Photo Credit: Ash Carter via Wikimedia
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman

The biggest political winners following the Mossad operation in Tehran, IDF successes in Syria, and the short round of fighting in the Gaza Strip this week, are Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, according to a special survey by the Smith Institute for Research published in Ma’ariv on Friday. The survey shows the Likud party jumping to 34 Knesset seats (from its current 30) and Liberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu moving up by 3 seats, from 5, which skirts the threshold vote, to 8.

The Israeli public appears satisfied, even delighted with Netanyahu’s success in exposing Iran’s nuclear ambitions and contributing to President Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal. Israelis are also happy with the IDF’s persistent attacks on Iranian bases in Syria, which has led to their eventual pullout. Also, Israelis view positively the fact that the IDF did not allow itself to be dragged into a dangerous military confrontation in Gaza. All of the above is reflected in broad public satisfaction with Netanyahu and Liberman.

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58% of the public are very satisfied or quite satisfied with the performance of Bibi and Ivet, compared with 42% who are not satisfied or not very satisfied with their performance. This marks a 7% increase in satisfaction compared with previous surveys.

Liberman appears to be the big winner here, after many had questioned his ability to run the security apparatus without any military or security experience (his IDF service was spent in a canteen unit). Today, according to the survey, 22% consider him the most suitable candidate for the position of defense minister. Indeed, Liberman surpasses every single potential claimant to his current job, with former chief of staff Gabi Ashkenazi getting 21%; former chief of staff and defense minister Moshe Ya’alon 17%; Naftali Bennett 11%; and former chief of staff, defense minister and prime minister Ehud Barak receiving only 7%.

The satisfaction with Netanyahu and Liberman is reflected in the survey’s snapshot of the election results, if said elections had been held today:

Likud jumps to 34 seats, compared to 30 in the current Knesset.

The second largest party in the survey is Yesh Atid, headed by MK Yair Lapid, with 17 seats, compared to 11 in the current Knesset. However, this is a sharp drop for Lapid, for whom earlier polls have predicted as much as 27 seats.

The Zionist Camp headed by Avi Gabbai crumbles in the poll to 11 Knesset seats, compared with 24 seats it won in the last elections.

This is one seat is less than the Joint Arab List, which receives 12 seats, compared to its current 13.

Habayit Hayehudi, headed by Naftali Bennett, rises by one seat, from 8 to 9 – a huge disappointed after having scored as many as 15 seats in earlier polls.

Yisrael Beiteinu, headed by Liberman, soars from 5 seats in the current Knesset to 8 seats, pulling it away from the abyss waiting for political parties who fail to cross the 3.75% threshold.

Kulanu, headed by Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, drops from 10 seats in the current Knesset to only 7 in the poll.

United Torah Judaism and Meretz win 6 seats each, Shas only 5 seats (remember the abyss).

A new independent party, headed by MK Orly Levy-Abekasis, a deserter from Liberman’s party, receives 5 seats – despite the fact that it doesn’t yet exist.

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