It was bound to happen: Traditional Likud-Beitenu voters have been shopping around for better options, such as Jewish Home, not because they don’t identify with the Likud’s platform, but because they fear that Prime Minister Netanyahu might turn his back on the same platform, as he has been known to do. That mistrust was only enhanced by the fact that Netanyahu’s partner, Avigdor Liberman, is also not particularly committed to the vision of a greater Israel and the rejection of a Palestinian state. (Liberman’s legal woes couldn’t have helped, either).
But in the end, as the threats of a resurgence of the left-wing parties was becoming a reality, and the possibility of a left-led coalition government was being bandied about, many Likud-Beitenu are coming back to the mother ship. Much like American voters being forced to vote for the lesser of evils, rather than for a “shining city on the hill” candidate, the majority of right-wing Israelis will dig up a laundry clip to affix to their noses, and vote Likud-Beitenu.
Or so it turns out from the poll conducted for the news and public affairs radio channel Reshet Bet by Maagar Mochot (The name literally means “a collection of brains” and can be loosely translated as “think tank”), with a sample of 706 likely voters, with a 4.5% margin of error.
This margin of error translates into more than 5 Knesset seats, which could mean that parties that did not cross the two-seat blocking percentage will make it, while others that appear here to have squeezed through will end up outside. So this poll, like every poll, is but a snapshot of voter sentiment today – except that the closer we get to next Tuesday, Election Day, the more these numbers will start getting nailed in place.
So, with all of that in mind, here are the numbers:
Likud-Beitenu – 37
Labor – 16
Jewish Home – 13
Shas – 11
Yair Lapid – 9
Torah Judaism – 6
Meretz – 6
Tzipi Livni – 5
Kadima – 3
Power for Israel – 3
3 Arab lists – 10
Rabbi Amsalem – 1 (fails the blocking percentage)
These numbers confirm that the left wing Jewish parties are on their way out, amounting to a mere 39 seats, or 32.5% of the overall population. The Arabs, with 10 seats, or just over 8% of the population. That makes right wing and Haredi parties a seemingly insurmountable, 71-seat block, accounting for better than 59% of the overall population, and a staggering 65%, give or take, of the Jewish adult population.
It is safe to say that Israel has never been more right wing or more religious in its history, and such percentages would take more than a generation to reverse.
So, Bibi will be the next prime minister, and from these figures he should be able to cobble together a solid right-wing coalition in half and hour, even without having to invite the “bad boys” of Israel’s right wing politics from Power for Israel, Aryeh Eldad and Michael Ben Ari.
The only winner from this severe drop in the power of the left is Meretz, which, unlike the rest of the Jewish leftist parties has never denied its leftist identity. And it paid off: as soon as left wing voters realized the right will stay in charge next Tuesday, they abandoned Labor, Livni and Lapid, who have been denying their leftist agenda, describing themselves as “centrist” – in favor of a truly leftist party.
Sadly, his renewed strength (although Likud-Beitenu is still going to receive fewer seats than its current 42) would also enable Bibi to avoid Bennett and Jewish Home, partnering instead with Shas, Torah Judaism and Yair Lapid.
And the fact that Yair Lapid is the Haredi-hater’s Haredi hater should not keep everybody involved from living long and prospering together. Because, in the end, politics is about jobs and money. Ideology is merely the way you get them…
About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.
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