Photo Credit: Naftali Bennett's Facebook page
Ayelet Shaked and Naftali Bennett selfie

A Miskar Institute survey among the non-Haredi religious public in Israel once again shows that the “knitted yarmulke” voters prefer Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked over Education Minister Naftali Bennett to lead them as the chairperson of Habayit Hayehudi. This despite the fact that Shaked is not religious.

The survey, conducted among a representative sample of the national religious sector, shows that if elections were held today, with all things being identical to what they are in the current Knesset, 72% would choose the Habayit Hayehudi Party; another 16% would vote for the Likud party; and only 3.5% would pick Yesh Atid, the same as the Haredi parties. Kulanu and Yisrael Beiteinu were picked by 3% each, and the two leftist parties—Labor and Meretz—shared the remaining 2%.

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However, despite their preference for Shaked to lead their party, the National Religious respondents preferred Benjamin Netanyahu for prime minister, and 38% picked Bennett. Other candidates received low single digits.

Among the respondents who would choose the Habayit Hayehudi party in the upcoming elections, Ayelet Shaked was picked for first place by 94% of the party’s voters, who were asked to pick their four top choices. Naphtali Bennett came second with 80% support.

It should be noted that Bennett has already been elected chairman until 2020, so he has nothing to worry about regarding his position.

Shaked and Bennett, who have been political partners since both were working on Netanyahu’s 2009 comeback campaign, are followed by Bezalel Smotrich (54%), Eli Ben Dahan (47%), Shuli Mualem (44%), and Uri Ariel (41%).

The least popular picks from the Habayit Hayehudi Knesset faction are Moti Yogev (28%), who made headlines a while back suggesting someone should take down Israel’s supreme court with a bulldozer, and Nissan Slomiansky (8%), who has recently been entangled in accusations of sexual harassment.

In an interview on Galei Israel radio Monday morning, Bennett was asked whether Shaked could and should lead the Habayit Hayehudi Party, and answered, “She can do and is deserves everything, we’ve been working in partnership for 11 years now, I think, since we worked together with Netanyahu, and we have mutual trust, and she is capable, indeed, she has outstanding abilities.”

Later, when asked whether he would be willing to serve as Shaked’s No. 2, Bennett replied that “this is not on the agenda.”

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