A new poll shows that the center-left parties have no chance of winning general elections and that the Jewish home party, headed by Naftali Bennett, would be the number two party after the Likud, chaired by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.
Israel’s media establishment, which likes Netanyahu as much as President Barack Obama likes him, recently has been talking up an atmosphere of instability in the coalition government and that elections will be held in the spring.
A survey by the reputable Rafi Smith firm, carried out for the left-leaning Globes business newspaper, reveals that the center-left has everything to lose and nothing to win by pushing for an early vote.
The popularity of the Jewish Home party has increased, and it could expect 15 Knesset Members, three more than in the current session. It would be the second largest party after the Liked, with a projected total of 24 MKs, and would replace Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu party.
Yisrael Beitenu and Likud ran together in the last elections but since have gone their separate ways. The poll shows the Likud would win 24 seats today and that Yisrael Beitenu would garner only 10 mandates.
The number-three party would be Labor, with 14 seats, one less than it now enjoys.
The biggest loser is Yair Lapid and his Yesh Atid party, which would be left with only 9 MKs, 10 less than the current 19.
Lapid swept into the Knesset as the great hope of the mainly secular, center-left voters who consider a Jewish presence in all of Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem a drain on their pockets.
Lapid promised everything under the moon, which so far remains eclipsed both by his failure to produce results and by his wake-up call from the war with Hamas, which proved once again that it might be so smart to play Monopoly with the Palestinian Authority and draw a border between Ventnor Avenue and Park Place, or between Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria.
The projected line-up if elections were held today is, on the right with a total of 49:
Likud – 24;
Jewish Home – 15;
Yisrael Beitenu – 10.
On the left, with a total of 22:
Labor – 14;
Meretz – 8.
The parties that could go either way, depending on the wind, have a total of 28 MKs:
Yesh Atid – 9;
Shas – 7;
Yehadut HaTorah – 8;
Tzipi Livni’s HaTnua party – 4.
Kadima, as earlier polls have shown, would disappear. The Arab parties would have 12 votes but would not join a center-left coalition. The wild card is Moshe Kahlon, former Likud Minister of Communications who broke the mobile phone oligarchy in Israel and brought prices of mobile phone calls down by 90 percent. His new party is projected to gain 9 seats in the next elections, and he could go left or right.
Even if all the swing parties and Kahlon were to join a center-left coalition, they would have only 59 seats, two less than the needed absolute majority of 61. In any case, a coalition of the seven parties would be a nightmare and have zilch chance of becoming a reality.
With 49 projects MKs on the right, Netanyahu would have a choice of re-negotiating with Lapid and tempting Kahlon, or he could go with the Haredi parties.
In either case, he would have a majority without having to worry about having to deal with Livni again.Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu