On April 17, the Central Elections Committee presented the final vote tally for Israel’s 21st Knesset to President Reuven Rivlin.
A few days earlier, the committee had published the election results on its website, with the number of votes for each party broken down by town and individual polling station.
The Times of Israel drilled down into the data to reveal nuggets of insight into Israeli society and its tendency to vote in demographically predictable ways, seemingly in spite of the march of current events or campaigns’ efforts to sway voters.
Here are ten insights that emerge from the detailed election results.
1) Cities where Likud earned a high percentage of the vote are significantly poorer than strongholds of Blue and White support
Nationwide, Likud, Israel’s governing right-wing party, received 26% of the vote. But there were many towns that voted for Likud in much higher proportions than that. The two towns with the highest proportion of Likud voters in 2019 were Dimona and Beit She’an, where Likud received 56% and 55% of the vote respectively. Dimona and Beit She’an are both socioeconomically disadvantaged places, according to the Central Bureau of Statistics, which regularly ranks 255 Israeli towns and cities by socioeconomic bracket or cluster on the basis of family income, the number of years of education completed by adults residents, vehicle ownership, and the number of vacations residents take abroad. The Central Bureau of Statistics ranks Dimona and Beit She’an as belonging to clusters 4 and 5 out of 10 socioeconomic clusters in Israel, with 10 being the highest.
In Jerusalem (cluster 2), where Likud earned 25% of the overall vote, the polling station with the highest percentage of Likud supporters was number 867 at Eliahu Koren Street in Har Homa, where a whopping 61% of voters chose Likud. A number of polling stations in the Katamonim neighborhood, home to a large Kurdistani Jewish immigrant community, gave Likud 56-58% of their vote. Meanwhile, in Tel Aviv, Likud did best in the working-class Hatikva and Neve Ofer neighborhoods in the city’s southeast. At polling station 766 in the Hatikva neighborhood, Likud earned 55% of the vote.
Blue and White likewise earned 26% of the vote nationwide, but its most ardent support could be found in Israel’s wealthiest towns and neighborhoods.
The large town with the highest proportion of Blue and White voters was Ramat Hasharon, where the party earned 56% of the vote. Ramat Hasharon is ranked in cluster 9 out of Israel’s ten socioeconomic clusters.
Hod Hasharon (cluster 8) gave Blue and White 54% of its votes while Binyamina (cluster 8) gave the party 51%. In fact, every single Israeli city in the top three socioeconomic clusters (8, 9 and 10) favored Blue and White over Likud.
In Jerusalem, where Blue and White received only 12% of the overall vote, Blue and White received its strongest support at a polling station at 29 Zangvil Street in the Kiryat Hayovel neighborhood, where it earned 45% of votes.
Other Blue and White strongholds in Jerusalem included the Ben Gurion school polling station in the Rehavia neighborhood as well as several polling stations in Jerusalem’s Beit Hakerem neighborhood. In these places, Blue and White earned more than 40% of votes cast.
2) In Tel Aviv, Blue and White did best in the city’s most affluent neighborhoods
At polling stations 107 and 306 in the upscale neighborhood of Tzahala, where apartments retail for well over $1 million, Blue and White received 70% of the vote. Blue and White received 69% of the vote at polling station 113 in nearby Tel Baruch, where celebrities can be spotted rubbing shoulders with high-tech entrepreneurs and directors of corporations. Blue and White earned 68% of the votes at polling station 100, which is adjacent to the high-end Sea & Sun Luxury apartment project.
One exception to the trend of wealthy towns voting Blue and White is the Druze town of Daliat el Karmel near Haifa (cluster 4), which gave Blue and White 55% of its votes.
3) Labor’s (diminished) base consists of kibbutzniks and well-heeled urbanites.
The Labor party received only 4% of the nationwide vote this year as compared to the party’s earlier iteration, the Zionist Union, which received 19% of the nationwide vote in 2015.
The localities that voted for Labor in the greatest numbers in 2019 were kibbutzim. At the very top of this list was Kibbutz Niran in the West Bank which gave Labor 54% of its vote, followed by Kibbutz Be’eri in the Negev desert at 49% and Kibbutz Tzuba in the Judean Hills with 42%. Despite these high numbers, the top three Labor-voting kibbutzim in 2015 voted for Labor in far higher proportions: Niran gave the Zionist Union 85% of its votes, followed by Kibbutz Geva in the Jezreel Valley at 81% and Kibbutz Mishmar Hasharon in central Israel at 75% .
The town with a population of over 10,000 that gave Labor the largest share of its votes in both 2015 and 2019 is Kiryat Tivon, an upper-middle class community near Haifa. In 2015, 45% of Kiryat Tivon (cluster 8) voted for the Zionist Union but in 2019 only 13% voted for Labor. Still, 13% was one of the highest proportions of votes given to Labor anywhere in the country in 2019.
Other large towns that gave Labor a relatively large share of votes in 2019 were Givatayim (10%), Binyamina (10% ) and Pardes Hana-Karkur (9%).
