Although Likud-Beytenu is the clear winner of the elections, albeit by a smaller margin than Benjamin Netanyahu would have hoped for, official statistics from ballot boxes in locales around the country reflected Israel’s diverse mix, highlighting a range of opinions in different communities.
In Jerusalem it was ultra-Orthodox party United Torah Judaism that led the way, grabbing 22.04 percent of the votes. Although Likud-Beytenu came in second with 20.51%, it was another ultra-Orthodox party, Shas, that came in third with 15.56%. Yesh Atid, the newcomer that is now the second-largest party overall, only received 7% of the capital’s votes. Jewish Home, the national religious party, gained nearly 12% of the vote. Arab parties garnered less than one percent, reflecting the fact that the Arab residents of East Jerusalem have by and large declined to claim Israeli citizenship and participate in national politics.
A quite different picture was painted by the votes in Tel Aviv, Israel’s second most populous city, where Yesh Atid scored the most votes with 20.73%, a full 3% more than second-place Likud-Beytenu (17.51%). Labor came in third with just 16.83%, despite the fact that two prominent leaders of the 2011 social justice protest movement, which was born on the city’s posh Rothschild Boulevard, are on the party’s list.
Meretz, the staunchly left-wing faction, won 14.34% of the vote, while Tzipi Livni garnered 7.27%. The Green Leaf party, which hopes to legalize the use of marijuana and failed to make it into the Knesset, gained 2,846 votes, or 1.16% of the city’s eligible voters.
Israel’s third-largest city, Haifa, largely reflected national voting trends, giving its voice to Likud-Beytenu with 26.11% of the vote, Yesh Atid with 18.07%, and Labor with 15.21%.
Beersheba, the city that was a major target of Gaza rocket fire during the November 2012 Operation Pillar of Defense, showed overwhelming support for Likud-Beytenu — 37.99% of votes — despite criticism from residents at the time of an inconclusive outcome to the military confrontation. Shas was a distant second with 12.78%, followed by Jewish Home (11.7%) and Yesh Atid (11.02%).
In Modi’in, a middle-of-Israel, middle-class, middle-of-the-road community, the centrist Yesh Atid led with 27.02%, ahead of Likud with 22.53% of the vote, Labor with 15.45% and Hatnua’s 6.74%.
Across the street, in this case Route 443, the neighboring ultra-Orthodox town of Modi’in-Illit predictably threw its weight behind United Torah Judaism, which dominated with 77.04% of the vote. Shas scored 18.03%, a distant second. Three people voted for the nonreligious Meretz party and two for Hatnua.
Down south, in the Red Sea resort of Eilat, the Likud-Beytenu list had a strong showing with 30.23% of the vote, followed by Yesh Atid’s 17.78%. In this party town, Green Leaf fared better than elsewhere, gaining 2.3% — a figure that represents 445 votes.
In the Israeli Arab town of Tayibe, which lies just within the Green Line near the coastal city of Netanya, the United Arab List won 56.58% of the vote, with Hadash, an Arab-Jewish communist party, winning 22.28%. Twenty-two people — of 13,950 who voted — chose Likud-Beytenu, and 19 voters opted for for Jewish Home. Even the hard-right Otzma Leyisrael managed to win two votes.
Predictably, in West Bank settlements, Likud-Beytenu and Jewish Home dominated the vote.
In Ariel, a large town in the northern West Bank with a sizable secular population, 53.42% voted Likud-Beytenu, and 16.18% chose Jewish Home. In Efrat, a mid-sized settlement in the Gush Etzion bloc with a vibrant community of American olim, the trend was reversed, with 59.25% voting for Jewish Home, followed by Likud-Beytenu (21.95%). Here, Yesh Atid won a paltry 2.4%. Two Arab parties, Hadash and Balad, scored one vote each.