Netanyahu and Likud Won by Taking Poorer Jewish Towns, West Bank Settlements

Support for Likud actually rose in the middle-class and peripheral towns compared to the last election, despite the social agenda pushed by the center-left camp.

Or Kashti
Or Kashti
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Benjamin Netanyahu in Ashkelon on Election Day, March 17, 2015.
Benjamin Netanyahu in Ashkelon on Election Day, March 17, 2015.Credit: Reuters
Or Kashti
Or Kashti

Zionist Union got the highest number of votes in 28 of the country's 33 wealthiest towns, while Likud enjoyed a decisive majority among Jewish local authorities in the middle- to lower-middle-class range; in 64 of these 77 towns, Likud came in first.

The Central Bureau of Statistics divides Israeli communities into 10 deciles based on variables like per capita income, the number of new cars, the percentage of students, the ratio of residents to unemployment, and more.

Segmenting the voting by socioeconomic levels reveals a major and probably decisive difference between Likud and Zionist Union; the former got lots of votes in wealthier communities, but the latter did very well almost solely in those richer areas.

Zionist Union got its highest rate of support – 53 percent - in Kfar Shmaryahu, one of the three towns in the 10th and wealthiest decile. The rate of support for Zionist Union in the 33 towns in deciles 8 through 10 was 34.8 percent. The party came in first in 85 percent of these towns; the five exceptions were Alfei Menashe, Oranit and Mevasseret Zion, where the Likud came in first, and Elkana and Givat Shmuel, where Habayit Hayehudi ranked first.

In most of these 33 wealthier towns, the pattern was similar – Zionist Union first, Likud second and Yesh Atid third. Overall, Likud got 22.9 percent of the vote in these economically strong towns.

It was there that Yesh Atid lost a lot of its strength. In 2013, the party’s support in the top two deciles was 26.2 percent, with 24.4 percent in the 8th decile. But on Election Day the party got only 16.5 percent of the vote in deciles 9 and 10, and only 15.1 percent in the 8th decile.

The 7th decile is considered the most middle-class; it includes locales like Ramat Gan, Nes Ziona and Haifa. Here Zionist Union won seven of the 12 cities, while Likud took the other five. Moving further down the scale, however, the Likud took almost all of the towns considered middle- and lower-middle class, winning in 13 of the 15 cities in the 6th decile, 31 of 33 in the 5th decile, and 15 of 17 in the 4th decile. The towns not won by Likud in this range were generally won by Habayit Hayehudi.

Likud did not just win decisively in the West Bank, but also in the socioeconomic periphery within the Green Line, scoring decisive wins in places like Sderot (42.8 percent), Ashkelon (39.8 percent), Or Yehuda (40.5 percent), Ramle (39.8 percent), Tiberias (44.5 percent) and Kiryat Shmona (39.9 percent).

Support for Likud actually rose in the middle-class and peripheral towns compared to the last election, despite the social agenda pushed by the center-left camp and the fact that these voters didn’t benefit much, if at all, from the economic policies promulgated by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It seems the messages Netanyahu broadcast in the days before the election made a greater impression than arguments about the cost of living and social gaps.

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