JERUSALEM – New polls released Monday showed that were elections held today the Likud party would remain in power with the same amount of seats, centrist Yesh Atid would come in second and main opposition party the Zionist Union would lose around half its seats.
Polls conducted by Channel 2 news and Channel 10 both showed Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling Likud party winning 29-30 seats — the latter being the number the party has today. The gradual increase over the past few weeks of polling is indicative of the public’s growing support for Likud despite the allegations of corruption and bribery faced by Netanyahu.
Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid would increase from 11 seats today to between 21 and 24 while the Zionist Union falls from 24 to 11-13. The Joint (Arab) List would remain more or less in the same position with 13 seats and so would the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism party with 6-7 seats (today at 6). The leftwing Meretz party would win 7-9 seats (up from 5) while the Jewish Home would gain three more seats from its current 8.
Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu party would fall from its current 10 seats to 6.
Channel 10’s poll had Yisrael Beytenu at 6 seats and Shas drop two seats to 5. Channel 2’s poll saw Shas falling to 4 seats, while a new party led by ex-Yisrael Beytenu MK Orly Levy-Abekasis would gain 5 seats.
On Monday, Netanyahu attempted to shut down rumors that new elections are his way of garnering support ahead of a possible indictment on corruption charges, insisting that he has no desire to go to the polls. However, he added that were new elections held, his ruling Likud party would win.
“If there are elections, we will face them and we’ll win too. But we’re not there yet,” he said. “The hour is late, but it is not too late.”
The government is split over a contentious bill backed by the ultra-Orthodox United Torah Judaism party, which is seen by its opponents — including Liberman and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon — as giving the ultra-Orthodox sector a legal way to dodge the draft. UTJ has threatened to derail the 2019 state budget by refusing to vote on it if the bill isn’t passed. Kahlon said in response that he would pull his Kulanu party out of the government if the budget isn’t passed this week before the Knesset session ends. Liberman has also threatened to leave the government.