With a month to go before the election on March 23, Benny Gantz's Blue & White party has lifted itself a little above the minimum vote threshold, while the Religious Zionist party and Meretz have come closer to it, according to a poll published yesterday by Channel 12 News. The poll is likely to strengthen Gantz, after recent calls for him to quit the race in order not to waste votes for the anti-Netanyahu block in the event that his party fails to clear the minimum vote threshold for winning Knesset representation. The poll gives Likud 28 projected Knesset seats, Yesh Atid 18, New Hope 13, Yamina 11, the Joint Arab List 9, Shas 8, United Torah Judaism and Yisrael Beitenu 7, Labor 6, Blue & White 5, and the Religious Zionist party and Meretz 4 each.
Such a result in the election would mean that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would not be able to form a coalition, even with the support of Naftali Bennett's Yamina. His assured support would amount to 47 Knesset seats. The addition of Yamina's eleven seats would give him the backing of 58 members of Knesset, three short of a majority.
It was reported yesterday that Religious Zionist leader Bezalel Smotrich had refused to sign a loyalty pledge to Netanyahu, although it is hard to imagine a situation in which he would not join a Netanyahu-led coalition. Haredi parties Shas and United Torah Judaism have agreed to sign. The pledge can be seen as an electoral gift to Yisrael Beitenu leader Avigdor Liberman, whose campaign is based on forming a government without the haredim.
The anti-Netanyahu grouping numbers 62 seats in this poll, including Meretz and the Joint Arab List. In the highly unlikely case of Bennett joining this grouping, instead of the Joint Arab List, and Meretz staying within it, a government could be formed that excluded Likud and the haredi parties.
The average number of projected seats for each party in the five latest polls is as follows:
Likud - 28
Yesh Atid - 17
New Hope - 13
Yamina - 11
Joint Arab List - 9
Shas - 8
United Torah Judaism - 7
Yisrael Beitenu - 7
Labor - 6
Religious Zionist - 5
Blue & White - 4
Meretz - 4
Because of the averaging process, the total number of seats is not equal to 120, the actual number of seats in the Knesset.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on February 24, 2021
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