The Likud party lost two Knesset seats and now would win only 21, compared with 24 for the Herzog-Livni “Zionist Camp,” according to a new poll published Wednesday and carried out by the highly reliable Panel Politics for the Knesset Channel.
Yesh Atid, led by Yair Lapid, jumped up to 13 seats, along with the new United Arab List, and Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) is in neutral with 12 projected Knesset Members.
It is not clear where Lapid’s two seats went unless there are supporters of Netanyahu who would drift to Lapid. The other parties are holding steady, with Kulanu, headed by Moshe Kahlon, at eight seats, Shas and Yehadut HaTorah at seven seats each, Meretz with six, Yisrael Beiteinu with five and Yachad squeaking by with the minimum four mandates.
Lapid has said he will not sit in a coalition with Shas. Yisrael Beiteinu will not sit in a leftist coalition. That leaves Yitzchak Herzog and Tzipi Livni, who would be rotating prime ministers if they form the next government, with Meretz, Yesh Atid, and Kulanu as potential partners. Even if YeHadut HaTorah were to join and Lapid would not go ballistic, Herzog and Livni would have only 58 seats, three less than a majority.
The Arab List is not going to join, and if it did, Kulanu and YeHadut HaTorah would drop out. The best it can for Herzog and Livni is give it a security blanket on critical votes, but that would last for perhaps a day, maybe even two days.
Netanyahu can count on the Haredi parties, Yisrael Beiteinu, Kulanu, Bayit Yehudi and Yachad for a total of 64.
The big question mark is whether Yachad can win enough votes to enter the Knesset. If not, its ballots will go in the trash and larger parties would gain.
Another unknown factor is yesterday’s speech in Congress by Netanyahu, who is likely to gain one or two seats in the next poll.
Elections are on Wednesday in two weeks.Tzvi Ben-Gedalyahu