You may know Rabbi Amnon Yitzhak from his feisty appearances on You Tube before packed halls—and occasionally packed stadiums—in Israel and the U.S., dazzling his audiences into taking on a life of adherence to the commandments. But the Haredi Rabbi who prefers his ancestral Yemenite garb to the common Haredi attire, who has launched a Knesset list, “Power to Influence” to mixed reactions ranging from calling him delusional to accusing him of defying rabbinic authorities, is starting to make his mark in Israel’s election campaign.
A poll published Thursday by Reshet Bet of the Israel Broadcasting Authority, conducted by the Sarid Institute with a sample of 1000—double the accepted sample size—awarded Rabbi Yitzhak 4 seats in the next Knesset.
Both Rabbi Yitzhak and another Haredi Maverick, Rabbi Haim (Emile) Amsalem, are grabbing their votes from the largest Haredi party – Shas. But a third Haredi party, Torah Judaism, which has been polling at 6 seats for more than a month, has now increased to 7, also most likely from Shas.
The Sephardi Haredi party Shas, who had reached as many as 12 seats, are down to 9 in this survey.
Altogether, the right-wing parties’ combined force has increased to 71, while the left, including Arabs, sank to 49.
Part of the voter desertion on the left stems from the failure of Labor, Lapid and Livni to form a block this week. Of the three, Tzipi Livni is viewed by most leftist voters as responsible for the collapse of those talks.
Here are today’s results:
Likud-Beitenu – 34
Labor – 17
Jewish Home – 14
Yair Lapid – 9
Shas – 9
Tzipi Livni – 7
Torah Judaism – 7
Meretz – 4
Hadash – 4
Power to Influence – 4
Ra’am Ta’al – 3
Balad – 3.
If you add up these figures, you’ll get only 115 seats (out of 120). Yossi Sarid, whose institute conducted the survey, told the Jewish Press that the missing 5 seats are divided among Kadima (between 2 and 3), Power to Israel (2-3) and Rabbi Amsalem (1-2). Israel’s blocking percentage rule only awards seats to parties who have earned from two seats and up, and since all three small parties may not cross that baseline, Reshet Bet preferred to leave them out of their presentation.
The poll has a 3.1% margin of error.