The Hurdles Facing Israel’s Parties Ahead of Third Election in March 2020

Gantz still needs help from the left

With the dissolving of the Knesset for the third time within a year, officials at Benny Gantz’s Kahol Lavan party are more optimistic than ever. Gantz’s ratings are solid; the fear is that one or both parties to the left won’t pass the 3.25 percent electoral threshold in the March 2 vote.

Gantz’s image hasn’t eroded despite Likud’s negative campaigning; he’s improving in opinion polls and his centrist party remains the largest power in the Knesset. “We’re beginning this election campaign from a considerably better place than the previous campaigns,” a party official said.

Kahol Lavan fears a lower turnout in March but believes that Likud and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, now indicted for bribery, fraud and breach of trust, will have an even harder time bringing people to the polls.

“We’ve found that our voters are more motivated to go out and vote,” the official said, and then referred to the 120-seat Knesset. “Those who felt relief when Netanyahu failed to put together 61 supporters will go to the polls on Election Day.”

He said that Netanyahu will presumably have a lame duck image in the election campaign and that “leadership-wise, Gantz is indisputably the only alternative to Netanyahu, so there’s no reason for us to make any reckless moves.”

This week, the Kahol Lavan No. 2, Yair Lapid, took the tactical move of the election cycle: He dropped his demand for a rotating premiership between him and Gantz. After all, polls by some parties showed that tens of thousands of soft-right voters had said the Gantz-Lapid rotation agreement was keeping them from defecting.

“We’ll all be one united Kahol Lavan behind Benny Gantz,” Lapid said, adding: “I don’t feel I’m conceding, I feel like I have a great privilege.”