Netanyahu and Lapid at a cabinet meeting in October 2014..
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
The crisis over Israel Railways work on Shabbat and the inconvenience caused to commuters due to train shutdowns caused grave harm to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party, according to a poll broadcast on Channel 2 Tuesday.
The poll, taken by Midgam pollster Mano Geva, found that for the first time, former finance minister Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party had passed the Likud, receiving 24 seats to the Likud’s 22. Lapid’s party has been rising in the polls since last year’s election, when the party fell from 19 seats to 11.
Bayit Yehudi would win 14 seats according to the poll, the Zionist Union 13, Joint List 13, Yisrael Beytenu 10, United Torah Judaism seven, Shas six, Kulanu six, and Meretz five.
Similar to a Jerusalem Post poll that was published on Friday, the Channel 2 poll found that support for former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon had fallen dramatically.
Yesh Atid made a point of not releasing a response to the poll.
“The numbers speak for themselves,” a source close to Lapid said. “This is just a poll. We are keeping our champagne for the election.”
Likud officials responded that they were not concerned by the poll. They recalled polls that predicted the party would win 18 seats in last year’s election, in which the Likud ended up winning 30.
The Likud officials blamed the results on the train scandal, which they predicted would not resume. They said Lapid was not a political threat, because the impression in the haredi (ultra-Orthodox) community that he is a secularist would prevent him from forming a coalition with United Torah Judaism or Shas.
“Likud voters will come back when they understand that Lapid is a leftist who heads a leftist party that will lead to diplomatic concessions and withdrawals that will endanger Israel’s security – something the Likud under Netanyahu will not do,” a Likud official said.