How did Israeli Arabs vote, and how did the settlers vote?


Much has been written about what he resurgence of the "center" in the last Israeli election means. (I had an item tangentially about this earlier today.)

What I haven’t seen a lot of is what went on with the Arab vote, and with the settler vote.

Yousef Munayyer at the Palestine Center notes how critical the settler vote was to the relative success of Naftali Bennett’s "Jewish Home" party.

He also sees growth in both the Arab and settler populations as helping to squeeze the Zionist center-left, suggesting that its gains last week may be ephemeral. His conclusion: "Structurally Israeli politics is set on a high-speed course toward the right."

Munayyer wisely allows that this may change subject to a "revolutionary shake-up" but also not so wisely suggests that the chances of this happening are "slim to none." The history of this conflict is of "slim to none" chances bearing out (off the top of my head, the revival of Ariel Sharon’s career, the withdrawal from Gaza, Yasser Arafat’s return, the peace with Egypt, the assassination a prime minister, ad infinitum.)

Nonetheless, it’s an eye-opener of an analysis.

The number of eligible voters in the settlements (residents 18 and older, not including settlements in occupied Jerusalem) increased  from 127,800 in 2009 to 186,185 in 2013. That’s a 45 percent increase. The rest of the polity eligible voters increased 6.2 percent. With their consistently and significantly higher birthrates and turnout, the settler population is coming of age in larger numbers than the rest of the population and on pace to have an increased and significant impact on Israeli politics into the future.

In the Arab towns, the increase in eligible voters over their four year period was almost 16 percent.


Certain parties, like Shas and United Torah Judaism, can rely on an ethno-religious voting constituency that is fairly stable but also growing. The Jewish Home party, as demonstrated above, has grown significantly and is on pace to continue to do so due to demographics. The most flexible of the parties on Netanyahu’s side of the divide is Netanyahu’s, but it is also the largest by far. The Arab vote is also going to continue to grow, and if anything can be guaranteed, it is that they will continue to be incompatible with Zionist parties. The Zionist parties in opposition to Netanyahu consistently exclude Arabs from possible coalitions. But a steady and growing Arab voting block means the space for the Zionist non-Netanyahu vote continues to shrink. Add to this the fact that the settler vote, which is naturally allied with Netanyahu and again not reflected in this chart, is also steady and growing, significantly.

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