Ahead of Election, Israeli Party Democratic Union Turns to Crowdfunding
The Democratic Union is a left-wing alliance formed between former prime minister Ehud Barak’s Democratic Israel, Meretz, the Green Movement, and former Labor parliamentarian Stav Shaffir
According to Israeli law, parties can accept donations from an unlimited number of people, but these donations are capped NIS at NIS 1,000 ($284) per person. As of the 2015 elections, that cap is raised to NIS 2,300 ($653) during an election year.
The Democratic Union is a left-wing alliance formed between Democratic Israel, recently founded by former prime minister Ehud Barak, Meretz, the Green Movement, and former Labor parliamentarian Stav Shaffir, who abruptly withdrew from the party last month. Public opinion surveys currently give the Democratic Union seven seats out of 120.
The state grants political parties running for election an advance payment for their campaign budgets, according to the number of current parliament members the parties have. As Meretz had four seats in the last parliament, it is eligible for an advance payment of NIS 4 million ($1.36 million), NIS 1 million ($284,000) for every seat. As of the 2006 elections, parties that fail to pass the electoral threshold are required to pay the state back.
New parties or parties who have failed to pass the electoral threshold in the previous election are not eligible for an advance payment, and some political parties accumulate campaign expenses well beyond the advance payment they receive. To finance their campaigns, therefore, many parties and political candidates secure guarantees from private people and take out loans. Israeli law currently does not cap the guarantees that parties can raise ahead of the election.
Barak raised total guarantees of around NIS 6 million ($1.6 million) to date. NIS 1.1 million ($310,000) came from Israeli businessman Shmuel Harlap; NIS 1 million ($284,000) from advocate Anat Agmon, ex-wife of Marius Nacht; NIS 2 million ($570,000) from Kobi Richter, who holds the 22nd place on Democratic Israel’s list; NIS 950,000 ($270,000) from Dvora Francis; NIS 500,000 ($142,000) from tech entrepreneur Orni Patruschka; and NIS 500,000 ($142,000) from Uzi Zuker.
The Democratic Union has already collected tens of thousands of shekels in donations, the party said.