With only two weeks left until elections for the 19th Knesset, Tuesday will see the first of the ad campaigns which will be broadcast on radio and television for the next 11 days. Determined by a lottery and not party size, the broadcasts will begin with Rabbi Haim Amsalem’s campaign ad for his Am Shalem party. Each party will receive seven minutes for TV ads and fifteen minutes for radio. Parties with current MKs will receive an extra two minutes for each incumbent for their television spots and an extra four for radio, which means that Likud-Beytenu will have the longest air time with 91 minutes. Kadima, which was a major party in the 18th Knesset until losing candidates to fragmentation will receive 49 minutes. Labor will receive 23 minutes. New party lists such as Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid and Tzipi Livni’s HaTnua will receive the standard 7 minutes of air time.
Israel: Centrifuges, Palestinians, army service and cottage cheese — an Israeli election primer | The Times of Israel
According to recent polls, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is cruising to reelection. His Likud party is expected to win 30 or 31 Knesset mandates, up from 27 three years ago and way ahead of second-place Labor, which the polls predict may gain about four or five seats to 17-18. Much has changed in the political landscape since 2009 — parties splintering, leaders ousted, new parties created — but despite Labor’s resurgence under new chairwoman Shelly Yachimovich and the creation of a new populist party by former TV personality Yair Lapid, Netanyahu’s right-wing bloc can reasonably expect to stay in power. Likud, Yisrael Beytenu and Shas alone could get about 55 seats; add to that the seats of the United Torah Judaism and Jewish Home parties, and Netanyahu has a comfortable majority. But Lapid — whose new Yesh Atid (There is a Future) party is expected to win up to a dozen seats — is not the only wild card. Ousted Shas member Haim Amsellem hopes to enter the Knesset with his newly founded Am Shalem (A Complete Nation) party, and ex-minister (and ex-con) Aryeh Deri is still considering whether to field his own faction. That could cost Shas important mandates, which might force Netanyahu to look for another coalition partner — perhaps the far-right National Union. And that, in turn, could push him even further to the right and toward a collision course with the US.