A majority of Israelis would endorse the party they voted for in the last election joining a coalition led by the Blue and White party, according to a survey released Sunday.
President Reuven Rivlin last month tasked Blue and White party chairman Benny Gantz with attempting to form a coalition after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed in the wake of the September elections, but Gantz’s chances of succeeding where Netanyahu failed are seen as just as slim.
According to the poll, 62% of Israelis favor the party that they voted for joining a coalition under Gantz. Among them, nearly half of right-wing voters support such a move.
The survey found that 48% of Likud voters approve and so do 49% of the erstwhile Yamina party, which has split into several factions following the vote.
Support for joining with Blue and White was significantly lower among the ultra-Orthodox parties, presumably because of Blue and White number two Yair Lapid’s strong secular rights history.
Both Blue and White and the secular right-wing Yisrael Beytenu party have called for a unity government with Likud, but without the other ultra-Orthodox and hard-right parties. Likud has refused to negotiate outside of Netanyahu’s 55-strong bloc of supporters.
The public support for compromise and joining a Blue and White government is largely due to aversion to a third election in under a year.
The survey found that 53% of Israelis would prefer to see a unity government formed. Only 17.5% want to go to a third vote and 13% would support a minority government that does not enjoy a majority of 61 seats in the Knesset. Seventeen percent were undecided or refused to state their preference.
The survey by the Israel Democracy Institute of 602 respondents was conducted by phone and internet on October 24-29, and had a margin of error of 3.7%.
In recent days speculation has focused on the three-person New Right faction possibly breaking with Netanyahu’s bloc of 55.
New Right party leader Naftali Bennett on Sunday warned that the right-wing bloc would suffer a “historic collapse” if a third election is called.
Bennett in recent days has hinted that he is ready to bolt Netanyahu’s 55-strong bloc of supporters for the sake of preventing fresh elections, with both Bennett and media reports floating the options of Netanyahu entering a government without him and vice versa.
Bennett said Saturday that he would be prepared to sit in the opposition if a Likud-Blue and White unity government is formed, telling Channel 12: “If I am an obstacle to forming a government, I release Netanyahu from any commitment to me and to the New Right and am ready to sit in the opposition. The main thing is to get a government established.”
Blue and White leaders have claimed the premier’s bloc is preventing them from forming a government. Netanyahu has insisted on negotiating on behalf of all 55 MKs; Blue and White has said the stance is a transparent ruse to ensure Gantz cannot form a government, dooming Israel to yet another election.
Negotiations between Likud and Gantz’s party have also snagged over Blue and White’s insistence it cannot support a Netanyahu premiership so long as he is suspected in three criminal cases — and may well be charged in them soon.
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