We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Elections in Israel 1999, The

Asher Arian, Michal Shamir

Publication Year: 2002

Considers the impact of the 1999 Israeli elections. This volume highlights Israel’s 1999 elections, in which the prime-ministerial race between incumbent Benjamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak ended with Barak winning by the biggest landslide ever in Israel. Although some observers interpreted these results as a fundamental shift in public opinion, there is little evidence to support this. The book shows how old patterns funneled into a new system of voting produced the 1999 results, where a weak candidate (Barak) bested a wounded prime minister (Netanyahu) abandoned by most of his political allies. Leading social scientists from Israeli and American universities, using a variety of approaches and coming from diverse intellectual traditions, address topics including the emergence of political blocs, strategic voting, and split ticket voting. In addition to major party performance, special interest parties—who did better than ever in 1999—are also discussed, such as the haredi, ultra-orthodox, non-Zionist Shas, the anti-haredi secular Shinui, two parties appealing to former Soviet émigrés and Arab parties.

Published by: State University of New York Press

Series: SUNY series in Israeli Studies


pdf iconDownload PDF


pdf iconDownload PDF


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. iii-iv


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. v-vi

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 1-8

The 1999 elections, held on May 17, 1999, featured two parallel races. One was for the office of the prime minister, and the second was for the Knesset (Israeli Parliament). This was the second time that the rules for the simultaneous direct election of the prime minister and the selection of the Knesset based on a fixed-list proportional representation formula applied. The change in the electoral system was legislated before the 1992 elections, ...

Part I: Voting Behavior

read more

1. Candidates, Parties, and Blocs

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 11-31

Political scientists who study elections resort to two major concepts useful in sorting out elections and interpreting electoral dynamics: partisan realignment and dealignment (Dalton, Flanagan, and Beck 1984). A realignment is electoral change that persists. It is characterized by “more or less profound readjustments . . . in the relations of power within the community, and in . . . new and durable election groupings. . . .” (Key 1955, 4). A partisan ...

read more

2. Were Voters Strategic?

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 33-44

Multicandidate contests always provide the opportunity for strategic voting, and the Israeli prime ministerial election began as a five-candidate contest. But of the five candidates approved by the Central Elections Committee, only three had any chance of winning: Benjamin Netanyahu, the incumbent prime minister who led Likud, Ehud Barak, the head of One Israel, and Yitzhak Mordechai, leader of the newly formed Center Party. For most voters ...

read more

3. Split-ticket Voting in the 1996 and 1999 Elections

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 45-66

Split-ticket voting in Israel’s general elections is a relatively new phenomenon that came about after the reform of the general elections system and after the 1996 transition to direct election of the prime minister. Before the general elections system reform, the ticket splitting discused in Israel’s research literature focused on one of two phenomena. The first referred to ticket splitting at the municipal and national levels ...

read more

4. Social Cleavages among non-Arab Voters: A New Analysis

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 67-76

This chapter takes issue with the authoritative literature on the politics of social cleavages in Israel. It presents the results of three different types of empirical analysis of partisan choice among non-Arab voters in Israel.1 Using methods and data that have rarely or never been exploited in Israel, as well as modified versions of the standard multivariate analysis of survey data, we offer an empirical reassessment of voter behavior that departs substantially ...

Part II: Groups

read more

5. The Continuing Electoral Success of Shas: A Cultural Division of Labor Analysis

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 99-119

As far as Shas was concerned, the election campaign to the Fifteenth Knesset was conducted under the shadow of the conviction and then the sentencing of the party’s political leader, Aryeh Deri, for bribery charges (Bilsky, 2001). In spite of these events, or perhaps because of them, Shas succeeded in raising its Knesset delegation from ten to seventeen members and became one of the three largest (albeit medium-size) factions in the house.

read more

6. Israel as an Ethnic State: The Arab Vote

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 121-140

Arab citizens comprise about 11 percent of the Israeli electorate—a substantial bloc in terms of its latent potential, especially for the Israeli Left, which cannot gain power without Arab votes. Preparations for the elections among the Arabs began as soon as the motion was passed to bring forward the elections to the Fifteenth Knesset to May 1999, some eighteen months before they were due. As in the past, the election campaign was a stormy arena of ...

read more

7. The “Russian” Revolution in Israeli Politics

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 141-161

Between 1989 and 1999, more than three quarters of a million people from lands that comprised the former Soviet Union (FSU) immigrated to Israel. This is the single largest aliyah in Israeli history. Ironically, it comes from a state that consistently opposed Zionism, armed and supported the Arab states and Palestinian military organizations, broke relations with Israel in 1967, and refused to allow Zionist and Hebrew education. Over the last three Israeli ...

