Photo Credit: Sraya Diamant / Flash 90
Opposition leader and former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the inauguration ceremony of a new neighborhood in Beit El, Samaria, July 12, 2022.

Election polls published Wednesday in Israel reflect the rise of the right-wing Otzma Yehudit party led by Attorney MK Itamar Ben Gvir – but they also show the Religious Zionism party led by MK Bezalel Smotrich could be jeopardized as a result.

In all cases, former Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu still leads as the preferred candidate to lead the country, when compared to caretaker Prime Minister Yair Lapid or Defense Minister Benny Gantz.


A comparison of the polls follows this article.

Channel 11: Likud Still Needs to Work
In a survey reported by Israel’s KAN 11 News public broadcaster, Ben Gvir – who announced this week he will run independently – received eight mandates, while Smotrich received just four.

Were the two parties to run together in a joint list, according to the survey, they would get 10 seats.

A right-wing block led by Likud chairperson Benjamin Netanyahu (33 seats) would garner 60 mandates – just a single seat short of the 61 needed for Netanyahu to win back his position as prime minister.

A bloc led by Yesh Atid chairperson and caretaker Prime Minister Yair Lapid would win 51 seats – also not enough to lead the country the next time around.

Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked’s new Zionist Spirit party does not cross the threshold in any of the polls.

Neither bloc (Netanyahu or Lapid) wins enough to break the deadlock that strangled the country in the three elections prior to the “national unity” government cobbled together by then-Yamina party chairperson Naftali Bennett, who signed a rotation deal with Lapid and managed to eke out enough mandates to at least start a government, which held for barely a year.

Moreover, the newly created National Unity list led by Defense Minister Benny Gantz (Blue & White party), Justice Minister Gideon Sa’ar (New Hope party) and retired IDF Chief of Staff Gadi Eisenkot (a newcomer to politics), becomes the third-largest list in the race.

Bennett announced earlier this year that he is taking a break from politics and will not run in the November elections.

Channel 12: Ben Gvir Rising, Smotrich Out
In the survey published Wednesday night by Israel’s Channel 12, the news for Smotrich was even worse, with his Religious Zionism party not even crossing the electoral threshold, as with Shaked’s Zionist Spirit party.

In contrast, Ben Gvir’s Otzma Yehudit party rises to 9 mandates – but the Netanyahu-led bloc drops to 58 seats and runs at nearly a dead heat with the outgoing coalition led by Lapid, which increases to 57 mandates.

If Otzma Yehudit and Religious Zionism were to bury their differences and form a joint list, together they would get 11 mandates, but Likud would drop to 33 seats, and Yesh Atid would drop to 22, according to the Channel 12 poll.

As with Channel 13, Netanyahu still leads as the preferred candidate for prime minister, with 45 percent of the votes, compared to 32 percent for Lapid; 18 percent didn’t want either one, and five percent did not know what they want.

Netanyahu was still the preferred candidate (45 percent) when facing Gantz (27 percent), with 23 percent not wanting either and five percent again not knowing what they want.

Channel 13: Right-Wing Bloc Gets 61
A similar poll reported Wednesday night by Israel’s Channel 13 News had slightly different results, as might be expected. The news was better for the right-wing camp, with a Netanyahu-led bloc reached the 61-mandate minimum needed to form a government.

That, despite a drop in total mandates for Netanyahu’s Likud party.

The Channel 13 poll, conducted by Professor Camille Fox, surveyed 701 respondents with a sampling error of 3.7 percent.

Participants were also polled to find out whether Israelis prefer Netanyahu, Lapid or Gantz as prime minister – and discovered Netanyahu continues to lead by a strong margin, with 47 percent when facing Lapid (29 percent), and with 48 percent when placed against Gantz (26 percent).

Comparison of All Three Polls

Comparison of three Israeli electoral surveys on August 24, 2022

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.