MK Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party would easily defeat Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu’s Likud Beytenu if an election were to take place now, according to a
Panels poll taken on Wednesday for Sof Hashavua, The Jerusalem Post’s weekend
sister newspaper in Hebrew.
The poll found that Yesh Atid would win 30
Knesset seats, Likud Beytenu 22, Bayit Yehudi 15, Labor 13, Shas nine, Meretz
seven, United Torah Judaism six, Hadash and The Tzipi Livni Party four each,
United Arab List and Strong Israel three each, and Kadima and Balad two
The poll had 503 respondents representing a statistical sample of
the adult Israeli population, and a margin of error of 4.3 percentage
When asked what Netanyahu’s main consideration is in building his
coalition, 59 percent of the respondents said personal issues, 24% said the good
of the country, and 17% had no idea.
Netanyahu also fared poorly when
respondents were asked which politicians they trusted, but not quite as badly as
his new coalition partner, Tzipi Livni. Sixty-five percent said they did not
trust Netanyahu and 31% said they did. When asked about Livni, 69% said they did
not trust her and 27% said they did.
Lapid, Bayit Yehudi chairman Naftali
Bennett and Labor chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich all received favorable results on
the trust question.
For Lapid, 59% said they trusted him and 36% said
they did not. Bennett's numbers were almost as good: 54% said they trusted him
and 36% said they did not.
With Yacimovich, 48% trusted her and 47% did
President Shimon Peres could initiate another election if Netanyahu
fails to form a government by the March 15 deadline. The prime minister’s
associates have talked about forming a coalition of 57 MKs, and then telling
Bennett ahead of the deadline to either join or initiate an election the Right
Likud Beytenu will hold its first coalition negotiations with
Bayit Yehudi in more than a week on Friday morning at Ramat Gan’s Kfar Maccabiah
Hotel. Sources in Bayit Yehudi said they would discuss the as yet unpassed 2013
state budget, how to equalize the burden of IDF service and more matters of
The sources said they would try to reopen the coalition deal
Netanyahu signed on Tuesday with Livni, in which she was given the Justice
portfolio and authority over negotiations with the Palestinians.
is no reason why we cannot advance and reach an agreement on a government led by
the nationalist camp,” a Likud source said.
But Bayit Yehudi’s alliance
with Yesh Atid has made forming a government much more difficult. Bennett and
Lapid met on Thursday with Kadima chairman Shaul Mofaz to coordinate
A Bayit Yehudi source said after the meeting that he believed
all three parties would end up joining the coalition.
Channel 10 reported
that in closed conversations, Lapid said there was no longer a reason to join
the government and for him to become foreign minister, because Livni had already
been given authority over negotiations with the Palestinians.
on Facebook that he would not compromise on his principles even if it meant
going to the opposition.
He criticized Netanyahu, saying the prime
minister could have formed a productive, civil government with minimal effort
two weeks ago.
Likud Beytenu’s negotiating team met late on Thursday with
UTJ and was set to meet with Shas on Friday afternoon.
A group of Likud
activists wrote on Thursday that Netanyahu was sacrificing his party’s
principles by seeking a coalition deal with Shas and UTJ instead of Yesh Atid
and Bayit Yehudi. They said they would draft a petition and send it to
The head of the Shomron Regional Council, Gershon Mesika, who
is a power broker in the Likud, condemned the agreement with Livni.
let Tzipi Livni conduct these negotiations, is like saying that a serious
traffic offender can be the chief of the Traffic Police,” Mesika
“We all still remember the folly of the  Annapolis
Conference. Tzipi Livni is currently the most extreme representative of the Oslo
concept around, and the only one who still speaks about it, while even Meretz
keeps it hidden today.”