Photo Credit: Hadas Parush/Flash90
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked and MK Bezalel Smotrich.

According to a Makor Rishon survey published on Friday, the three biggest gamblers of the week – Naftali Bennett, Ayelet Shaked and Avi Gabai – threw their dice well.

Source: Makor Rishon Poll, Jan. 4, 2019

Last Friday, Habayit Hayehudi headed by Naftali Bennett hovered around nine seats on average. On Saturday night, Bennett and his long-time partner Ayelet Shaked left the party and formed the New Right. According to Friday’s survey, the new party is rising to 10 seats, without its partners from the National Union, and, most importantly, without rabbinic supervisors who can be manipulated by Prime Minister Netanyahu.


Bennett and Shaked are siphoning votes from all the right-wing parties: the Likud, Kulanu, Liberman and Habayit Hayehudi.

The right-wing bloc maintains its strength and even becomes stronger, but the balance of power within the bloc changes in favor of the Religious-Zionist settlement movement and the true-right.

The Likud drops significantly from 30 to 26 seats, and the New Right and Habayit Hayehudi receive 15 seats, to become the second-largest right-wing list. In such a situation, the fate of the Netanyahu government will be in the hands of Bennett, Shaked and Samotrich, who today are already known to have schemed together their separation and reunion, with the approval of Rabbis Druckman and Melamed.

Benjamin Netanyahu can easily form a new coalition government, but the New Right and Habayit Hayehudi will have the blocking votes. Bibi will not be able to form a right-wing government unless he gives the second-largest right-wing faction the defense and foreign ministries, and whatever Samotrich will demand – unless Bibi prefers to invite Yair Lapid, Benny Gantz, Avi Gabbai or Tamar Zandberg to his government.

In short, Bennett, Shaked and Smotrich have won a dizzying victory – up from 8 to 15 in the wake of one brilliant exercise.

For those who do not remember, Bennett and Shaked headed the political campaign that brought Netanyahu back from the political wilderness to head the Likud, after having been defeated by Ehud Barak in the late 20th century.

The second victorious gambler, based on this poll, is Avi Gabai. The Labor Party chairman dissolved his partnership with Tzipi Livni, in a humiliating ceremony from which she might not be able to recover. He also arranged the timing of Livni’s public dismissal so that she won’t be eligible for state funding for her election campaign.

The Friday morning survey shows that the Labor Party is beginning to move above the 7 seats it was expected to win earlier this week. The fact that Tzipi Livni is now marking herself as the female victim of an abusive man did not help her among male or female voters.

As of today, Livni does not exceed the threshold vote, and it is very possible that Gabai was the one who ruined her political career.

After months during which she had been undermining his position as chairman of the Zionist Union, Gabai must have enjoyed his revenge dish, which he must have eaten cold.


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