Part III: Political Parties and the Election Campaign

read more

8. The Triumph of Polarization

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 165-178

At the beginning of 1999, the future looked bright for the new Israeli Center Party. According to opinion polls, party leader Yitzhak Mordechai was the only candidate who could defeat the Likud leader, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in head-to-head elections. The party called on Labor voters to desert the Labor candidate, Ehud Barak, and to unite behind Mordechai. As for the party itself, this group of well-known political figures, who had left ...

read more

9. Barak, One—One Israel, Zero, Or, How Labor Won the Prime Ministerial Race and Lost the Knesset Elections

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 179-196

Ehud Barak’s three-year political drive against the incumbent, Benjamin Netanyahu, was successfully translated into victory in the May 1999 election. Labor on the other hand, the party he chaired since 1997 (and that ran under the banner of One Israel), was not as successful. It lost close to 30 percent of its power, obtaining only 26 seats in the Fifteenth Knesset—the lowest number of representatives ever. Postelection, while still the largest party and the ...

read more

10. The Likud’s Campaign and the Headwaters of Defeat

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 197-220

The elections of 1999 dealt the Likud so stunning a blow that to describe it critics had recourse to natural calamities such as volcanic eruptions, or disasters like being run over by an express train. While Benjamin Netanyahu’s bid for reelection ended in a landslide defeat, the party’s share of the vote was reduced by almost 44%, thereby breaking the 1977 record held by Labor when its share was reduced by 37.88%. Several explanations were offered, one that ...

read more

11. The Appearance of the Center Party in the 1999 Elections

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 221-243

The Center Party, established shortly before the 1999 elections, reflected changes in Israeli politics relating to both the political party and the party system and to the electoral competition in Israel. The formation of this party exemplified the perennial temptation to establish a party of the center and the special problems involved in that undertaking, as well as the difficulties in setting up a new party in Israel, despite the openness of the proportional system in the Knesset elections.

read more

12. Candidate Selection in a Sea of Changes Unsuccessfully Trying to Adapt?

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 245-268

The methods political parties use to select their candidates may be analyzed from two perspectives. The first considers these methods as a dependent variable that reflects a party’s response to changes in the political environment within which it operates. Manifested in changes to their candidate selection methods, this response implies an attempt to adapt to a changing political, social, and institutional environment.

read more

13. Struggles Over the Electoral Agenda: The Elections of 1996 and 1999

pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 269-288

One of the important aspects of modern politics is the struggle over the news media. The news media serve as the central arena for antagonists to promote their political positions and preferred images (Wolfsfeld 1997). This contest becomes especially intensive during election campaigns as each candidate and/or political party attempts to dominate the media agenda. Candidates want to pull their opponents onto the political battlefield where they have the greatest advantages.


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 289-291


pdf iconDownload PDF
pp. 293-297

E-ISBN-13: 9780791488812
E-ISBN-10: 0791488810
Print-ISBN-13: 9780791453155
Print-ISBN-10: 0791453154

Page Count: 303
Illustrations: 33 tables, 6 figures
Publication Year: 2002

Series Title: SUNY series in Israeli Studies
Series Editor Byline: Russell Stone See more Books in this Series

OCLC Number: 52774147
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Elections in Israel 1999, The

Research Areas


UPCC logo

Subject Headings

  • Elections -- Israel.
  • Israel. Keneset -- Elections, 1999.
  • Israel -- Politics and government -- 1993-.
  • You have access to this content
  • Free sample
  • Open Access
  • Restricted Access