PM’s party would get no Knesset seats if elections held today: poll

Likud would be the Knesset’s largest party but right-wing bloc would fall short of majority.

By David Hellerman, World Israel News

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s Yemina party would not get any Knesset seats if elections were held today, according to a new poll.

The survey, taken by Direct Polls, comes as Israel’s governing coalition gears up to push the state budget through the Knesset. If a state budget is not passed by November 14, the Knesset will be automatically dissolved and Israel will head to elections.

Direct Poll surveyed 600 people, all 18 or older.

Direct Polls said that “the internal polls that we have conducted over the past several months indicate that Yemina and New Hope [another party in the ruling coalition led by Gideon Saar] are shrinking to a combined seven seats. Each has a loyal electorate equivalent to about two seats, and the remaining three keep going back and forth between the two parties. The events of the last two weeks have caused these voters to migrate [from Yemina] to New Hope, which after a few weeks once again garners four seats in our polls.”

Yemina has been bogged down by several incidents over the last two weeks. MK Shirley Pinto stoked right-wing ire when she accused Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu of using the anniversary of Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination to claim victimhood. On Friday, Bennett reportedly saying behind closed doors that he believes the coalition will not survive long enough for Foreign Minister Yair Lapid to rotate into the premiership. And on Sunday, MK Idit Silman was accused of seeking to defect to Lapid’s Yesh Atid.

To serve in the Knesset, parties must win a minimum of 3.25 percent of the vote — the equivalent of four Knesset seats. Direct Poll found Yamina only receiving 2.9% of the vote. Yamina’s religious core supporters don’t approve of Bennett’s partnership with the secular, centrist Yesh Atid.

According to the survey, Likud would take 35 seats, easily becoming the Knesset’s largest party. Yesh Atid would be the next largest party with 20 seats.

The breakdown of the remaining parties was Shas (9 seats), United Torah Judaism (8), Blue and White, Yisrael Beiteinu, Labor, Religious Zionism and the Joint Arab List (7 seats each), followed by Ra’am (5), and Meretz and New Hope (4 seats each).

Those numbers would give the right wing-religious bloc 59 seats, two short of a Knesset majority.

Israel’s March elections was the fourth in two years, with neither the right nor the center-left blocs able to muster a clear mandate to lead. Much of the political paralysis from those elections centered on Netanyahu, who is on trial for charges of fraud, breach of trust and accepting bribes.