UPDATE and TODAY’S BLOG: 7 pm Israel time Wednesday:
Your humble servant is not going to engage in any analysis today simply because many numbers are still in play. The basic results as reported yesterday can be found below; the essential point seems to be that the right block led by Benjamin Netanyahu has 60 seats, and the center-left block also has 60 seats.
In all likelihood, Benjamin Netanyahu will be the next prime minister of Israel though we may know more about this in the coming hours when Yair Lapid speaks (he is scheduled to talk at 8 pm Israel time). Will he join a Netanyahu coalition? We’ll see.
The basic facts as they stand at the moment:
1. A total of 3,616,947 Israelis voted (63.98% of eligible voters). 37,832 votes were ruled “invalid” (click on this for the full election results–so far). These invalid votes must now be double-checked. It is important to note that this total does not include those in point 3 below.
2. The basic number of seats won being reported is somewhat questionable at best. For example, at the moment Likud is reported to have won 31 seats. In fact, Likud received 832,099 votes (24.98%) of the votes. This indicates that Likud only has 30 seats (their number is even fractionally below 30, but is rounded up because of the surplus distribution Bader-Offer Law). Similar situations exist with other parties. Click here for an arcane description of the distribution of “surplus” votes).
3. An unknown number (perhaps as many as 160,000) votes in “double envelopes” have yet to be counted. Double envelopes have been cast by the IDF (est. 136,000), patients in hospitals, prisoners (est. 7,150), Israeli diplomats and their staffs, and disabled Israelis.
4. The numbers could easily change depending on the number of double votes. At the moment, the 2% threshold (the minimum number of votes necessary for a party to enter the Knesset) is approximately 74,000 votes. It will go higher (the official estimate is 76,100). For example, it is still conceivable that Kadima (which has 74,135 votes) could get bumped out, and Power Israel which has 1.73% of the votes could rise above the threshold though this is highly unlikely).
5. Approximately 248,000 Israelis voted for smaller parties that did not pass the threshold.
6. The new Knesset will have a record number of women–26.
7. The new Knesset will have a record number of orthodox–38 (11 Shas, 10 Jewish Home, 7 United Torah Judaism, 6 Likud Beiteinu, 3 Torch for the Future, 1 Hatnua.
8. The totals so far:
Likud Beiteinu (Netanyahu): 31
Torch for the Future (Lapid): 19
Labor (Yachimovich): 15
Shas (Sephardic Orthodox): 11
Jewish Home (Bennett): 11
United Torah Judaism: 7
Tzipi Livni: 6
Arab parties: 12