Kafe Knesset for November 3
Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu. Photo by GPO
Just as PM Netanyahu took off to London, two new television-sponsored polls were published, giving him some troubling news for the weekend. If elections were held today, both polls showed, Likud would remain the largest party, but Netanyahu would be losing power. A Channel 2 poll gave the Likud 24 seats – six less than in the current Knesset, followed by the Zionist Union and Avi Gabai with 21 seats and Yesh Atid with 20 seats, Jewish Home and the Joint Arab list with 12 mandates each, Kulanu with 8, UTJ with 7, Israel Beitenu and Meretz with 6, and Shas with only 4. A Channel 10 poll gave the Likud 26 seats, Yesh Atid – 22, Zionist Union 19, Joint List 12, Jewish Home 11, Kulanu 7, UTJ 6, Israel Beietenu 5 and Shas 4. The most interesting figure of this poll goes to Left wing Meretz, whose popularity spiked up to give them 9 seats, compared to the 5 they have today, and overall – with Gabai and Lapid – bringing the Jewish center-left anti-Bibi bloc to start at 49.
The rise in Meretz’s popularity is attributed to Left wing peaceniks who are abandoning the Zionist Union in the wake of Avi Gabai’s attempts to expand the party’s electorate, which appears to be succeeding. While polls are taken here with a big grain of salt, a common observation about the latest numbers was that they brush off any speculation that Netanyahu might be inclined to take the country to early elections in order to avoid or stall criminal procedures. Moreover, pundits and analysts have identified a trend: a steady decline in the Likud’s standing. The crazy campaign Netanyahu and his loyalists have been waging against the media and law enforcement authorities, might consolidate the Likud base, but apparently it is driving other voters away.