Israel’s right-wing bloc could succeed in garnering 61 seats, a poll by 103FM showed for the first time since elections were called. However, that is only if Naftali Bennett’s Yamina Party agrees to sit with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
If the upcoming Knesset elections were held today, the Likud Party would get 32 seats, New Hope would get 14 seats, Yamina would get 13 seats, United Torah Judaism and Shas would each get eight seats.
This would give Netanyahu 61 seats, a slim parliamentary majority. If Gideon Sa’ar, head of New Hope, decides to join as well, the bloc would reach 75 seats.
Although Sa’ar has declared that he would not sit with Netanyahu, Bennett has not. Bennett did sit in the opposition against Netanyahu in the outgoing Knesset and has called to replace the government but has refrained from vowing not to sit under him in a future coalition.
On the other side, Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid would get 19 seats, giving him the ability to form a coalition with Bennett, Sa’ar, Meretz (4 seats), Yisrael Beytenu (7 seats), Labor (5 seats). This coalition would give Lapid 62 seats in the Knesset.
According to the poll, the Joint List would get 10 seats but would not be needed for a coalition government.
Defense Minister and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz’s Blue and White Party, MK Bezalel Smotrich’s Religious Zionist Party (formerly the National Union), the Otzma Yehudit Party, Ron Huldai’s Israelis Party and Yaron Zelekha’s Economy Party would not succeed in crossing the electoral threshold.
If, however, the Religious Zionist Party were to join with Otzma Yehudit and the Noam Party, the list would earn five seats and the Likud, Yesh Atid, Yamina and New Hope would each lose a seat, according to the poll.
Additionally, if Labor and the Israelis Party were to join together, the two would earn a total of seven seats and Lapid and Sa’ar would each lose a seat.
The poll also asked respondents if they wanted to see haredi (ultra-Orthodox) MKs in the next coalition, to which 52% responded that they preferred a coalition without haredim and only 30% responded that they were interested in a coalition with haredim.
Huldai expressed alarm at the poll results, calling on the parties in the left-wing bloc to join together into one list.
“In order to change the government, we must convene today and produce one strong list from Yesh Atid, Labor, Zelekha, Blue and White, [Ofer] Shelah and the Israelis. Everyone will give up something, but together we will save Israel,” tweeted Huldai. “Running in the current format will lead to one result: a Netanyahu-immunity-rabbis government.”
In an answer to a question on why Labor doesn’t merge with Meretz to cross the threshold, Labor leader Merav Michaeli stated that “Meretz is our sister party. We aren’t competing with Meretz. We are back as the main party in the Center-Left. Our votes should not come at the expense of Meretz.”
In response to Blue and White’s failure to pass the electoral threshold in the 103FM poll, Michaeli added that “Blue and White rightly do not pass the electoral threshold. They finished with a whimper when Gantz, [Itzik] Shmuli and [Amir] Peretz essentially became a Likud faction and all Blue and White voters had to return home. You now have a home. There is nothing to talk about concerning Blue and White, but to Blue and White voters I call to return home.”