Ya’alon: I won’t block a right-wing government
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Ya’alon: I won’t block a right-wing government

Former DM, set to head a new party in next elections, ridicules TV report that said his faction could help muster enough seats to prevent a Likud-led coalition

Former Defense Minister Moshe 'Bogie' Ya'alon speaks at a cultural event in Tel Aviv on March 4, 2017. (Flash90)
Former Defense Minister Moshe 'Bogie' Ya'alon speaks at a cultural event in Tel Aviv on March 4, 2017. (Flash90)

Former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon said Sunday that he would not use his planned new party to prevent the formation of a right-wing coalitions after the next elections.

Ya’alon was responding to a Friday Channel 2 survey poll which showed his unnamed new party heading for four seats in the Knesset, and potentially serving as one of a group of parties that could muster 60 seats and thus prevent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu from forming the next government.

“I won’t be the one that would prevent the formation of a right-wing government,” Ya’alon said.

“The attempt to connect him (Ya’alon) with the left-wing preventative bloc along with the Joint (Arab) List is ridiculous. Bogie (represents) the sane, responsible right,” a statement from his office added, using Ya’alon’s nickname.

Leader of the Yesh Atid party Yair Lapid, at a press conference announcing seven heads of local authorities across Israel who were joining his party on March 07, 2017 (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)
Leader of the Yesh Atid party, Yair Lapid, at a press conference announcing seven heads of local authorities across Israel who were joining his party on March 7, 2017 (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90)

The Channel 2 poll indicated that if national elections were held today, Netanyahu’s Likud party could find it very difficult to form a coalition and might even find itself in the opposition along with a number of its current right-wing coalition partners. It gave Yesh Atid 26 seats, to the Likud’s 22.

Illustrative of results from Friday Channel 2 poll shown in i24News report on March 12, 2017. (Screen capture/i24News)

Illustrative of results from Friday Channel 2 poll shown in i24News report on March 12, 2017. (Screen capture/i24News)

Presenting the survey, Channel 2 recognized that pollsters had wrongly predicted the results of the US elections, the UK Brexit vote and Israel’s 2015 elections. Nonetheless, it noted that such surveys are taken seriously by Israel’s politicians and that upcoming leadership primaries in the Jewish Home and Zionist Union parties underline the growing sense in Israel that elections are imminent if Netanyahu’s legal problems — he is being probed over two sets of graft allegations — intensify.

According to the poll results, the Yesh Atid party could form a bloc, made up of its 26 seats, center-left Zionist Union’s 11 seats, the left-wing Meretz’s 6 seats, the Joint (Arab) List’s 13 seats, and the 4 seats belonging to the new party recently announced by Ya’alon. This would give them 60 seats out of the 120 in the Knesset and, according to Channel 2, could force Netanyahu to form a national unity government with Lapid in this scenario.

For the first time, the survey outcomes suggested that Lapid’s party was gaining at the expense of right-wing parties Likud and Jewish Home rather than just the Zionist Union as had been indicated in the past. This too improves Yesh Atid’s chances to form the next government.

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