In Jerusalem, Labor achieved its best results at polling stations 972, 280 and 274 in the Beit Hakerem neighborhood, where the party received 16%, 15% and 14% of the vote respectively, as well as at a station on Ben Labrat street in Rehavia where the party earned 13% of votes.
In Tel Aviv, Labor did best at polling stations 111 in Ramat Aviv, where it received 19% of the vote, at polling station 612 near Rothschild Boulevard, where it received 17%, and at polling station 37 in Tel Baruch, where it received 17% of the vote.
4) The Union of Right-Wing Parties’ staunchest supporters are evacuees from Gush Katif
The Union of Right-Wing Parties, which earned 4% of the nationwide vote, made its best showing in Bnei Netzarim, where it received 90% of all votes cast. Bnei Netzarim is a moshav in southern Israel populated by former residents of the settlement of Netzarim who were evacuated in the 2005 Disengagement from Gaza.
Naveh, a moshav similarly founded by evacuees from the Gush Katif settlement of Atzmona, gave the URWP 89% of its votes. Shomria, a kibbutz in the northern Negev also populated by evacuees of Atzmona, gave the party 88%.
In the West Bank settlement of Yitzhar, the URWP received 86% of the vote.
In Jerusalem, the party got its highest levels of support (40-45 percent) at polling stations in and around the neighborhood of Kiryat Moshe, where the national religious Mercaz Harav yeshiva is located.
In addition, the party received 68% of the vote at a polling station in a music center in the Ben Hinom Valley, It received 43% of the vote at a polling station in the Jewish Quarter of the Old City.
In Tel Aviv, the party received its highest vote count at a polling station on Tzeitlin Street 24, near Rabin Square. At this polling station, the URWP received 13% of the vote. It received 8% of the vote at polling station 774 in the Shapira neighborhood.
5) The New Right did well among religious kibbutzniks and the affluent Modern Orthodox
The New Right party, which failed to pass the 3.25% threshold required to enter the Knesset, appealed to a different demographic than did the URWP. Its leaders, Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked, broke away from the Jewish Home party, the most moderate of the parties making up the URWP, in December. The New Right said it sought “full partnership” between religious and secular Israelis while parties making up the URWP alliance presented themselves as unabashedly religious.
At Rosh Tzurim, a religious kibbutz in the West Bank, 57% of voters chose the New Right. In the religious settlement of Sansana, 52% cast their votes for the party.
Mitzpe Ilan, a small religious community just inside the Green Line, gave the party 48% of its votes, while Alumim, a religious kibbutz in the Negev, gave it 47%.
Alei Zahav, a mixed religious-secular West Bank settlement, gave the party 45%, while the West Bank town of Efrat gave it 44%.
In Jerusalem, the New Right received its largest share of voters in the Rasco, Old Katamon and Baka neighborhoods, which are characterized by a Modern Orthodox population, many of whom are immigrants from Western countries. A polling station at Aharoni 14 gave the party 21% of its votes. A polling station at Hapalmach 57 gave the party 19% and a polling station at Yehuda 31 in Baka gave the party 18% of votes.
6) Marijuana legalization parties were popular in hippie settlements and Gaza border communities
Zehut, the right-wing messianic marijuana legalization party, earned 3% of votes nationwide, failing to pass the electoral threshold. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the party did well in West Bank settlements known for their hippie flavor. At polling stations 1 and 2 in Bat Ayin, Zehut received 27 and 28% of the vote. It received 21% of the vote in Mevo Modiim, a West Bank settlement founded by adherents of the late rabbi Shlomo Carlebach.
Zehut also received 21% of the vote in Kadita, an eco-village in the Galilee whose laid-back residents are regarded by the Israeli government as squatters.
In Jerusalem, Zehut received its highest percentage of votes at polling station 198 in the Nahlaot neighborhood, where it earned 12%. In Tel Aviv, it received its highest percentage of votes (6%) at polling station 620.2 in the Montefiore neighborhood.
The large towns where Zehut performed best were the West Bank towns of Ariel (7%), and Maaleh Adumim (5%), as well as the Gaza border community of Sderot (4%).
It is instructive to compare Zehut’s results with those of Aleh Yarok, a single-issue marijuana legalization party that ran for the Knesset in 2015 but failed to pass the Knesset entry threshold.
Aleh Yarok performed best in the West Bank settlement of Carmel (21% ), in the squatter eco-village of Kadita (14%) and on Kibbutz Kerem Shalom (13%), a community on the border with Gaza. The large town that gave the most votes to Aleh Yarok in 2015 was the southern beach town of Eilat, at 3%.
7) The ultra-Orthodox party United Torah Judaism and Arab Israeli party Ra’am-Balad won 99% of the vote at some polling stations.
At polling station 3 in Hatzor Haglilit, United Torah Judaism earned 99% of the vote. The same thing happened at polling station 11 in Beit Shemesh.
In the Hasidic village of Komemiyut near Kiryat Gat, the party won 95% of votes. It also performed well in the ultra-Orthodox agricultural cooperative village Yesodot, where it received 92% of the vote. UTJ also won 80% of the vote in Modiin Ilit and 61% in the ultra-Orthodox town of Bnei Brak.
