Israel Elections: Poll finds Bennett will decide who is prime minister

Either Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid can form a coalition with Naftali Bennett’s backing.

NAFTALI BENNETT – his character holds a truly promising advantage: he doesn’t hate.  (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
NAFTALI BENNETT – his character holds a truly promising advantage: he doesn’t hate.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Yamina leader Naftali Bennett will be the kingmaker after the March 23 election, according to a Panels Research poll taken for 103 FM, which is part of The Jerusalem Post Group.
Bennett has said he would recommend himself to form a government when party representatives visit President Reuven Rivlin for consultations after the votes are counted and the seats are tabulated. It is unlikely that any other party would recommend him unless Yamina fares dramatically better than polls predict.

But his 11 seats could help crown either Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid.

The poll, which was the first taken by Panels pollster Menachem Lazar since lists for the election were set Thursday night, found that Netanyahu’s Likud maintained its commanding lead over all other parties.

The survey was taken before Netanyahu went to court for his trial.

It predicted 30 seats for Likud, 18 for Yesh Atid, 14 for New Hope, 11 for Yamina, eight each for the Joint List and Shas, seven each for United Torah Judaism and Yisrael Beytenu and five for Labor.

Three parties narrowly crossed the 3.25% electoral threshold with four seats: Blue and White, the Religious Zionist Party and Meretz.
The New Economy Party and Ra’am (United Arab List) were among the 27 parties running in the election that would not cross the threshold.

The 49 seats predicted for parties that support Netanyahu forming a government – Likud, Shas, United Torah Judaism and the Religious Zionist Party – could be supplemented by Yamina’s 11 to nearly enable Netanyahu to build a coalition.

The 52 seats predicted for parties opposing Netanyahu forming a government – Yesh Atid, New Hope, Yisrael Beytenu, Labor, Meretz and Blue and White – could also be supplemented by Yamina’s 11 to enable Lapid to build a coalition.

The Joint List is not included in either calculation because its leaders have said they would support neither Netanyahu nor Lapid.