Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party has narrowed the gap between it and Blue & White in the lead-up to the election on March 2, but Blue & White remains the largest party, according to three polls published in last night's news broadcasts. These polls are the first after US President Trump unveiled his administration's "Deal of the Century" peace plan for Israel and the Palestinians. The dramatic events of the past few days - Netanyahu's withdrawal of his request for immunity from prosecution, the filing of the indictment against him in the Jerusalem District Court, the announcement that American-Israeli Naama Issachar would be freed from prison in Russia, and the peace plan - have had no substantial effect on the political picture in Israel.
It could be that the effect is still to come and will manifest itself in the weekend polls in the newspapers, but at this stage it can be presumed that Likud members are feeling disappointment at the stagnation. Three election campaigns in a year seem to have left the public tired and unmotivated to change its voting habits. Recent events could certainly leave voters with the feeling they they are extras in a show that is all about the personal interests of strong leaders, and that their votes can't change the reality.
At any rate, the polls indicate an outcome similar to what has accompanied us since last April: as long as Yisrael Beitenu leader Avigdor Liberman refuses to join the right-wing block, the only possibility for forming a government is a coalition between Blue & White and Likud, with or without Liberman. If Netanyahu and Gantz maintain their positions and each refuses to serve in a government led by the other, we may even find ourselves facing a fourth election.
Average poll results, showing the number of Knesset seats projected for each party:
Blue & White 35
Joint Arab List 13
Yisrael Beitenu 8
United Torah Judaism 7
Otzma Yehudit 0
The polls used in the average are from Kan, Channel 12 News, and Channel 13 News, all from January 29.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on January 30, 2020
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