Amid election fever, Netanyahu and Likud party rising in polls

With all eyes on the coalition crisis and the likelihood of early elections, polls show that Netanyahu and his Likud party are likely to be re-elected.

By Steve Leibowitz, World Israel News

Amid a coalition crisis and election fever in the air, two polls conducted for Israel’s leading television stations show Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party leading all rivals. The poll results also show a sharp drop for the opposition Labor party as Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid becomes the second-largest party.

Results also point to sharp drops for Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beitenu as well as Interior Minister Aryeh Deri’s ultra-Orthodox Shas party at risk of failure to pass the minimum threshold to enter the Knesset.

Both polls had Likud winning 29-30 seats, (30 currently), maintaining its current strength. The centrist Yesh Atid is in second place in the polling with 21-24 seats (11 currently), doubling or nearly doubling its current strength. The opposition center-left Zionist Union (Former Labor Party and Hatnua) drops dramatically to 11-13 (24 currently), about half of its current strength.

The Joint Arab List (13 currently), with 12-13 seats according to the polls, is virtually unchanged. Education Minister Naftali Bennett’s right-wing Jewish Home Party has increased its strength to 11 in both polls, (8 currently), while the left-wing Meretz has also gained, with 7-9 seats (6 currently). The ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism remains about the same with 6-7 seats (6 currently). Centrist Kulanu, led by Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, drops to six seats (10 currently)

The Channel 10 poll has Yisrael Beitenu taking 6 seats (currently 6, including breakaway MK Orly Levy-Abekasis) and Shas at 5 seats (7 currently). The Hadashot poll included Levy-Abekasis’s still unnamed new party in the poll, and in a major surprise, the new party was projected to win 5 seats. In this poll, Yisrael Beitenu gets only 4 seats, as does Shas.

According to both polls, Prime Minister Netanyahu could potentially form the next government, with his current coalition partners receiving 60-65 seats.