Jerusalem, my hometown: Election Night 1 – the results

So, I’m down here at the media center in Tel Aviv with all the journalists, pundits and party leaders. How’d I get in here? Well, actually the GPO was very thorough and I was on an access list just like everyone else. Apparently, the GPO likes my angle and it’s an easy one to like: I’m very pro-Israel and this is as democratic as it gets. How amazing.

Election turnout is turning out to be very good for Israel’s democracy. The left and labor especially seems hopeful. Their representative spoke just a few minutes ago (not Shelly but someone high on their list just spoke.

I’m guessing Bibi is sweating a bit by now but it’s still early. We found out on the bus ride coming down that Channels 1, 2, and 10 are pretty savvy with exit-polling. Because their sample sizes are over 10,000, they are fairly accurately able to predict outcomes and rough seat allocation by 22:00.

But, the GPO director, Nitzan Chen says that “we’re a democracy of journalists on this bus” and since the bus is chartered anyway, we can stay as late as vote to stay.

The official tally doesn’t firm up until about 03:00, I’m hearing. It’s about 21:00 right now, so since the hors d’ oeuvres are really good and the drinks are flowing, the next six hours should be revealing.

Journalist are interviewing pundits and party representatives are spinning their views. All three major channels are on big screens and everyone seems to be really enjoying themselves.

Channel 10 TV have mock pundits and mock candidates on a fake interview show now. I guess it’s very Israeli to blatantly make fun of the process and the personalities. Oh, wait a minute…there’s Mr. Herzog from Labor on the mock show! I guess they invite real ones on too!

Oh, someone else is coming to the podium…this is the Meretz guy. Yum, yum, steak kabobs!!! The Meretz guy is saying he’s hopeful that with Obama’s second term and Bibi not being PM (he says that we’ll know whether Bibi gets in or not within the hour), Israel can forge a peace agreement with the Palestinians…uh, he’d better talk to London’s Palestinian Authority guy who is just an hour or so ago, The Israel Project reported he said that peace with Israel is impossible. Hey Meretz guy and London PA guy, could you call each other and work this communication thing out a little better?

I just talked to the Meretz guy…really. He said the PA guy in London needs to wait and see if he and the center left get their mandate. Hey London PA guy…if you’re reading this, Meretz guy says don’t be so cynical!

Oh, now Channel 2 TV is making fun of the American on the Jewish Home list that screwed up by talking about the Dome of the Rock getting blown up. But this guy did clarify his mounting The Temple Mount position in The Times of Israel. You can read his blog after you finish mine.

Hey, I found out today that Lapid’s party isn’t democratic. It’s true. Gershon Baskin, co-chairman of the Israel Palestine Center for Research and Information and columnist for The Jerusalem Post wrote this  today in comments on page 15, But Gershon, he’s a really nice guy and very photogenic. I like Gershon’s group; a lady who works with him gave me ride down a very long hill one day so I didn’t have to walk to my bus. In fact, she drove me all the way to the mall by Teddy Stadium in Malkha.

Which reminds me…have you been following Betar Jerusalem? The yellow and gold (my team, Dad, of course would be Betar) are fourth in the Israeli Football Premier league and climbing after beating Hapoel Tel Aviv yesterday.

Steven Millar, a big wig analyst is coming to the podium to give his best exit polling analysis up to the hour. It’s 21:20 right now. He says that Channel 2 and Channel 10 TV are the most accurate. I stand corrected; sample sizes may be as much as 15 to 20,000 which obviously makes predictions even more accurate. He says that the top 100 communities where turnout has been historically generally highest in the last few election cycles, are religious and right wing but the higher-than-average turnout today may very well skew this norm but smaller parties are going to be the losers because of thresholds (2%) are based on turnout. He’s very excited to find out how this election is going to turnout! So are we, Steven!

Some guy speaking very British English is introducing a Yesh Atid guy who is spinning the talk of a center-left coalition that Shelly could lead…maybe. Good luck, Yesh Atid, you apparently non-democratic party poopers! I don’t know if that’s true but Gershon is my office neighbor up at the Tantur campus where I also work so I want him to like me…don’t read this, Gershon.

All we are saying is….give peace a chance! Ooops! I’m supposed to be an impartial journalist.

The left and center are dominating the conversation in the room. Where are the guys on the right?

Nitzan Chen, the director of GPO just told me some of the first numbers, his mouth to my ear: Bibi 30, Yair 20, Shelly 17. There’s one center left coalition if he’s willing. It’s 21:33 with 27 minutes to go until the polls close.

Tzipi, where are you? Bennet, aren’t you coming by? I don’t think they’re paying enough attention to me. In fact, where is Bibi?

Dov Lipman on Channel 2 (Yesh Atid) looks very happy! He should be if Nitzan’s numbers are close to being right.

I want some more of that steak. Where are you steak lady? Come here with those beautiful skewers!

The room is very animated now. Plenty to drink, plenty of good eats, plenty of election turnout! Wow, is this exciting! Sixteen minutes until the polls close and I finally got that steak! Thanks steak lady! Oh wow, two more skewers of another spiced meat with some kind of amazing sauce! How lucky can a guy get?

I’m just kicked back here with my very own internet access. We listening to Channel 2 out loud now. We’re all poised for results…

I’ll give you the numbers as I get them. Five minutes to closing now.

Here are the numbers for the major and some of the minor players:

Bibi 31

Shelly 17

Yair 19

Bennet 12

Shas 12

Meretz 7

Strong Israel 7

Tzipi 6

United Torah 6

59 left 61 right so says Steven Millar (polls are now closed).










About the Author
David Lasoff is an American Jew from Southern California. He made aliyah in May 2012 and is now the director of the department of Applied English Linguistics for the University of the Holy Land in Jerusalem. He teaches academic writing and supervises the school's English language learning programs.