The leader of the Israeli Right is not Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu but Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali Bennett, according to a Panels Politics poll taken on Monday for the Knesset Channel.
The poll asked who best represents the views of the Right, giving Netanyahu, Bennett and Foreign Minister and Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor Liberman as choices.
Thirty-nine percent said Bennett, 28% said Netanyahu and 20% Liberman.
“Bayit Yehudi has finished in second place in 11 of the last 12 polls conducted over the last two months,” said Bayit Yehudi official Jeremy Saltan, who analyzes polls on his website KnessetJeremy.com.
“Bennett finished second to the prime minister in many polls who asked who is most fit to be prime minister. He has the most internal support of all democratic [primary] party leaders. The discussion today should be on Bennett and Bayit Yehudi. It is time we crown Bennett the new leader of the Right.”
The poll found that there is confusion regarding Liberman’s views. When asked about his campaign slogan that “his word is his bond,” 46% said it was not true and only 31% said it was correct.
Asked to place Liberman on the political map, 50% said he was right of the Likud, 30% as right-wing and 2% as left-wing.
Asked about his diplomatic plan, 32% guessed that he would not relinquish any land, 29% said correctly that he favors an exchange of populations and territories, 5% said he wanted two states for two peoples, and 4% predicted that he would support returning to pre-1967 borders, including in Jerusalem.
A Yisrael Beytenu official said in response that the party, its image and platform had suffered because of its partnership with the Likud. He said it created confusion in the minds of some voters about what the party stood for and allowed other newer parties to take its traditional standpoints on key issues.
“However, now that we have returned to being a faction in our own right I think it will become clearer again what the party stands for and carry on being the party which sets a large part of the national agenda as we did with our long-standing policies, including, service for all, government and political reform and loyalty to one’s state and society. As was achieved in every election where we have run independently, we are confident that Yisrael Beytenu will continue to grow and gain more support.”
The poll found that if elections were held now, the Likud would win 26 Knesset seats, Bayit Yehudi 19, Labor 18, Yesh Atid and Meretz 10 and Yisrael Beytenu eight. A poll for The Jerusalem Post published on Friday gave Yisrael Beytenu 17 seats.
The Panels poll predicted United Torah Judaism would win eight seats, Shas seven, Hatnua and Balad four, and Hadash and the United Arab List three each. Kadima did not pass the electoral threshold in the poll and former welfare minister Moshe Kahlon’s party-in-themaking was not included.