A snap opinion poll published by Channel 12 showed that the Yamina party, whose leadership was publicly handed over by outgoing Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to his colleague Ayelet Shaked on Wednesday evening, would get five seats if elections were held now. According to the survey, were Shaked to then align Yamina with Benjamin Netanyahu and his existing allies, a Netanyahu-led bloc would control 63 seats in the next Knesset, more than enough to form a governing coalition.
The survey, carried out on Wednesday via phone and internet among 505 eligible voters, had a 4.4 percent margin of error. Israeli election opinion polls frequently prove inaccurate and the Wednesday survey was taken before Bennett had formally announced he was quitting politics and transferring the Yamina leadership to Shaked.
Bennett’s announcement immediately prompted the resignation of Yamina’s CEO Stella Weinstein; Deputy Religious Affairs Minister Matan Kahana indicated that he would leave Yamina, and several of its other MKs are also set to leave the party.
Shaked, who is interior minister, is a declared potential ally of Netanyahu’s and said last week she was ready to sit in an alternate government under his leadership if one could be formed even without resorting to elections.
Long-shot efforts by Likud to form a government in the current Knesset appear to have failed, however, and after repeated delays Wednesday, lawmakers were expected Thursday to approve the final readings of a law to disperse for new elections.
Shaked’s stance contrasts sharply with that of Bennett, who said in farewell interviews over the weekend that a solely right-wing government would be “a disaster” for Israel. Announcing that he would not run in the next elections, which are set for the fall, Bennett on Wednesday evening reiterated his belief that “both halves [of the political spectrum] together need to build a large and good government.”
According to the Channel 12 poll, conducted by Midgam / Mano Geva, the parties would score as follows: Likud: 34 seats; Yesh Atid: 20; Blue and White: 9; Religious Zionism: 9; Shas: 8; United Torah Judaism: 7; Joint List: 6; Labor: 5; Yisrael Beytenu: 5; Yamina (led by Shaked): 5; Ra’am: 4; Meretz: 4, and New Hope: 4.
Those results would give Netanyahu’s existing bloc of Likud, Religious Zionism, Shas and UTJ 58 seats in the 120-member Knesset. A partnership with Yamina would lift it to 63 — enabling Netanyahu to muster a majority coalition.
The outgoing coalition parties, without Yamina, would be left with 51 seats, while the mainly Arab Joint List, which has vowed not to partner with either bloc in a coalition, would hold six unaligned seats.
The survey also found that an alliance of Blue and White and New Hope parties would yield 15 seats, a better showing than they have seen recently in polls when running separately.