Netanyahu's hold on Knesset falls in polling after Liberman's resignation

Avigdor Liberman and his Yisrael Beitenu party fell to seven seats in the poll, taken in the hours after his resignation as defense minister.

November 14, 2018 20:23
2 minute read.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)


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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party would hold 29 seats in Knesset if elections were held today, a poll released by Channel 2 found on Wednesday.

The poll, the station said, was taken after Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman's resignation from his post, a move that has strained Netanyahu's coalition. Naftali Bennett (Bayit Yehudi), current education minister, has issued an ultimatum for the post, threatening to pull his party and its eight seats from the coalition.

Likud's number have steadily decreased since a high watermark of 31 seats in the March edition of the poll, the first of months-long Palestinian rioting along the border fence, dubbed the "Great March of Return. The Wednesday poll was the first time Netanyahu's Likud dipped below 30 seats.

Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid would gain 18 seats, while the Joint List earned 13 seats in the poll. Avi Gabbay's Zionist Union and Naftali Bennett's Bayit Yehudi both garnered 11 seats, while Moshe Kahlon's Kulanu had eight seats.

Liberman and his Yisrael Beitenu party fell to seven seats in the poll, while former Yisrael Beitenu MK Orly Levy-Abescias, who is forming her own party in the next election, held steady at five seats.

Shas and Meretz would both earn six seats, the poll found.

The station also surveyed what would happen if former IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz formed his own party, and found Netanyahu would gain 24 seats, Gantz 15 and Yesh Atid 13. Zionist Union would take only eight seats in the scenario, the poll found.

The poll also found a 74% disapproval rating of Netanyahu's handling of the security situation in the south, just after Israel and Hamas agreed to a ceasefire after almost 500 rockets were fired into Israeli territory from the coastal enclave, the largest-ever barrage.

In a separate poll taken by Kan, Israel's public broadcaster, 36% of respondents said Netanyahu did a "very bad" job with regards to Hamas and the week's violence. 29% said he did a "bad" job, 12% said he did a "good" job and 7% said he did a "very good" job. The poll also found 49% of respondents said Hamas won the last round of violence, with 14% saying Israel won and 15% said the two were equal.

64% of respondents were against the ceasefire, saying Israel should have expanded military operations in Gaza, while 21% said Israel needed to agree to the internationally-brokered ceasefire with Hamas.

Sderot residents protested the ceasefire Tuesday and Wednesday, burning tires and blocking roads near the town.

Nearly 60% of respondents said Liberman did a bad job as defense minister — 30% grading him as "very bad" and 27% as "bad." 19% said he did a "good" job and 6% said he did a "very good job."

The Kan poll, conducted by iPanel online polling institute, was conducted Wednesday and asked 500 people as a representative sample of Israeli residents. The error margin of the poll was not immediately available.

The Channel 2 poll, which asked 500 people, a representative sample of Israeli residents, had an error margin of 4.4%.

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