Poll shows Likud rising, Jewish Home and Livni’s Hatnua failing to enter Knesset

TV survey puts two centrist parties Yesh Atid and Benny Gantz’s Israel Resilience in second and third place, with each getting less than half of the seats of Netanyahu’s faction

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a handover ceremony for the new IDF chief of staff, on January 15, 2019, in Tel Aviv. (Jack Guez/AFP)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a handover ceremony for the new IDF chief of staff, on January 15, 2019, in Tel Aviv. (Jack Guez/AFP)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud would easily retain its status as the largest party in national elections, according to a television poll aired Wednesday, while a national-religious faction that has long been a pillar of Israeli politics would crash out of the Knesset.

The survey for Hadashot TV news comes ahead of elections on April 9 and amid a series of political shakeups that have fragmented parties on both the left and the right.

According to the poll, Likud would win 32 seats if elections were held today (up from 30 in the outgoing Knesset), followed by MK Yair Lapid’s centrist Yesh Atid party with 14 seats (up from 11).

Israel Resilience, a new party setup by popular former IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz, would finish third with 13 seats. Gantz is seen as Netanyahu’s main challenger for the premiership, with recent surveys putting him three percentage points behind Netanyahu as the public’s top choice for prime minister.

Following Gantz in the Hadashot poll was Labor with nine seats, half of its current total but up slightly from surveys taken in the wake of party leader’s Avi Gabbay surprise decision last month to disband the Zionist Union electoral alliance with Tzipi Livni’s Hatnua. The poll said Livni’s Hatnua would fail to clear the 3.25 percent electoral threshold needed to enter the Knesset.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett, left, with Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, at a faction meeting of the Jewish Home party at the Knesset on February 5, 2018. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

The New Right, which was formed last month by Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked with their break from the Jewish Home party, would win eight seats. Jewish Home, the successor to the historic National Religious Party that was a key coalition party in both left and right-wing governments, would fail to pick up enough votes to enter the Knesset, according to the survey.

United Torah Judaism, an alliance of two ultra-Orthodox parties, would get seven seats, while former Joint (Arab) List MK Ahmad Tibi’s party would get six seats. The Joint List, which Tibi broke with earlier this month, would also receive six seats, as would the ultra-Orthodox Shas party and former defense minister Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu.

Zionist Union chairman Avi Gabbay (L) announces the shock break up of the Zionist Union as his erstwhile partner, head of opposition Tzipi Livni, looks on, during a party faction meeting in the Knesset on January 1, 2019. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The left-wing Mertz party would pick up five seats, the survey said, while Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu would drop from 10 seats to just 4 following elections. Independent MK Orly Levy-Abekasis’s new Gesher party would also get 4 seats, while former Likud defense minister Moshe Ya’alon’s Telem party would fail to clear the electoral threshold.

The survey was carried out by Meno Geva and Mina Tzemach and included 1,000 respondents. It had a margin of error of 3.1%.

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