Likud stays strong

The latest "Globes" Rafi Smith poll sees the Netanyahu's coalition maintaining its comfortable Knesset majority.

The haredim (ultra-orthodox) are liable to discover the full meaning of the words left outside in the next Knesset. The Rami Smith Institute poll for "Globes" found that the next Netanyahu government might not need the haredi political parties to form a coalition.

If Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shows courage, and follows in former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's footsteps, the next government might not include haredim. Sharon did this with Shinui, the political party of the late Tommy Lapid; Netanyahu could do it with Lapid's son, Yair. The "Globes" poll for February found that Lapid would win 11 Knesset seats if elections were held now, the Likud would win 29 seats, Kadima and Israel Beiteinu 15 seats each, and the Labor Party 14 seats - enough for a stable coalition.

The poll suggests that new elections are receding. Belying other assessments, the Likud's haredi partners - Shas and United Torah Judaism - have no interest in bringing down the government, despite the voiding of the Tal Law, as that could push them into the political wilderness. This raises the question: Does Netanyahu have the courage to create a secular coalition to promote social and civic policies, or will he prefer to hew to the old and familiar? This is actually the more likely scenario.

The poll also showed the left wing Meretz winning three seats, the right wing National Union and New National Religious Party winning four seats each, Shas winning 10 seats, United Torah Judaism winning five seats and the Arab parties winning 10 seats.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on March 1, 2012

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2012

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