Israel’s second general election of 2019 brings the country’s political parties one advantage: experience. In April, they learned — often painfully — that every vote counts, and in Tuesday’s election aren’t taking any chances. Here is how each party plans to ensure its supporters actually vote.
The Likud’s main concern is that while it enjoys considerable support, those supporters won’t necessarily go out and vote. The Likud has mapped out areas with high concentrations of Likud supporters, and representatives will go around on foot reminding people in these areas to vote. Likud ministers and Knesset members have also been assigned specific areas, where they are charged with touring polling stations and encouraging those on the fence to vote for the party. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will also run a live Facebook stream on Tuesday.
Blue and White
Blue and White has been focusing its efforts in recent days on the country’s biggest secular stronghold: Tel Aviv. Some of the heads of the party believe that pushing voter turnout in Tel Aviv to 70% will clinch the election for them. A senior party official told Israel Hayom that “70% voter turnout in Tel Aviv means another [Knesset] seat, and in an election that will be decided on a single seat, that’s critical.”
Yamina members spent the day before the election engaging in a blitz against Netanyahu and the Likud. They brought up Netanyahu’s territorial concessions, his support for the 2005 Gaza disengagement, his release of Palestinian terrorist prisoners and his bringing leftist leaders into his government.
Yamina’s leadership is focusing mainly on the religious Zionist sector, some of whom have been wavering between the traditional religious Zionist parties and the Likud.
Thousands of activists from the Labor Party and Labor youth movement will be knocking on tens of thousands of door nationwide, carrying the message that if Labor-Gesher doesn’t make it past the minimum electoral threshold, Netanyahu will have a 62-seat majority, which will ensure that he assembles the next government as well as guaranteeing him immunity from prosecution. Labor is worried that for the first time in its history the party won’t make it over the minimum threshold and will not be represented in the Knesset.
The Democratic Union is disturbed by what it is calling “the dangerous delusion of Benny Gantz,” referring to Blue and White’s calls for voters to strengthen it at the expense of the smaller left-center parties. Democratic Union candidate Ehud Barak has warned that without the smaller left-center parties, Blue and White won’t be able to marshal sufficient Knesset seats for a majority government.
“If the Democratic Union is not represented in the Knesset,” said Barak, “Netanyahu will be prime minister.”
The Democratic Union is planning a final PR campaign on social media and various media outlets, as well as by text message blitz, video clips, and even direct appeals by party candidates.
Joint Arab List
The Joint Arab List is focusing on convincing Arab Israelis to exercise their right to vote. Average voter turnout in the Arab sector is 55%, but the Joint Arab List hopes to see a repeat of the 13 seats it secured in the 20th Knesset, when the Arab sector saw voter turnout of over 65%. Party leaders are planning vigorous work in the field in the hope of encouraging as many supporters as possible to vote.
A special election headquarters will be based in Nazareth, with dozens of volunteers staffing the phones in an attempt to get out the Arab vote.
Shas’s field team is considered one of the most effective of all the parties. Shas has a detailed list of potential voters, broken down by neighborhood, building and family. Party activists are charged with responsibility for contacting a few dozen voters each, and update the party headquarters every few hours. Shas is using voter lists that proved very effective in the last round of municipal elections, and also plans to reach out to Shas voters that voted for Kulanu Party leader Moshe Kahlon in the April 9 election.
United Torah Judaism
The party has set a goal of 70%-80% voter turnout by 1 p.m. on Tuesday. Activists and volunteers will encourage its voter base. The party will operate buses to bring yeshiva students to their polling stations in Bnei Brak, Jerusalem, Modi’in Illit, Beitar Illit and elsewhere. The party also hopes to have time to try to influence the non-ultra-Orthodox sector.
The far-right Otzma Yehudit Party will use a network of hundreds of volunteer activists nationwide to try to drive voters to the polls. Local coordinators will be assigned a list of wavering voters, whom they will try to persuade to vote for the party. The party’s central headquarters in Jerusalem will become a “situation room” that will concentrate all party operations, including a phone campaign.
Neither Yisrael Beiteinu nor its leader Avigdor Lieberman responded to Israel Hayom.