The Jewish Home party, headed by Trade, Industry and Labor Minister Naftali Bennett, would win only three Knesset seats less than the leading Likud-Beiteinu party If elections were held today according to a new Knesset Channel poll.
Likud would win 22 seats, followed by Jewish Home with 19, Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party 16, Labor 15, Meretz 12 and the other parties less than five each.
The poll’s results are missing some data because the total number of the seats allocated to the parties is 15 less than the 120 in the Knesset. Even if 10 are added for the Arab parties, another five are missing.
One questionable statistic is the four seats allocated to Shas, three less than in the previous poll. Shas perennially wins approximately 10 mandates in the polls and usually comes up with one or two more in the elections. In the current Knesset, Shas has 11 seats.
The popularity of Bennett is unquestioned. He eagerly backed national religious Rabbi David Stav for Chief Rabbi and was dealt a severe loss with the solid victory of Haredi Rabbi David Lau.
Bennett lost the battle, but he picked up lots of Brownie points among the public, most of which is fed up with the Haredi domination of the Rabbinate.
The poll also showed that Lapid is holding his own with 16 seats, three less than his party now holds in the Knesset but one more than in the previous toll. Lapid has won support for his campaign for the universal draft, an issue that apparently is more important to the middle class than higher taxes that Lapid has imposed.
The popularity of Labor, headed by Shelley Yachimovich, dropped sharply from the 22 seats it won in the previous poll. It has 15 Knesset Members, the same number it would retain according to this week’s poll.
Meretz’s growing support , with 12 seats compared with the six it now holds, reflects frustration with Yachimovich, who has been far from spectacular.
If elections were held today, Kadima, headed by Shaul Mofaz, would be erased from the political map, which is no surprise.
Tzipi Livni’s Tnuva party would win only three seats, half of the number she now holds, and that also is not much of a surprise. She has no agenda other than opposing Netanyahu and supporting U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.