Avigdor Liberman's Yisrael Beitenu has strengthened to 10 seats in the latest opinion poll published last night by Channel 12 news. In previous polls, Liberman received eight to nine mandates and the rise into double figures could have an important psychological effect for the party that caused the election rerun on September 17 by refusing to sit in a coalition led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud, which gave major financial and political concessions to the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism and Shas parties.
The two largest parties remain stable in the Channel 12 poll - the Likud with 31 seats, slightly ahead of Benny Gantz's Blue & White party with 30 seats. So the overall picture has not changed, with a majority for the right wing but Netanyahu unable to form a coalition because of the incompatibility of the fiercely secular Liberman and the haredi parties. Liberman is demanding a national unity government but Blue & White is refusing to sit in a government led by Netanyahu, who is beset by criminal investigations, and faces a hearing before the Attorney General in October, and potential indictments.
The Channel 12 poll projected the United Arab list winning 11 seats, United Torah Judaism 8 seats, Shas 7 seats, Labor 6 seats, the New Right 5 seats and Ehud Barak's Democratic party, Meretz and the United Right precariously poised on the minimum threshold of 4 seats.
The Channel 12 poll played around with the outcome if various mergers were formed for Knesset lists. If Labor, Meretz and Ehud Barak merged they would glean one more seat than the sum of their parts but at the expense of Blue & White. Similarly a merger of the New Right and United Right would earn 12 mandates, three more than running separately but at the expense of the Likud.
In short, the race for the 22nd Knesset to be decided in the September 17 elections is deadlocked.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on July 17, 2019
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