Two new polls show that Israel is marching rightward and that the nationalist and religious parties would even be stronger than in the current coalition if elections were held today, mostly at the expense of Yair Lapid
The Likud Beitenu party, which reflects the merger of Likud and Yisrael Beitenu that still may be dissolved, would increase its strength from 31 in the current Knesset to 34, according to a Channel 1 poll, and 40 according to a survey by Geocartography. The second poll also showed that if the two parties were to split, they would win a combined number of 55 mandates
The Jewish Home party, headed by Naftali Bennett, would hold its own, with one poll showing a gain of one seat and the other a loss of one seat. If Likud and Yisrael Beitenu were to split, the strength of Jewish Home would sink to seven.
The left-wing Meretz party, which now has six Knesset Members, would gain one or four seats in the next Knesset, depending on which poll is accepted.
The increased strength of Likud Beiteinu comes at the expense of Yair Lapid and his Yesh Atid party, which was the star of the last election by winning 19 seats. The Channel 1 poll gives it only 9 seats and the Geocartography survey came up with 13.
Despite the difference in the results, the trend is clear – a sharp rise for Likud Beiteinu and a punch in the pace for Lapid. The “champion of the middle class” has lost its luster as the truth quickly emerges that he represents the upper middle class.
He has an ace up his sleeve if he can bring down the price of housing, but that is not about to happen tomorrow, next month or even this year.
The gain of Meretz and Likud Beiteinu at his expense indicates that Lapid’s charisma attracted leftists and center right secular nationalists.
As for the other parties, Shas still is around and will stay or more at less with 11 seats, according to the polls.
Labor, now under the lead of Yitzchak Herzog instead of Shelly, Yachimovich, would drop from the current 15 to 11 or gain one seat.
Both polls reveal that Tzipi Livni’s HaTunah party would be cut in half in the Knesset, from the current six MKs to only 3.
One surprise result is that former MK Aryeh Eldad, Baruch Marzel and Itamar Ben-Gvir, all of them to the right of the right, would win three seats.
About the Author: Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu is a graduate in journalism and economics from The George Washington University. He has worked as a cub reporter in rural Virginia and as senior copy editor for major Canadian metropolitan dailies. Tzvi wrote for Arutz Sheva for several years before joining the Jewish Press.
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