New poll shows Benny Gantz leads Netanyahu as top pick for PM; Likud bloc loses 13 seats

Center-Left bloc and Arab parties could form new coalition government if new elections were held today, poll finds, as right-wing bloc collapses.

By World Israel News Staff

Israel’s ruling right-wing bloc has suffered a major loss in public support, according to a new poll, with the Opposition parties projected to make major gains if new elections were held today.

The poll was conducted by Panels Politics and published Friday morning by the Hebrew daily Ma’ariv, surveying Israeli Jews and Arabs with a margin of error of +/- 4.3%.

National Unity camp party chairman and former Defense Minister Benny Gantz is now the top candidate for prime minister, the poll found, leading the incumbent, Benjamin Netanyahu, 44% to 37%.

If new elections were held today, the parties which make up the coalition government would win just 51 seats, compared to 64 seats won in last November’s election.

Gantz’s National Unity list, a joint ticket of his Blue and White party and the center-right New Hope party which split from the Likud, is now tied with the ruling Likud faction at 26 seats each. That marks a massive increase for National Unity, which won 12 seats November, a decline of six seats for the Likud, which currently holds 32 seats.

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The Likud’s right-wing and religious allies also fared poorly in the poll, with the Religious Zionist Party falling from its current seven seats to five seats and Otzma Yehudit sinking from six seats to four – barely crossing the electoral threshold. The two parties ran on a joint ticket, along with the small Noam faction, winning a total of 14 seats, with Noam taking just one seat. Noam did not pass the threshold in Friday’s poll.

Shas received just nine seats in the poll, down from eleven in the current Knesset, while United Torah Judaism retained is seven seats.

Opposition Leader Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party also lost ground, due primarily to gains by National Unity, sinking from 24 seats in the current Knesset to 19 seats in the new poll.

Yisrael Beytenu, the party of former Finance Minister Avidgor Liberman, received six seats in the poll, the same number it won last year, while Labor retained its four seats.

The far-left Meretz faction also received four seats, after failing to cross the minimum threshold in the previous election.

Among the Arab parties, the Hadash-Ta’al alliance received six seats, while the United Arab List (Ra’am) fell to four, while the Arab nationalist Balad party continues to poll below the minimum threshold at 2.3%.

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