It has been an entire year since the last Israeli election! This is the longest such gap since three elections ago! But all things must come to an end, and so the next election is coming up in about two weeks. That means that (following March Madness 2020, September Madness 2019, April Madness 2019, and all their predecessors) it’s time for Knesset March Madness 2021!!!! If you’re feeling excited about the election, this is your chance to show that excitement by entering this prediction contest! Or if you’re feeling more depressed or fearful, this is your chance to distract yourself by pretending it’s all a game. Either way, all are invited to submit your predictions!
For the fourth time in two years, here’s how it works:
How to Enter: Go to the March Madness link and put in your predictions for how many seats each of the 39 parties will win. All predictions must be non-negative integers (0 is allowed), and your predictions must add up to 120. (For reasons discussed below, it is impossible for a party to win 1 or 2 seats, and unlikely that a party will win 3 seats. However, if you choose to hedge your bets and guess that a given party will win 1, 2, or 3 seats, that is a legal entry in the contest.) Entrance is free, but there is a suggested donation of $10 (or 33 NIS) to the organization of your choice dedicated to making Israel the best it can be. (If you win, feel free to share which organization you chose and why.) Israeli citizens are encouraged to vote in the actual election as well.
The Rules (for the real election): The 39 parties have submitted ordered lists of candidates. Here is the full list of candidates in Hebrew, and a list of the parties in English (linking to those same candidate lists in Hebrew). Wikipedia also has partial lists of candidates in English. On election day (March 23), Israeli citizens will go to polling places in and near Israel, and vote for a party (not for individual candidates). All parties that win at least 3.25% of the vote will win seats in the Knesset, proportional to their share of the vote. For example, suppose Anachnu wins 1% of the vote, Atzmeinu wins 33%, and Ani v’Atah wins 66%. Then Anachnu wins no seats in the Knesset (since they were below the 3.25% threshold), and the other parties will proportionally split the 120 Knesset seats: Atzmeinu gets 40 seats (so the top 40 candidates on its list are elected), and Ani v’Atah gets 80 seats. If vacancies arise later in the term, there are no special elections – the next candidate on the party’s list (e.g. #41 on the Atzmeinu list) enters the Knesset. It is mathematically impossible for all 39 parties to win seats in the Knesset.
The Rules (for the Knesset March Madness pool): The deadline to enter is Monday, March 22, 2021, at 11:59 pm Israel Time (5:59 pm EDT). When the final election results are published, each entry will receive a score based on how many Knesset seats were predicted correctly. For example, suppose the results are as in the above example (Ani v’Atah 80, Atzmeinu 40). I predicted 60 seats for Atzmeinu, 50 for Ani v’Atah, and 10 for The Impossible Is Possible. Then my score is 90, since I correctly predicted 40 seats for Atzmeinu and 50 seats for Ani v’Atah. The entry with the highest score wins!
Ties will be broken based on two tiebreaker questions:
1) Of the parties that do NOT win seats in the Knesset, which will come closest?
2) Which party will get the FEWEST votes?
The tiebreakers will be resolved in this order: exact match on question 1; exact match on question 2; closest on question 1 (if you picked a party that DOES win seats, you’re out of consideration for this one); closest on question 2.