Only 24% of Israeli voters who chose “right-wing” leader Naftali Bennett and his Yamina (“Rightwards”) party approve of the idea of Bennett joining a left-wing “change” coalition to oust Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a new poll says.
The poll, published by Israel’s Channel 13 and reported by the Times of Israel, was released on the day Israeli President Reuven Rivlin turned to the opposition, led by Yair Lapid of the Yesh Atid (“There Is a Future”) party, to form a coalition.
Netanyahu’s Likud party was, by far, the largest in the recent March elections. However, Netanyahu could not assemble the 61-seat majority coalition needed to govern within the 28-day deadline after Rivlin gave him the first mandate last month.
The opposition will now have a chance. It needs Bennett’s seven seats to form a government. However, Bennett ran on a promise not to join a government with the Ra’am party, an Islamist party, which an opposition coalition would likely require.
Bennett now appears poised to break that promise, for the sake of an agreement in which he and Lapid would “rotate” or take turns as prime minster. Netanyahu has accused Bennett of selling out to the left to satisfy his own political ambitions.
Some of Bennett’s voters seem to agree — and only 43% of Israelis as a whole prefer a Lapid-Bennet coalition, the poll says:
Forty-three percent of respondents to the Channel 13 poll said they back a government that would see Bennett and Lapid rotate as prime minister, while a third backed a Bennett-Netanyahu coalition.
The poll only gave those two coalitions as options. About a quarter of the respondents didn’t back either option.
Yamina voters, however, were not enthused about the prospect of teaming up with Lapid. Only 24% of the party’s voters supported joining a “change” government. Over half said they prefer Bennett join with Netanyahu, while a quarter opposed both options.
Netanyahu has been in office since 2009. Though Israelis prefer his conservative policies, the fact that he has been in office so long has become a major issue. Former allies, including Bennett — once an aide to Netanyahu — have turned against him.
No Israeli political party has ever won an outright majority in a parliamentary election. Should the opposition fail to form a coalition, Israel would likely head into another election, which would be the fifth such contest since the spring of 2019.
The poll “included 669 respondents and had a 3.8% margin of error, according to the network,” the Times of Israel noted.
Other polls have produced different results: one indicated that 61% of Yamina voters preferred a Lapid-Bennett coalition.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new e-book, We Told You So!: The First 100 Days of Joe Biden’s Radical Presidency. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.