The much-anticipated election campaign of former IDF chief of staff Beny Gantz was launched Thursday, with a message that looked like it had been cobbled together by a team of experts with a vast experience in selling soft drinks. Here goes: “For me, Israel is first before anything else / Join me and we’ll start on a new path / Because we need [a] different [path], it’s possible [to take a different path] and we will do [it] different.

Did you fall off your seat with excitement? Neither did respondents to a Panels Politics poll published by Walla Thursday. It appears that potential voters know very little about Gantz, who’s been maintaining a disciplined silence for so long, it’s gone all the way from admirable to comical. In fact, the voters know so little about Gantz, they can’t agree on fundamental things, like his political affiliation. 40% of respondents think Gantz is a central figure, 23% define him as a leftist and 11% as a rightist. 26% said they simply didn’t know.


Will the slogan cited above do much to clarify his position? Depends on whether you prefer Coke or Pepsi.

Meanwhile, the same poll, based on a sample of 539 potential voters, with a 4.3% margin of error, shows Likud continuing to climb, hitting 33 seats. Which goes to show you that in a time of confusion, a clear option sounds more attractive, even if it means crowning a PM who would likely spend much of his time at the helm battling state prosecution in a myriad corruption indictments.

And now – the numbers:

Likud – 33 seats (currently 30)

Yesh Atid – 14 (11)

Gantz – 12

Joint Arab List (which has been disjointed into 2 lists) – 10 (13)

New Right (splintered from Habayit Hayehudi) – 10

Labor (which is no longer the Zionist Union) – 8 (24)

United Torah Judaism – 7 (6)

Kulanu – 5 (10)

Meretz – 5 (5)

Israel Beiteinu – 4 (5)

Orly Levi-Abukasis – 4

Now comes the intriguing part, which also has to be the most crucial detail about how Israeli politics are lined up this election. The pollsters asked potential how they would vote should Yair Lapid and Benny Gantz run together. The response: while Likud maintains it 33 seats, up 3 from its current strength, Lapid and Gantz garner 28 Knesset seats, compared with their projected 26.

But wait, there’s more: Habayit Hayehudi, which drops below the vote threshold in the results above, comes back like comparative gangbusters with 5 seats, while its step sister New Right is clipped from 10 to 8. This means that these two parties have a potential of 13 seats together, and all it would take for them to make good on it is some other unpredictable factor such as the Lapid-Gantz marriage of convenience.


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David writes news at