Crunching the vote

The numbers behind the results

Netanyahu won less than a quarter of the popular vote; final turnout 67.52%; over 250,000 envelopes went to waste

Aaron Kalman is a former writer and breaking news editor for the Times of Israel

The official count of Israeli votes, as of Thursday afternoon (photo credit: screen capture Government election's site)
The official count of Israeli votes, as of Thursday afternoon (photo credit: screen capture Government election's site)

Though Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is poised for a third term (his second in a row) in office after Tuesday’s vote, he was chosen by less than a quarter of Israeli voters. Yesh Atid, propelled by Yair Lapid, the telegenic news anchor-turned-politician, turned into the second-largest party with just over half a million votes.

Moreshet Avot, a party without much of an agenda, received the smallest number of votes, with 525 people expressing their trust in the almost-unknown slate.

Here are some quick election numbers that go beyond just the number of legislators each party will have, based on the Central Elections Committee website (Hebrew):

Out of all the 5,656,705 eligible voters, 67.52 percent cast their ballots in just under 10,000 voting stations throughout the country. The turnout was some 4% higher than in the previous elections.

A total of 3,818,441 votes were cast. Of those, 40,464 were disqualified. The remaining 3,777,977 votes were legal and counted by the election committee.

More than 250,000 votes were cast by people away from their local voting station, the majority of them by soldiers and the rest by Israel’s diplomatic corps, prisoners, hospital patients and sailors of the merchant navy.

The threshold needed to enter the Knesset was set at 2% of the general vote, which, in light of the number of votes cast, translated into slightly over 75,000 votes.

Twelve parties made it into the next Knesset; 20 others didn’t garner enough public support. Here’s the breakdown of the parties that will have legislators in parliament:

  • Likud-Beytenu (31 seats) received 880,972 ballots, 23.32% of the general vote.
  • Yesh Atid (19): 541,033 (14.32%)
  • Labor Party (15): 430,305 (11.39%)
  • Jewish Home (12): 344,028 (9.11%)
  • Shas (11): 330,359 (8.74%)
  • United Torah Judaism (7): 195,577 (5.18%)
  • Hatnua (6): 188,425 (4.99%)
  • Meretz (6): 171,660 (4.54%)
  • United Arab List (4): 137,983 (3.65%)
  • Hadash (4): 113,336 (3.00%)
  • Balad (3): 96,788 (2.56%)
  • Kadima (2): 79,064 (2.09%)

Over a quarter-million of Israeli voters opted for one of the 22 parties which didn’t cross the 2% threshold. Their votes — the equivalent of some nine seats — were not considered when dividing the Knesset’s seats among those parties that made it (which is why Netanyahu’s Likud-Beytenu, for example, will hold almost 26% of the seats even though only 23.32% of the public voted for it).

Two parties received more than 1% of the general vote but fell short of the threshold: Otzma Leyisrael, from the extreme right, received 1.76%, and ex-Shas MK Haim Amsalem’s Am Shalem party won 1.2%.

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