Shas, the Sephardic ultra-Orthodox party, earned 17% of the vote in Modiin Ilit and 26% in Bnei Brak.
Ra’am-Balad got 99% of the vote at polling station 12 in Arara, a Bedouin town in the Negev. It also earned 96% of the vote among the Mas’udein el-Azazme Bedouin tribe in the Negev. The larger town where Ra’am-Balad did best was Sakhnin, with 60% of the vote.
The Arab Israeli party Hadash-Ta’al, for its part, got 92% of the vote at polling station number 34 in Rahat and 92% of the vote at polling station 55 in Umm el-Fahm. Nationwide, Hadash-Ta’al did best in Umm al-Fahm, where it earned 80% of the vote (Ra’am-Balad earned only 12% of the vote there). Hadash-Ta’al earned 70% of the vote in Arabba, 69% in Iksal and 69% in Kafr Yasif.
8) Meretz lost Jewish votes but picked up Arab and Druze support
Back in 2015, the localities that gave the left-wing Zionist Meretz party its highest levels of support were mostly kibbutzim, with 47% of the voters at Kibbutz Gan Shmuel choosing Meretz, while the figure at Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak was 46%, Kibbutz Harduf 45% and Kibbutz Nachshon 43%. Two tiny Arab villages also strongly supported Meretz in 2015: Nain, to the tune of 62%, and Al-Arian, where 31% of the approximately 200 voting residents chose Meretz.
In 2015, the towns, as opposed to kibbutzim, that gave Meretz its highest proportion of supporters were Tel Aviv at 13% and Kiryat Tivon at 12%.
In 2019, the data shows, Meretz lost many Jewish votes. This may have been due to the fact that the Blue and White party actively urged voters seeking to defeat Netanyahu not to vote for smaller parties on the left. Nevertheless, Meretz appears to have partially made up for this shortfall by attracting Arab and Druze support.
In 2019, the town that most strongly supported Meretz was the Druze village of Beit Jann, 65% of whose voters chose Meretz. Nain gave the party 45%, the Galilee hilltop community of Harashim gave the party 43%, the Bedouin tribe of Abu Abdun 42%, the town of Kafr Qassem 39%, Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak 39% and the Arab Israeli town of Tira 24%. Ar’ara gave Meretz 13% of its vote, Kafr Qara gave the party 10%.
Kiryat Tivon trailed behind all of these places with only 10% of the vote going to Meretz. Tel Aviv gave Meretz only 9%.
Within Tel Aviv, Meretz received its highest percentage of votes, 23%, at polling station 435, on the city’s hip Sheinkin Street, followed by 22% at polling station 37 in the upscale Tel Baruch neighborhood. Meretz received 21% of the vote at polling station 398 near the Habima Theater as well as 21% at polling station 439 in Florentin.
In Jerusalem, Meretz performed best among the few East Jerusalemites who have taken Israeli citizenship and have the right to vote. At one polling station at the Sur Baher Girls’ school in East Jerusalem, Meretz earned 30% of votes. Another polling station in the Sheikh Jarah neighborhood gave Meretz 29%. At polling station 213, in the mostly Jewish Beit Hakerem neighborhood, Meretz received 24% of the vote.
9) For Yisrael Beytenu, Druze support was down
Yisrael Beytenu received 4% of the overall vote, with its highest levels of support coming from towns and cities with large Russian-speaking populations as well as from Druze villages. However, the level of support provided by those Druze villages that voted for the party most devotedly in 2015 went down in 2019.
In 2019 the party, headed by Avigdor Liberman, received 35% of the vote in Avshalom, a community near the Gaza border populated mostly by Russian speakers. It received 21% of the vote in the Druze town of Kisra Sumei, 21% in the Druze village of Peki’in, and 18% in the Druze town of Yanuh-Jat.
By contrast, in 2015 Liberman’s party had received 41% of the vote in Kisra Sumei, 31% in Peki’in and 28% in Yanuh-Jat.
Other towns where Liberman received a lot of support this year were Nazareth Illit where he got 21% of the vote in both 2019 and 2015, Ma’alot Tarshiha where he got 17% (18% in 2015), Carmiel, where he got 16% (18% in 2015), Katzrin, where he got 16% (21% in 2015), and Ariel where he got 15% (16% in 2015).
In Jerusalem, Yisrael Beytenu performed best at polling station 488 at the Diplomat Hotel in the Arnona neighborhood, where it received 61% of the vote.
10) The more things change, the more the voting blocs stay the same
In 2015, the center-left voting bloc comprised 43% of the electorate while in 2019 it was 41%, a small discrepancy that can be explained by the fact that Arab voter turnout was significantly lower.
Similarly, in three of Israel’s major cities, Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa, the size of the two voting blocs barely changed at all from 2015 to 2019. In Jerusalem, the left/right split was 19/81 percent in 2015 and the same in 2019. In Haifa it was 50/48 in both 2015 and 2019, while in Tel Aviv the left-wing bloc grew to 67% of the electorate from 62% in 2015, possibly due to the fact that Moshe Kahlon’s center-right Kulanu party lost 5 percentage points among Tel Aviv voters, votes that may have migrated to the center-left Blue and White.
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