Polls: Sa’ar’s new party could oust Netanyahu

According to the polls, the New Hope party would gain between 15 to 18 seats in the Knesset, making it the second largest party behind Likud’s projected 25 to 27 seats.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Polls from three major Israeli news networks on Wednesday show that Gideon Sa’ar’s New Hope party could potentially disrupt Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Likud party’s long-standing control of the Israeli political system.

Sa’ar, a veteran Likud lawmaker who was once considered a successor to Netanyahu, resigned from the Knesset on Wednesday after declaring his intention to establish a new right-wing party, called New Hope.

In a speech on Tuesday evening, he said, “Likud has changed its character dramatically in recent years. I can no longer support the Netanyahu-led government or be a member of a Likud party led by him… Today, Israel needs unity and stability — Netanyahu can offer neither.”

According to the polls from Kan News, Channel 12 and Channel 13, New Hope would gain between 15 to 18 seats in the Knesset, making it the second largest party behind Likud’s projected 25 to 27 seats.

Center-left opposition party Yesh Atid would win 15 seats and the Arab Joint List alliance would win 11.

Sephardic haredi party Shas would win 8 seats, and Ashkenazi haredi party United Torah Judaism would win 7.

If the polls are accurate, this could mean that the next round of elections has the potential to oust Netanyahu from power.

New Hope could join a coalition with Yesh Atid, right-wing Yamina (17 projected seats) and Yisrael Beitenu (7 projected seats) parties, both of whom have pledged to never join forces with Netanyahu, and form a government without Likud.

The Blue and White party, led by alternate prime minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz, would likely fare badly in upcoming elections, with a projected 5 to 7 seats won.

After winning 33 seats in the March 2020, Gantz’s decision to join the coalition with Netanyahu was viewed as a betrayal by many of the party’s voters. Blue and White had previously promised to never join forces with Netanyahu.

Former Blue and White MKs Tzvi Hauser and Yoaz Hendel have already declared their intention to join Sa’ar’s party.

The polls are operating under the assumption that general elections will take place in March 2021. Blue and White voted for a bill to disperse the Knesset and call new elections earlier this week, with March 16th posed as a potential new election date.

The bill still needs to pass additional readings in the Knesset.

Blue and White and Likud have long been locked in a stalemate over the national budget. If no budget is passed by December 23rd, the Knesset will be automatically dissolved.

However, there is a possibility that Blue and White and Likud will figure out a last-minute compromise to avoid general elections in March 2021, which are projected to hurt both parties.