Israeli Elections: Likud Still Top Party, But Yesh Atid 2nd

Photo Courtesy of UN-Photo/Marco Castro

The Israeli exit polls for the national election are in, and Haaretz has republished the poll numbers from Israeli TV showing that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu joint-ticket will be the largest group again in the next Knesset (parliament). However, Netanyahu may not be able to form the coalition and remain prime minister thanks to an impressive run by the center-left Yesh Atid and Labor parties.

Yesh Atid, led by former journalist Yair Lapid, is predicted to be the second largest party in the next government. Together, Yesh Atid and Labor may outnumber Likud-Yisrael Beiteinu.

As of now, the poll data shows the Rightist bloc staying in power if the ultra-orthodox parties stay with them. However, both Shas and United Torah Judaism have served with Leftist governments before and could tilt the balance of power.

Meanwhile, it remains possible that Yesh Atid could form a centrist, quasi-secular coalition with Likud and Habayit Hayehudi.

Regardless, it appears likely the next coalition will be a narrow one and therefore politically weak.

Keep watching for more updates.

(By Joshua Spurlock, www,, January 22, 2013)