Election results in chareidi neighborhoods and regions
throughout the country indicate that more than 80 percent of
eligible chareidi voters came to the polls to vote for the
candidate chosen by gedolei Yisroel. With the
counting of 99.9 percent of the actual votes, Ariel Sharon
won 62.3 percent of the vote, compared with 37.7 percent for
Ehud Barak, a lead of 24.6 percent.
Every chareidi precinct in the country gave 100 percent of
their vote to Ariel Sharon. This was true in towns like
Kiryat Sefer, Beitar, Emmanuel and Elad. It was also true in
the smaller towns -- Tifrach, Kommemiyut and Yesodot. In
Moshav Beit Chilkiya, Ehud Barak received one vote, and in
Moshav Bnei Ram, he got three.
In 1999, Benjamin Netanyahu won these precincts with 97-99
percent of the vote, but did not as consistently hit the 100
Countrywide voter turnout was 62 percent, down from 78.7
percent in the 1999 elections. The figure was the lowest in
the history of the State, although this was also the first
time that elections were held for prime minister only.
The Central Election Committee announced that in the final
official tally, Sharon won 1,698,077 votes (62.3 percent of
the actual vote), compared to 1,023,944 votes (37.7 percent
of the vote) for Barak. In 1999, Barak received 1.79 million
votes, meaning that his latest results were a drop of 40
percent from just over a year and a half earlier.
The number of blank ballots cast was surprisingly lower than
expected. Only 2.9% (83,917) of the ballots were
disqualified in the election, most of them because they were
blank, in contrast to 5.32% (179,458) disqualified for the
same reason in 1999.
Sharon won a landslide victory in Jerusalem: 77.8 percent,
with Barak only garnering 22.1 percent. In 1999, Binyamin
Netanyahu won 64.5 percent of the vote in the capital.
Barak barely carried Tel Aviv-Jaffa by 51.9 percent, and
Haifa by only 225 votes. In both cities, where there are
large Arab populations, voter turnout was a low 59
Almost all other towns and settlements gave a large majority
to Sharon. Sharon won 62.8 percent in Rechovot, 67 percent
in Petach Tikva, and 70 percent in Beersheva.
Kibbutzim gave 75 percent of their vote to Barak, while
Sharon won the moshavim by a 15 percent margin.
The embattled settlements of Psagot in Samaria and Kfar
Darom in Gush Katif gave Sharon 100 percent of their
In the Jordan Valley, there was more support for Barak. The
settlement of Naomi, near Jericho, gave 56 percent to Sharon
and 43.9 percent to Barak. Mitzpeh Shalom, a kibbutz in the
northern Dead Sea region, split its vote 67 percent-32
percent in Sharon's favor.
Barak won his hometown of Kochav Yair, but support for him
there had dropped substantially from 71 percent to 54.8
The Beduin town Rahat voted 82.5 percent for Barak and 17.4
percent for Sharon.
Barak also did well in affluent communities such as Maccabim-
Reut, where he won 67 percent, and in Savyon, where he took
Warnings by Central Elections Committee Chairman Justice
Mishael Cheshin that casting blank ballots would be a waste
of time because they are invalid apparently had an impact.
There were 78,385 invalid votes, compared with 179,458 in
the 1999 prime- ministerial election.
Less than 25 percent of Arab voters came to the polls,
compared with more than 70 percent in 1999.
In Arab areas with a high voting rate, turnout was 28
percent, down from 84 percent in 1999. In Arab areas with a
lower voting rate, the drop was from 52 percent to 18
A check in a number of polls in Jerusalem chareidi
neighborhoods showed that the voting rate exceeded 80
percent. In one of Ramot's polling places, Barak didn't get
even one vote. Leftist party poll workers were stunned by
the massive chareidi response to fulfill the mitzvah of,
"you shall do all that they have instructed you" by voting
for the Rightist candidate.
On Wednesday night, voting data from most of the polls in
the chareidi neighborhoods arrived at Degel HaTorah
headquarters, where the data was analyzed. Initial analysis
indicated a remarkably high voting rate of more than 80
percent. The overall voting rate in Jerusalem was 65.5
percent: 77.8 percent for Sharon and 22.1 percent for
In Bnei Brak, rates were similar, as indicated by initial
examination of a number of polls. The city's overall voter
turnout rate was 74 percent: 93.5 percent for Sharon and 6.4
percent for Barak. These results, it should be noted,
include the Pardes Katz neighborhood and mixed neighborhoods
in which non-chareidi voters live. The true chareidi Bnei
Brak figures await more detailed results.
In Beitar Illit, 79.7 percent of eligible voters came to the
polls. 99.8 percent voted for Sharon, 0.1 percent for Ehud
Barak. The remaining votes were invalid.
In Yesodot, 96.1 percent of eligible voters exercised their
democratic rights: 100 percent voted for Sharon.
In Modi'in Illit (Kiryat Sefer-Brachfeld), 87.9 percent of
eligible voters voted: 99.8 percent for Ariel Sharon and 0.1
percent for Barak. 76.9 percent of the eligible voters in
Mattisyahu all voted for Ariel Sharon.
In Elad, 86.3 percent of all eligible voters voted, 99.5
percent for Sharon and 0.4 percent for Barak. In Tel Tziyon
(the Kochav Yaakov poll station), 84.1 percent of all
eligible voters voted: 99.8 for Sharon; 0.1 percent for
From a number of mixed settlements: Ariel: 68.2 percent of
eligible voters went to the polls: 88.1 percent voted for
Ariel Sharon; 11.8 percent for Barak. Rechasim, 80.3 percent
of all eligible voters voted: 92.2 percent for Sharon; 7
percent for Barak.
The offices of Degel HaTorah recruited and organized forces
to insure the day's success. Throughout election day,
reports were circulated about the short lines in chareidi
neighborhood polls in Jerusalem and Bnei Brak, raising the
fear that voters were not coming out to vote. However, a
survey conducted on Wednesday with members of the poll
committees indicates that unlike in past years, when
elections were held for the Knesset as well as for prime
minister, voting didn't take as long. This had led to the
assumption that the voting rate among chareidim was low.
There were also delays in bringing the voters to the polls.
The special headquarters of UTJ used Likud transportation to
bring elderly and sick voters to the polls, as well as those
from distant neighborhoods. During election day, there were
a number of snags due to the great pressure in the city's
In order to arouse the voters in the chareidi neighborhoods
to go vote, and not to wait until the last minute,
megaphones were attached to cars driving through chareidi
neighborhoods, calling out to vote, and in that manner to
fulfill the mitzvah of "ve'osiso kichol asher
The Legal Road Ahead
The law now gives Ariel Sharon 45 days from the day the
results are final to form a government and present it to the
Knesset for approval. Election results must be certified by
the Central Elections Committee by February 14.
However, Sharon will face another deadline on the same date--
March 31--that will force him to establish a government more
quickly. If the Knesset does not approve a 2001 state budget
by that date it automatically dissolves and general
elections are held for both the Knesset and prime minister
within 90 days.
Until Sharon forms a government, Prime Minister Ehud Barak
remains in office with full powers.
Another election for prime minister will be held within 60
days if Sharon ceases to be prime minister for any reason,
including resignation, ill health which prevents him from
functioning, or death.
Eighty MKs can vote Sharon out of office, after which a
prime ministerial election would be held.
If Sharon sees that he has lost his majority in the Knesset,
he can ask the president for permission to dissolve the
Knesset. In that event, general elections would be held
within 90 days.
Sharon's government can also fall in a no-confidence motion,
which would also result in general elections.