Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel / Flash 90
Nafatli Bennett and Bibi Netanyahu in the Knesset, November 21, 2018.

Israelis may be able to go to the polls next time around and make a direct choice for prime minister, a “first” in the Jewish State, where up to this point, voters have been forced to vote for parties rather than directly for candidates.

Sephardic Orthodox Jewish Shas party leader Aryeh Deri is expected to introduce the new law that would enable a special direct election for prime minister, with no further Knesset elections — at least this time around — according to Hebrew-language Channel 12 television journalist Amit Segal.


The initiative was raised by Aryeh Deri, who discussed it with Yamina party chairman Naftali Bennett in a lengthy meeting, Segal reported.

Bennett had raised it as one of several options during his meeting over the weekend with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“Netanyahu has been persuaded to support the initiative,” Segal said, “and hopes that together with Bennett he will have a majority” to pass the law in Knesset.

The last time there was a direct election for the prime minister’s seat was in 2001.

It is not yet known whether a direct vote for prime minister would be a two-way, or three-way race, nor whether runoff elections might be employed as well, in the case of a three-way race.

Nor is it clear how anyone who wins such a race would still be able to get legislation passed if he has no coalition with a 61-mandate majority.

It might, however, stop the growing momentum of leftist Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid, who is proposing a national unity government to break the logjam.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.