Yair Lapid and Isaac Herzog.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Yesh Atid passed Likud by three seats in a poll released by Channel 10 Friday, but the Right maintained a majority of the Knesset.
If an election were held last week, citizens would give Yesh Atid 27 seats and Likud 23. Yesh Atid currently holds 11 seats in the Knesset, while Likud is the largest faction with 30.
However, nearly twice as many people think Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is the best candidate for prime minister (27%). Yesh Atid leader MK Yair Lapid (15%) was in second, former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon followed with 9%, then Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett with 7%, followed by 5% for opposition leader Isaac Herzog (Zionist Union).
Other results of the poll conducted by Dr. Ariel Ayalon and Stat Net show Bayit Yehudi rising from eight to 12 seats, tied with the Joint List, which dropped one from its current 13. Yisrael Beytenu would grow to 10 seats from six.
Zionist Union dropped 16 seats from its 24, ending up with eight, and Kulanu lost three of its 10 seats.
Rounding out the rest of the survey was Shas with eight seats, a one-seat increase; a one-seat increase for Meretz, bringing them to six; and United Torah Judaism, who would retain all seven of their seats from the last election.
The current political realities would make it easier for the Likud to form a coalition with these poll results, even though they fell three seats behind Yesh Atid.
If the same parties that are in the 34th government would join the 35th government, the coalition would amount to 67 seats.
The haredi parties have vowed not to sit in a coalition with Yesh Atid. Bayit Yehudi, which opposes a Palestinian state, would also likely have difficulty doing so, and Arab parties have never been part of a coalition. Assuming the Likud would prefer to be the largest party in the opposition, Lapid would be left with only 58 seats, not enough for a 61-seat majority.
Still, the poll found that 31% had yet to decide how they would vote.
Shas leader Arye Deri confirmed that his party would not join a Lapid-led coalition on Channel 10 Saturday night, adding that he would recommend the leader of the largest right-wing party as the next prime minister. He also called 27 seats for Yesh Atid an “imaginary” scenario.
Herzog shrugged off the poll at a Saturday cultural event in Haifa, saying: “If polls were always right, Hillary [Clinton] would be president, Brexit would have failed, the referendum in Colombia would have worked and the prime minister of Italy would have won, so I suggest everyone calm down.”
The Zionist Union leader said his party had done better in other polls, and Likud and Yesh Atid both dropped significantly in the past and later improved their political standing.
Herzog maintained that he would be the next prime minister.
“I will replace Netanyahu at elections – not because of an investigation,” he stated. “Before me stand two leaders.
One, Netanyahu, who has completely lost control, and another, Lapid, who doesn’t talk about the important issues at all... and therefore the public will wise up eventually.”
Herzog called Netanyahu intelligent, but weak, claiming the prime minister refuses to make the important, historic decisions that come with the position.Daniel J. Roth and Laura Sigal contributed to this report.