 3. Yisrael Beiteinu 4. Habayit Hayehudi 5. Zionist Camp
Beersheva Eshel Hanasi HS: 1. Zionist Camp 2. Habayit Hayehudi 3. Likud 4. Kulanu
Beersheva Makif Zayin HS: 1. Likud 2. Habayit Hayehudi 3. Yesh Atid 4. Aleh Yarok
Rishon L’Tzion Makif Tet HS: 1. Zionist Camp 2. Yisrael Beiteinu 3. Likud 
Petach Tikva Golda Meir HS: 1. Yesh Atid 2. Likud 3. Yisrael Beiteinu
Yehud Makif HS: 1. Yesh Atid 2. Habayit Hayehudi 3. Zionist Camp 4. Likud.
Tzfat/Safed Begin multi-discipline HS: 1. Yisrael Beiteinu 2. Likud 3. Habayit Hayehudi 4. Kulanu
Akko/Acre Kiryit Hinuch (Jewish) HS: 1. Habayit Hayehudi 2. Likud 3. Shas 4. Zionist Camp
Akko/Acre Or Dreski and Ort Hilmi Shaafi (Jewish and Arab) HS: 1. Joint Arab List 2. Yisrael Beiteinu 3. Yesh Atid

**Noteworthy, was the Zionist Camp's landslide in a mock election conducted Sunday at a Ramat Gan’s Blich High School, where it received 32% of the votes. Yesh Atid came in second with 28% and Likud a far third with 14%, Maariv and Ynet reported. Far-right Habayit Hayehudi received 10%, leftist Meretz got 9%, center-right Kulanu got 5% and Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's far-right Yisrael Beiteinu did not make the threshold. Blich school is regarded as an electoral bellwether after predicting the Likud's historic victory in 1977, Yitzhak Rabin's victory in 1992, and Yair Lapid's achievement in 2013 when his Yesh Atid party ran for the first time and became the second largest in the Knesset. As Yesh Atid gains ground, many are asking if it will surprise us again this elections.
It will be interesting to see what next week’s polls prophesy, following the effect of a number of things. All of the recent polls were conducted before Thursday's first-ever election TV debate on Channel 2 between the heads of all but the top two political parties. There the party heads attacked Naftali Bennett, whose Habayit Hayehudi party is fairly strong. On Sunday, the Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein will decide whether to open a criminal probe of Netanyahu, after Israel's police chief found grounds to open a police probe into financial irregularities at Netanyahu's official residence. However, the police probe will take place only after elections. Netanyahu is giving his controversial address to Congress over an Iran nuclear deal on Tuesday, and that may play in his favor.  

Ynet has a a beginner’s guide to Israel’s elections here.

Prepared for APN by Orly Halpern, independent freelance journalist based in Jerusalem.