Israeli elections: geography of voting trends by city

Jerusalem backs Orthobox Jews, Lapid chosen by secular Tel Aviv

23 January, 18:36

An Ultra-Orthodox Jewish man kicks a burning box with leaflets outside a Yeshiva  (religious school) on election day in Bnei Brak, outside Tel Aviv An Ultra-Orthodox Jewish man kicks a burning box with leaflets outside a Yeshiva (religious school) on election day in Bnei Brak, outside Tel Aviv

(ANSAmed) - TEL AVIV, JANUARY 23 - The day after parliamentary elections, a look at voting trends by area gives a clear view of Israel and the general profile of its cities.

Different universes often live side by side, expressions of political cultures that have no intention of overlapping or amalgamating. This, at times, leads to a number of surprises. In line with its image as a libertarian city open to the winds of changes, Tel Aviv welcomed the secular messiah Yair Lapid with open arms, the leader of the centrist party Yesh Atid ('There is a Future'). In his debut on the political scene, the former television host seduced the city-symbol of secularism, getting the absolute highest percentage of votes at 20.7. In Tel Aviv, Likud-Beitenu (the list under Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu and his former foreign minister, the hawkish Avigdor Lieberman) struggled tooth and nail to get the better of the Labour Party under Shelly Yahimovic (17.5 % and 16.8% are the respective figures). As final proof of the triumph of secular parties in the city, coming next in line were Meretz (Zionist left, 14.3%) and Ha-Tnua', under Tzipi Livni (7.2). Sixty kilometres away in the rocky Jerusalem, one seems to be in a different country entirely. The party raking in the most votes was the Torah Front (Orthodox Ashkenazis), with 22%. Despite the polemical tones on the ''indivisibility of Jerusalem'' with which Netanyahu challenged international public opinion, the city's inhabitants gave him only second place with 20%.

Following were Shas's Orthodox Jews (15.8%) and the Jewish Home religious nationalists (11.8%). One in every two voters chose a confessional party. Known for its history as a stronghold of the Marxist working class employed at the city's port and industrial zone, Haifa ''The Red'' has taken on much more bourgeois tones over the years and did not hesitate to opt for Likud-Beitenu (26.1%). Yair Lapid's party did, however gain some support among the local middle classes (18%). In the proletarian tradition of the city, there was at least some support for the Labour Party (15.2%) and the Hadash communists (4.8%). Halfway between Tel Aviv and Haifa, there is the largest Arab agglomerate in Israel: Um El-Fahem. The local, very influential Islamic movement, boycotted the elections. As a consequence, the communists got the lion's share of the votes (49.7%), followed by the two Arab nationalist lists (Raam-Taal, 23.7%, and Balad, 22%). In this part of the country, the top Zionist party was Meretz, which took in just over one percent.