Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and former foreign minister Avigdor Liberman’s
joint Likud-Yisrael Beytenu list has gained support for the first time in more
than a month, according to a Smith Research poll conducted this week for The
Jerusalem Post and the financial newspaper Globes.
The poll found that
Likud Beytenu rose two seats from 32 to 34, while Naftali Bennett’s Bayit Yehudi
party, which had risen steadily over the past month, fell from 16 seats to
The Likud credited former foreign minister Tzipi Livni for the list’s
rise. Party officials said her failed efforts over the past week to unite the Center-Left
persuaded voters to return to Likud Beytenu from its satellite
“Right-wing voters are returning, because they are starting to
understand that in this election, it is important to strengthen the Likud in the
face of attempts by the Left to return to power and push Israel to divide
Jerusalem and return to pre-1967 borders,” said coalition chairman MK Ze’ev
Elkin, who heads the party’s campaign in the national- religious
Elkin said it was important for Likud Beytenu to win more votes
than the three largest Center-Left parties combined in order to prevent
President Shimon Peres from allowing them to form the next
The poll found that Likud Beytenu’s 34 seats trailed the 36
from the combination on the Left: Labor would win 18 mandates, Yesh Atid 10 and
The Tzipi Livni Party eight if the election were held now. Livni’s party, which
was expected to win 10 mandates, fell in other polls as well, due to her
unsuccessful political maneuver.
Senior Likud officials expressed
satisfaction with Livni’s fall in the polls. They expressed hope that Kadima
would rise at The Tzipi Livni Party’s expense and become a convenient coalition
party that could balance out right-wing parties.
“It is clear as the sun
that we would be much more comfortable with Kadima than with Livni,” a senior
Likud official said.
Labor chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich downplayed the
Likud’s rise, noting at a party event in Beersheba that only 21 of the top 34
candidates on the joint Likud Beytenu list are Likudniks.
that Labor would rise from 18 seats and overcome Likud as the largest
The poll, which was conducted on Tuesday and Wednesday,
predicted that Shas would win 10 seats and United Torah Judaism would take six.
Meretz, Ta’al-United Arab List and Hadash would each earn four seats, while Am
Shalem and Balad would take three apiece, and Kadima would win two mandates. The
poll surveyed 870 people representing a statistical sample of the adult
population and had an error margin of just 3.3 percentage points.
hawkish Strong Israel party was close to passing the 2% electoral threshold, as
was the anti-corruption party Eretz Chadasha and Sephardi preacher Amnon
Yitzhak’s Koah Lehashpia (The Power to Influence) party. Both parties stood out
in election ads, with Eretz Chadasha accusing Attorney- General Yehuda Weinstein
of being part of a corrupt conspiracy and Yitzhak promising that he would lower
the cost of bread to NIS 1.
A Sarid Institute poll broadcast on Israel
Radio predicted that Koah Lehashpia would win four seats. A Geocartography poll
predicted that the pro-marijuana Green Leaf party would enter the Knesset with
Other polls also found that Likud Beytenu had risen. A
Ma’agar Mohot poll broadcast on Thursday night on Channel 2 predicted 38 seats
for Netanyahu’s list.
Netanyahu expressed optimism that his list would
continue to rise in the polls, speaking at a Likud Beytenu event on Thursday
night in Rishon Lezion.
He promised that Rishon Lezion Councilman David
Bitan, who is No. 35 on the list, would enter the Knesset along with additional
“Running a country is not a children’s game,” the prime
minister told the crowd. “It requires a team.”