Poll: Union of moderate right-wing leaders Bennett, Sa’ar, Cohen would win 32 seats, be well-placed to form coalition

Former prime minister Naftali Bennett (L) at a court hearing in Tel Aviv, September 11, 2023 (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90); Minister Gideon Sa'ar at the Knesset, Jerusalem, April 1, 2024 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90); Ex-Mossad chief Yossi Cohen at HaKirya base in Tel Aviv, January 16, 2023 (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90).
Former prime minister Naftali Bennett (L) at a court hearing in Tel Aviv, September 11, 2023 (Avshalom Sassoni/Flash90); Minister Gideon Sa'ar at the Knesset, Jerusalem, April 1, 2024 (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90); Ex-Mossad chief Yossi Cohen at HaKirya base in Tel Aviv, January 16, 2023 (Tomer Neuberg/Flash90).

If former prime minister Naftali Bennett, ex-Mossad chief Yossi Cohen and MK Gideon Sa’ar were to join forces to form a new moderate right-wing party ahead of the next elections, they would win 32 seats, sailing ahead of war cabinet Minister Benny Gantz’s National Unity faction, according to a new poll, and would thus be well-placed to form a governing coalition.

The Channel 13 survey finds that if the three right-wing leaders were to team up, Prime Minister Netanyahu’s Likud party and Gantz’s National Unity would each get only 15 seats and Opposition Leader Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid would get 8 seats, while a union of left-wing parties Labor and Meretz under the leadership of former IDF deputy chief of staff Yair Golan would get 9 seats. (Channel 13 does not present the number of seats for other parties in such a scenario.)

In such a case, the survey found, a right-wing bloc — comprising the new Bennett-Cohen-Sa’ar party, Likud, the far-right parties of Itamar Ben Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich, and the two ultra-Orthdox parties — would gain a whopping 79 seats, as compared to 32 seats for the center-left bloc, with nine seats for the predominantly Arab political parties.

However, if elections were held today without any changes to the current party list, the poll finds that Gantz’s National Unity would be the largest party in the Knesset with 30 seats, up from its current 12.

The poll gives the Likud party 20 seats, half its current 32 but up from recent wartime polls, while the third biggest party in the Knesset would be Yesh Atid, with 15 seats, down from its current 24.

According to the poll, Yisrael Beytenu would get 11 seats (up from the 6 it won in 2022), Itamar Ben Gvir’s far-right Otzma Yehudit would get 9 seats (it won 14 in an alliance with Religious Zionism in 2022),  Shas would get 8 (down from 11), and United Torah Judaism would stay stable at 7.

Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich’s Religious Zionism party would get 7 seats, Hadash-Taal would stay stable at 5 seats, Ra’am would drop to 4 seats (from 5) and Labor would stay stable on 4, just passing the electoral threshold, the poll finds.

Meretz, the Arab Balad party and Sa’ar’s New Hope party, recently split from National Unity, would all fall below the threshold to enter the Knesset, according to the Channel 13 poll.

National Unity party chair Benny Gantz holds a press conference at the Knesset in Jerusalem, March 13, 2024.(Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

In terms of blocs, the poll finds that Gantz would be well-placed to form a coalition if elections were held today — assuming no changes to the political map. The parties in Netanyahu’s prewar coalition would get 51 Knesset seats compared to the 64 they won in the November 2022 elections, while parties in the previous ruling coalition would win 64 seats in the 120-member Knesset.

After a week of heightened tensions between Israel and Iran, Channel 13 reports that these poll results represent the strongest support for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition since war erupted in Gaza with Hamas’s October 7 massacre.

When asked when the elections should be held, 37 percent of respondents say they should take place as scheduled in October 2026, 33% would like to see a vote by the end of 2024, and 30% want to go to the polls immediately.

Most Popular