Arabs gave Likud a boost - poll

Huldai’s party fails to cross the threshold but Gantz does.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Knesset, as it disperses, sending Israel into elections in March, December 22, 2020.  (photo credit: KNESSET SPOKESPERSON/DANI SHEM TOV)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the Knesset, as it disperses, sending Israel into elections in March, December 22, 2020.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s efforts to woo Arab voters to his Likud Party is bearing fruit, a new Panels Research poll taken for Maariv by pollster Menachem Lazar found Thursday.
Likud rose by four seats since a survey by the same pollster a week ago. Two of those mandates came from Arab voters.
Netanyahu campaigned among Arab voters in Nazareth and Umm el-Fahm this week and expressed confidence that Likud could win several seats from Arab voters who could enable his party to win as many as 42 seats in the March 23 election.
The poll predicted 32 seats for Likud, 17 for New Hope, 14 for Yesh Atid, 12 for Yamina, 11 for the Joint List, eight each for United Torah Judaism and Shas, seven for Yisrael Beytenu, six for Meretz and five for Blue and White.
The Israelis Party of Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai, Labor and the parties of former MK Ofer Shelah and former accountant-general Yaron Zelekha were among the lists that failed to cross the 3.25% electoral threshold in the poll.
The poll of 518 respondents representing a statistical sample of the Israeli population was taken on Thursday and has a margin of error of 4.4% percent.
A day after Netanyahu gave a campaign speech in Nazareth, touting coexistence, Likud’s spokesman slammed the Joint List and called on Arab citizens to vote for them instead.
“We will not establish a government with [MK] Mansour Abbas or the Joint List. We will not lean on them after they opposed the peace agreements that bring Jews and Arabs closer,” the Likud spokesman stated. “Arab citizens of Israel support Likud led by Netanyahu because they are sick of wasting votes on the Joint List that sits in the opposition and does nothing for them.”
Abbas, head of the Ra’am (United Arab List) party within the Joint List, has taken a more conciliatory stance towards Netanyahu in recent months, advocating for cooperation with the government in order to help the Arab sector.
However, in recent weeks, Abbas has expressed his ire at Netanyahu for campaigning for Arab votes.
In a radio interview Thursday, Abbas took umbrage at Netanyahu for not giving him any credit for the plan to fight crime in the Arab sector.
“Netanyahu needs government approval for the plan to fight crime,” Abbas said. “We don’t expect credit or a good word from Netanyahu.”
Also Thursday, the Likud campaign denied a report on KAN that Netanyahu was excluding ministers from managing the campaign, contrary to past elections, and is only using professionals. A Likud spokesman called the report “nonsense.” However, a Likud source said no ministers have been asked to join the party’s election campaign thus far, and that the professional campaign managers don’t like working with the ministers.
Meanwhile, Labor will be the only party in Israel to hold primaries for its leader and Knesset slates following a ruling by the Supreme Court on Thursday. The court asked Labor to rescind its court case that asked for the primaries to be canceled and for the leader and the Knesset candidates to instead be elected only by the party’s activists. The party agreed to the request in a victory for Labor leadership candidate Meirav Michaeli.
“Now we can start rehabilitating the party and returning it to the front of the political stage,” said Michaeli. “A strong, renewed, real Labor Party will be a significant player in rebuilding our political camp.”
Michaeli will be challenged by advertising executive Gil Beilin and possibly by Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services Minister Itzik Shmuli in the primary, which will be held on January 24. A group of senior Labor activists wrote former prime minister and former Labor leader Ehud Barak on Thursday asking him to run.