Channel 12 poll shows Liberman still holds the key to Netanyahu’s next coalition

A Channel 12 election poll shows a neck-and-neck race between Likud and Blue and White — and to Netanyahu’s boundless frustration, the deciding vote is in the hands of Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu party.

The poll’s numbers, if the election is held today:

Likud – 31
Blue and White – 30
Arab parties, if they unite – 11
Yisrael Beytenu – 10
United Torah Judaism – 8
Shas – 7
Labor – 6
New Right – 5
Union of Right-wing Parties – 4
Meretz – 4
Ehud Barak’s Israel Democratic Party – 4
Zehut – 0 (at 1.7% of votes, it falls under the 3.25% electoral threshold)

That puts a comfortable right-wing coalition (Likud, UTJ, Shas, New Right, URWP) at 55 seats, not a majority in the 120-seat Knesset — and hands Yisrael Beytenu the 10-seat swing vote.

Netanyahu and Liberman are bitter rivals after the latter’s demands on religion-and-state issues robbed Netanyahu of a coalition following the April 9 election.

Channel 12 also looked at the effect of a unified left-wing bloc of Labor, Israel Democratic Party and Meretz. The union took 15 seats, more than the 14 the parties garnered separately — and cost Blue and White two seats, dropping the larger centrist party to 28. Likud was unchanged at 31.

A union on the far-right would also have an effect. If Ayelet Shaked, the popular former justice minister, were to lead the URWP in a joint list with New Right, the combined faction would draw 12 seats, three more than the two parties separately — and rob Likud of three, driving it down to 28.

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