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September 15, 2022 4:20 pm

Israelis Express More Confidence in Future of Democracy; Parties Submit Final Candidate Lists

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

Workers prepare ballot boxes for the upcoming Israeli election at a central elections committee warehouse in Shoham before they are shipped to polling stations, March 25, 2019. Photo: Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90.

In the lead up to their fifth round of elections in recent years, Israelis are — surprisingly — expressing increased optimism about the future of their democracy.

A poll released in August by the Israel Democracy Institute sought to capture the national mood about the future of democratic rule in Israel, which hit a low in February, with only 29% of respondents expressing optimism. As of August that figure stood at 39%, with a steady upswing beginning in May.

In the same poll, nearly half of Israelis said they plan to vote for the same party that won their vote in the 2021 elections, while around quarter remained undecided. This segment will be courted in the coming weeks by the Israeli political parties, 40 in all, that submitted their final list of candidates for elections ahead of the Thursday night cutoff.

Israel faces new general elections in November — its fifth round in less than four years — after the tenuous, ideologically-diverse coalition helmed by then Prime Minister Naftali Bennett disbanded in June, just a year after coming to power.

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In a significant move shortly before the candidate list deadline, the Joint List, a coalition of Arab and left-wing political parties, split amid a disagreement with member party Balad over slate arrangements. Though initially seeming to resolve, the rift ultimately ruptured the alliance of major Arab parties, with Balad and Hadash-Ta’al each submitting separate candidate slates.

The move raised questions over how many mandates the parties would draw separately, and whether Balad would even cross the electoral threshold, with previous polling showing it would fail to gain the minimum number of votes — 3.25 percent — necessary to enter the Knesset.

Meanwhile, the right-wing Likud submitted a slate led by former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who called on smaller right-wing parties to join forces in a bid to avoid losing votes to smaller factions that fail to pass the threshold. Amid this pressure, the Religious Zionist party of Bezalel Smotrich, Otzma Yehudit party of Itamar Ben-Gvi, and the Noam party of Avi Moaz — all on the hard right — agreed to run together.

The Labor party’s submission of its own slate on Thursday also finally ruled out the possibility that it would run on a combined list with its fellow on the left, Meretz. The move had been proposed to reduce the likelihood of either party dipping below the electoral threshold.

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