Welcome to the “God-Land Axis” in which we locate each Israeli political party along two axis of political values. The “God-Land Axis” ambitiously endeavours to explain the entire Israeli political party system in a single graphic. A kind of Israeli electoral psephologists ‘theory of everything’ if you like.
Few issues dominate Israeli politics more than GOD and LAND – so much so in fact, it seems extraordinary that the “God-Land Axis” hasn’t been ‘invented’ or ‘created’ before today.
The first axis is the “God Axis” (on the Y Axis), in effect, it measures each party’s attitude to the role of God or religious coercion in Israeli society. Perhaps aptly, the higher up you go on this axis, the more God you get or desire.
This is not restricted to the role of religious Judaism but to the wider separation of religion and state, hence the small leftwing and socially progressive ‘Meretz’ is marginally more “Godless” if you like than (Palestinian dominated) Joint List, itself an alliance of parties one of which is firmly wedded to role of (the Muslim) religion in civic society. The higher up on the “God Axis” the more a party insists on imposing (its own) religious dictates in civic life.
The second axis is the “Land Axis” (on the X Axis), the importance each political party attaches to the retention of land (ie the West Bank, Judea and Samaria – call it what you will) in any future peace negotiations with the Palestinians. This is in effect the Land for Peace axis.
The further left on the “Land Axis” the more one is willing to relinquish the West Bank and to evacuate (or cede) most Israeli settlements.
The numbers after each party equate to the number of seats the current Polls of Polls suggests each party will receive in the 2019 election. Taken from Knesset Jeremy.com
A quick totting up the seats reveals, 27 Knesset in the bottom left hand quarter (Centre-Left and Secular) – Joint List, Labor, Meretz and Hatnuah.
A total of 25 Knesset seats occupy the top right quarter (Rightwing and Religious) – Shas, United Torah Judaism (UTJ Habait Hayudi and the New Right (HaYamin HaHadash).
And, despite their very real differences all the remaining parties are scattered in the bottom right hand quarter – in effect varying shades of centre-right to rightwing and (reasonably) secular.
Note: it is not possible to receive less than 4 Seats in the Knesset as the electoral electoral threshold is 3.25%. Those parties shown on less than 4 seats will either receive zero seats or a minimum of four. Those parties shown on one, two or three seats is purely notional and simply reflect their current strength in the opinion polls (below the threshold).
We have further diced and spliced our two dimensional axis to reveal the projected electoral power of various ‘conceptual’ political groupings. This is potentially an endless “game” of inventing electoral blocks of support.
MILITARISTS (45 Seats)
The Militarists are those parties who believe that a military solution can (perhaps should) resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They include Yachad, Habait Hayudi, New Right (HaYamin HaHadash), Likud and Israel Beitanu. Arguably this is the ‘Hard-Right’ – but not a majority by any means. The Militarists include the relatively secular Israeli Beitanu (whose leader Advigdor Liberman once called for the bombing of the Aswan Dam in Egypt) and the fanatical religious but tiny Yachad, currently polling below the electoral threshold.
MUDDLED MIDDLE (43 Seats)
The Muddled Middle are the ideological centrist parties who tend to avoid taking definitive positions on solutions to the Israel-Palestinian conflict. They tend to articulate either somewhat vague, or deliberately contradictory policies that arguably reflects a kind of head-in-the-sand centrist consensus. The Muddled Middle include Gesher, Kulanu, Yesh Atid, Hosen LiYisrael and – perhaps unfairly – Labor (the latter on its leftist margins).
CIVIL INSURGENTS (57 Seats)
The Civil Insurgents are mix of genuine secular revolutionaries and those parties who simply wish to see the buses running and the shopping malls open on the Shabbat. The introduction of Civil Marriage is must for most, though not all. The Civil Insurgents include Joint List, Meretz, Labor, Hatnuah, Hosen L’Yisrael, Yesh Atid and Israel Beitanu. Perhaps Kulanu and Gesher qualify but both (social orientated) parties are relatively silent on issues of civil rights. The Civil Insurgents are close to a majority. An Israeli coalition however has never (and currently unlikely) to include any Palestinian anti-Zionist parties (Joint List).
NEW JERUSALEMITES (25 Seats)
The New Jerusalemites aspire to a quasi-theocratic Jewish state in all of historic Israel-Palestine. They are a mix of Neo-Zionists and Ultra Orthodox. These include UTJ (United Torah Judaism), Shas, Yachad, Habait Hayudi and the New Right (HaYamin HaHadash). Demography is on the side of the New Jerusalemites. Arguably the New Jerusalemites despite their relatively small size (25 seats) have been the most successful minority in Israel in pursuing their political agenda.
WEST BANKERS (27 Seats)
The West Bankers continue to believe, despite all of the evidence to the contrary, in a Two-State Solution that envisages a future Palestinian state on more than 90% of the West Bank.
These include Joint List, Meretz, Labor, Hatnuah. Shift the line leftwards to EXCLUDE Labor and the parties to the left would agree on a Palestinian state on 95% of the West Bank. Shift the line rightward to include Yesh Atid and Hosen LiYisrael, Kulanu and Shas and these parties would probably agree on a Palestinian state on 75% to 80% of the West Bank (but perhaps just not now).
Fantasist One-Staters (41 Seats)
The Fantasist One-Staters believe that a single (Jewish) state from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River that denies Palestinians in the West Bank the right to vote is a long term, sustainable and viable political project. These include, Yachad, Habait Hayudi and the New Right (HaYamin HaHadash) and notably Likud. It is important to note the Fantasist One-Staters are NOT – or close to – a majority in Israeli politics.
To conclude, we encourage you to generate your own electoral “boxes” and label them accordingly. There are many, many more hidden in plain sight.