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Israel’s Election Map: Rich Vote for ‘Generals’, Middle Class for Netanyahu

Israel’s Election Map: Rich Vote for ‘Generals’, Middle Class for Netanyahu

Monday, 20 January, 2020 - 12:15
Blue & White leader Benny Gantz and Likud head Benjamin Netanyahu. AFP
Tel Aviv - Nazir Magally

A number of researchers have conducted a study on the results of the recent elections in Israel and figured out that the Israeli middle class voted for the Likud party while the rich voted for its rival Kahol Lavan or Blue and White party of Benny Gantz.

This study aimed at understanding why Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu has held the Israeli premiership more than any other ex-PM.

The study, published by Editor-in-Chief of Haaretz Newspaper Aluf Benn, revealed that “the rich vote Kahol Lavan, the middle class supports Likud and the poor are divided between the Joint List and the Haredi parties, Shas and United Torah Judaism.”

These “four tribes” prove the division within the Israeli society. Elections have highlighted the tribal division, and because the state enjoys security and political and economic stability, the strength of both major parties was boosted at the expense of the smaller parties.

“The election doesn’t revolve around the prime minister’s corruption cases, the annexation of the Jordan Valley or even on religious exclusion or secularization. All these fiercely debated topics are merely cover for a class struggle between rival tribes,” Haaretz reported.

Israel’s index issued by the country's Central Bureau of Statistics divides Israel’s 1,183 communities into 10 distinct groups, from poorest to richest, Benn noted.

The study showed that Kahol Lavan was the big winner in the top 30 percent of communities, comprised of Tel Aviv and wealthy communities mostly in Israel’s central metropolitan area. The party of Gantz, a former general, took all of the top 10 percent, 95 of 97 communities in the second-highest decile, and 242 of 270 communities in the third-highest decile in the last election.

Meanwhile, Likud did not win any community in the top two deciles, and it was placed first in just 18 communities in the eighth decile (i.e. between the top 30 percent and the top 20 percent), most of them in the so-called "periphery," and some wealthier West Bank settlements, including in the Jordan Valley.

The upper-middle-class, comprising the seventh decile, is the battleground for the two parties with a shot at the leadership.

The sixth and fifth deciles are Netanyahu’s “base,” smaller urban centers in the periphery, like Eilat, Be’er Sheva, Ashkelon and Netanya. Together with dozens of settlements and communities where the right-wing alliance and Likud ally Yamina leads, these communities keep him in power.

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