A recent poll reveals that a new right-wing liberal party, potentially spearheaded by former minister Yoaz Hendel, could clinch up to seven seats in the Knesset.
The survey results indicate a rising tide of support for a theoretical right-wing liberal party in Israel. This potential new party could stem from deep-seated divisions in Israeli society regarding judicial reforms, and ongoing debates on religion-state matters.
Dr. Menachem Lazar, the lead researcher behind this intriguing study conducted between August 30-31, 2023, commented on the shifting political sands. "The proposed liberal right-wing party, born out of societal rifts over legal reforms, mirrors the support seen in our March survey – 10 seats, a slight decrease from 11 earlier."
Five hundred and twelve participants, reflecting the diverse demographic of Israel's adult population – both Jews and Arabs – were surveyed. The data reveals that secular voters would be the primary backbone of this party, complemented by a significant portion of traditional voters.
Who would vote for a right-wing party helmed by Yoaz Hendel?
Digging deeper into political affiliations, Lazar said, "The party finds pronounced backing among past voters of the Likud and Religious Zionist factions." The political terrain seems even more promising with the possibility of former minister Yoaz Hendel of the Derekh Eretz faction taking the reins. "When Hendel is projected as the party's leader, it clinches 7.4% of the vote, translating to seven seats," Lazar detailed, marking an uptick from previous polls.
On the grander scale of coalition politics, Lazar outlined, "While the current opposition stands at 61 seats, they might lean on this new party to ensure governmental stability."
Highlighting the demographics, Lazar added, "Secular respondents displayed the most enthusiasm, with 5.4% firmly backing the party." Traditionalists too, in line with past surveys, are warming up to this entity. "Thirty-two percent of traditionalists are mulling over their support, and a noticeable 27% lean towards an affirmative vote."
However, not all segments share this enthusiasm. Lazar pointed out, "The ultra-orthodox and religious communities register the highest resistance, especially the latter, with many leaning towards a 'probably not'."
Lazar emphasized the potential shift among the supporters of the existing coalition. "A sizable chunk of those who endorsed the present coalition parties now appear receptive to this new right-liberal vision. Specifically, 5.4% are committed, and 30% of this group hint at throwing their weight behind such a party."
Fourty-eight-year-old Hendel served as Israel's communications minister, was a part of the security cabinet, and chaired the Derekh Eretz Party. Hendel initially joined politics with Blue and White in 2019, then founded and led Derekh Eretz in 2020. As of January 2023, he's taking a break from politics. There are a number of groups of politicians or future politicians trying to figure out how they can create such a party, yet none of them have yet been public.