Likud still rules in the settlements, but got no major boost from annexation vow
2019 Knesset electionsNetanyahu promised to extend sovereignty to all settlements

Likud still rules in the settlements, but got no major boost from annexation vow

URWP falls to third, behind UTJ in vote, and New Right does only slightly better than Blue and White; Israeli voter turnout in West Bank 10% higher than national average

Jacob Magid is the settlements correspondent for The Times of Israel.

A woman votes at a polling station in the West Bank settlement of Efrat, on April 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
A woman votes at a polling station in the West Bank settlement of Efrat, on April 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)

The party that earned the most votes in the West Bank settlements in last week’s election was Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud, according to the final ballot count released on Tuesday.

Despite its partners Jewish Home and National Union’s MKs being known for aggressively promoting a pro-settler agenda, the Union of Right-Wing Parties was just the third most popular party in the West Bank, falling behind the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism party, which was able to comfortably rely on the vote of the roughly one-third of settlers who identify as Haredim.

The numbers were largely identical to those from the previous election in 2015, with Likud maintaining its status as the most popular party for the second straight race. Netanyahu’s pre-vote pledge to annex parts of the West Bank if re-elected did not appear to drastically impact his party’s performance among settlers.

Over 283,000 settlers of the 448,672 Israelis living in the West Bank were eligible to vote in last Tuesday’s elections. More than 78 percent of them voted — 10% higher than the national voter turnout — making up 4.3% of the total amount of ballots, which is roughly five seats in the Knesset.

Following Likud (23%), UTJ (18.8%) and URWP (18%), the other most popular parties were New Right (10.6%), Blue and White (8.6%), Shas (8.4%) and Zehut (4.9%). None of the remaining parties that entered the Knesset received more than 2% of Israeli settlers’ vote.

The town that cast the most votes (10,093) for Likud was the city-settlement of Ma’ale Adumim.

Blue and White was most successful in Oranit, where the community straddling the Green Line cast 2,120 for the centrist party.

Beit El was the settlement that boasted the most URWP voters, 2,005, and the New Right enjoyed its strongest numbers in the Gush Etzion settlement of Efrat, where 1,866 voters cast ballots for the party of Ayelet Shaked and Naftali Bennett, which did not cross the electoral threshold.

Two hundred and twenty-three Israelis in Ma’ale Adumim cast votes for Labor and 123 residents in Har Adar, which also straddles the Green Line, voted for Meretz. Both totals represented the highest numbers the left-wing parties received in a particular settlement beyond the Green Line.

Settlements in the Jordan Valley, which in the past voted Labor in large numbers, appeared to continue a rightward slide, with only one settlement, Niran, giving the party a plurality of votes.

Most of the other small settlements in the arid border region supported Blue and White or Likud.

The centrist Blue and White party enjoyed the most success in Netiv Hagdud and Ne’ama, two of the last communities to have held a majority of Labor Party support beyond the Green Line in the 2015 elections.

Reacting to the figures showing the high voter turnout among Israelis in the West Bank, the Yesha settlement umbrella council said, “we see again and again the commitment of the residents of Judea, Samaria and the Jordan Valley, as well as their involvement in important decisions regarding the future of the State of Israel.”

“Regardless of which party slip they chose to put in the ballot box, our residents understand the national responsibility of the vote for the Knesset,” Yesha’s statement said. “We wish success for all the new and veteran MKs and hope that we will be able to continue to work together for the people of Israel and the Land of Israel.”

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