Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90
Arab MKs during a vote on a bill to dissolve the Knesset, December 26, 2018.

According to a Panels Politics poll published Friday by the Jerusalem Post, 69% of respondents don’t want an Arab party in the next government, only 22% want one, and 9% don’t know. Considering that Israeli Arabs constitute about 20% of the population, this means that practically no Jews want an Arab party in government. It also explains why the Jewish party that features more Arab MKs than anyone else, Meretz, will be erased come the next elections, according to the poll. Meretz only received 2.6% of the votes, meaning it would not cross the 3.25% vote threshold.

The poll was conducted by Panels Politics CEO Menachem Lazar, conducted on May 25-24, 2022 with 1,007 members of Panel4All Respondents Panel participating online, out of 6,302 registered members who were asked to participate. Lazar says he used a representative sample of the adult population in the State of Israel age 18 and over, Jews and Arabs alike. Lazar also claims the maximum sampling error in this survey is 3.3%.

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According to the poll, 65% of Israelis are unhappy with Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, while only 30% said he is performing well, and 5% said they didn’t know. Only 25% of voters who picked Bennett’s Yamina last time around would vote for it next time, and 20% of Yamina voters don’t know. Here’s another important tidbit: two-thirds of respondents who say they plan to vote for Yamina are secular.

Funny thing: remember Amichai Chikli, the rogue Yamina MK who was kicked out of the party? Well, the poll finds that should he run on his own ticket, he’ll get 2.7% of the vote. This should make him a highly desirable member of any election slate, but his rogue status may make it illegal for him to join a party that existed when he was defrocked.

Can Benjamin Netanyahu forge the next coalition government? Not if the poll has anything to say about it. Likud will rise from 30 to 35 seats in the Knesset, but the right-wing bloc with Likud, Religious Zionism, Shas, and United Torah Judaism would only bring in 59 seats. It’s a nice rise from their current 54, but it takes 61 to tango in the Israeli system.

By the way, should Itamar Ben Gvir’s Otzma Yehudit run alone, without Smotrich’s Religious Zionism, Likud will be slashed to only 32 seats. In other words, the very golem that gifted political alchemist Netanyahu labored to create is posing a serious electoral danger to his master…

Should only the parties that are in the Knesset today run in the next election, these are the poll’s predictions:

Likud – 35
Yesh Atid – 20
Religious Zionism – 9
Blue & White – 8
Shas – 8
United Torah Judaism – 7
Labor – 7
Joint Arab List – 7
Yamina – 6
Israel Beiteinu – 5
New Hope – 4
Ra’am – 4

As you can see, no Meretz, although Labor doesn’t appear to capitalize on the disappearance of its neighbor to the left. The Joint Arab List, with its communist party partner, grabs one of Meretz’s 6 seats, and the rest go to Yesh Atid, which grows from 17 to 20. The remaining 2 seats seem to disappear into the ether.

The poll also inquired what would be the chances of a merger party that would include the right-wing coalition members Yamina, New Hope, and Israel Beiteinu – let’s name it YIN, and a Labor-Meretz merger party – let’s name them LM:

Likud – 35
Yesh Atid – 20
YIN – 12 (compared with their current 20)
Shas – 9
LM – 9 (compared with their current 13)
Religious Zionism – 9
Joint Arab List – 8
United Torah Judaism – 7
Blue & White 7 (down from 8)
Ra’am – 4

Yesh Atid appears to still grab 3 seats from the left, while the Joint Arab List grabs 2.

Of course, like all snapshots, this poll is a comment on the situation today rather than a prediction. It is a gut response to the excessive power that Arab MKs enjoy over the Lapid-Bennett coalition government. Israeli Jews do not want a repeat of this scenario. But will this reluctance drive them to offer Netanyahu a majority in the Knesset? The former PM will have to wait for a little more reluctance.

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David writes news at JewishPress.com.