Photo Credit: Flash90
Employees of the Central Election Committee in protective gear demonstrate a special polling station, February 23, 2021.

Four weeks before the March 23 election, a Kan 11 News poll published Wednesday morning indicates the continued close battle between the left and right blocs, with Netanyahu’s opponents reaching 61 mandates even without Naftali Bennett’s Yamina party.

The bloc of Netanyahu supporters, which includes Likud, Shas, United Torah Judaism, and Bezalel Smotrich’s Religious Zionism, gets 48 seats.

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Yamina chairman Bennett told Reshet Bet radio on Wednesday that he does not intend to sit in any left-wing government, including one led by Yesh Atid chairman Yair Lapid.

As you may recall, back in 2013 it was the “brotherly pact” between Lapid and Bennett that gave Habayit Hayehudi significant portfolios in Netanyahu’s government.

“These elections are taking place within the nationalist camp, and I intend to replace Netanyahu,” Bennet said. “Most of the people are right-wing – it is inconceivable that anyone on the left would occupy the prime minister’s office.”

Lapid was heard to be saying in a recording of a conversation with party activists about the formation of the next coalition: “Saar and Bennett are clear and hardcore right-wingers, but they are also ultimately positive people, and we’ll have to try to find a common ground to work with them. But there are some I will not talk to, mainly Ben-Gvir and Smotrich because they are simply supporters of terrorism.”

Bennet, for his part, said about sitting in a coalition with Smotrich and Ben-Gvir of the Religious Zionist Party: “we’ll sit with everyone who is in favor of a Jewish and democratic state – we are not in favor of boycotts.”

New Hope issued a statement saying: “Gideon Saar is running for prime minister against Benjamin Netanyahu and does not intend to attack Naftali Bennett and the right-wing party, even if they continue to do so. Gideon Saar will bring the change and Naftali Bennett will remain a respected partner in the coalition led by Gideon Saar.”

The chairman of Religious Zionism stated: “Yair, you should just be ashamed. There is a limit to hatred and incitement, there is a limit to the demonization of your political opponents. Naftali, Gideon, you have nothing to look for with Lapid, and with so much divisiveness and hatred that this man spreads in Israeli society.”

It is important to note that almost all the candidates emphasize the need for unity among the people and promise to form a government for all.

According to a poll conducted on Tuesday by the Kanter Company, the Likud maintains its power with 29 seats, followed by Yesh Atid with 18 – the same result as in the same company’s previous poll. Gideon Saar’s New Hope party is weaker by one mandate and drops to 13. It is followed by Yamina, which weaker by two seats and drops to 11.

The Joint Arab List ends its decline and for the second consecutive poll scores nine seats—obviously way down from the 15 it won in the last election. It is followed by Shas with eight seats, United Torah Judaism with seven, And Avigdor Lieberman’s Israel Beiteinu with seven seats.

The Labor Party is weaker by one mandate and takes only six in the current poll. It is followed by Religious Zionism which drops to four seats and is on the precipice of the threshold of 3.25% of the votes. Benny Gantz’s Blue&White is also down to four seats, while Meretz, which in the previous poll dropped below the threshold, manages to salvage four seats.

When asked if they intended to vote in the upcoming elections, 62% of respondents said they were sure they would. Among right-wing voters, the percentage was 66% and among left-wing voters 63%.

18% of respondents answered that they thought they would vote in the election. 7% were sure they would not vote, and 10% replied that they had not yet decided.

The survey was based on an online sample of 550 men and women ages 18 and over, including the Arab sector. The number of people asked to answer the survey was 2,957, and the maximum sampling error is 4.4%.

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David writes news at JewishPress.com.