Photo Credit: Olivier Fitoussi/Flash90
MK Itamar Ben Gvir walks through Damascus Gate in Jerusalem's Old City during the Jerusalem Day celebrations, May 29, 2022.

A Sunday night Prof. Camil Fuchs & Channel 13 poll shows that if Otzma Yehudit Chairman Itamar ben Gvir has the number one spot on the Religious Zionism Slate in November, his faction would win 13 seats, which is more than any national-religious party had ever won (the most seats the old NRP and its HaBait HaYehudi successor ever won were 12 seats). This would make RZ the third-largest party in the Knesset, behind Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid and Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud.

With Bezalel Smotrich in the lead, the most the RZ had scored in Fuchs’s poll was 9 to 10 seats.

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Netanyahu’s enemies have already incorporated a “nightmare scenario” in their campaigns, warning that Ben Gvir will be the Internal Security Minister in Netanyahu’s government. I for one would love to give it a try if only to watch Police Commissioner Yaakov Shabtai have his first meeting with the new boss whom he used to blame for all his failures.

Sweet.

Ben Gvir’s stunning victory comes at Netanyahu’s expense: in this scenario, Likud, which had been scoring 35 and even 36 seats in recent polls, is down to 32; Shas gets 8; and United Torah Judaism sticks with its 7 seats. Overall, the Netanyahu bloc has 60 seats, one seat away from a coalition government, but a lot less than a stable one.

On the other side of the aisle, Yesh Atid gets 22 seats; the Benny Gantz-Gideon Saar slate has 11 seats – not the dream ticket it was only a week ago; Labor has 7 seats; Israel Beiteinu 6; Meretz 4; and Ra’am 4. Yamina under Ayelet Shaked is erased, as has been the case in most recent polls. The Joint Arab List keeps its 6 seats, but a Lapid government cannot rely on its support (right?), and so the current coalition parties collect only 50 seats.

In case Meretz’s legendary, retired chairwoman Zehava Gal-On agrees to take the helm one more time, things shift a bit in favor of the left: Meretz gets 5 seats, Yesh Atid 22, Labor and Israel Beiteinu 6 each, Raa’m 4, Yamina is still gone. But for some reason, should Gal-On stage a comeback, it would affect the right as well: Likud gets 34, Gantz-Sa’ar 12, RZ with Smotrich at the top 10, Shas 8, UTJ 7. And the Joint List sticks with its 6 seats.

The overall result of the scenario with Gal-On back is Netanyahu’s bloc down to 59 seats, the left with 55, and the List on the outside (perhaps) with its 6 seats.

Incidentally, Gal-On has already said she was likely to come back, responding, as she put it, to an emergency draft notice. A very militaristic idiom for such a peace-loving party. The real militarist in Meretz, former IDF deputy chief of staff Yair Golan, was shown to bring the party to a near-crash in Sunday night’s poll, just above the vote threshold.

Netanyahu continues to capture the highest numbers on the question of who is the most suitable for the job of prime minister. After more than a year out of office, Netanyahu still gets 45% of the respondents’ support, compared to 32% for the current PM, Lapid. When compared with Gantz, Bibi gets 46%, compared with the former chief of staff and defense minister’s 29%.

The poll was conducted among 703 respondents, 603 from the Jewish population and 100 from the non-Jewish sector. The sampling error is +-3.8%.

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David writes news at JewishPress.com.
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