Two new election polls came out yesterday, both telling roughly the same story: the Likud-Beitenu party is losing some voters to the National Religious Party and to Otzma Le’Israel, an extreme faction led by former Kahane man Michael Ben-Ari. Both parties are identified with the settler movement (though settlers are well represented in Likud as well).
According to the last poll, the National Religious Party (Habayit Hayehudi) will be the Knesset’s third largest party following the elections. NRP has enjoyed new momentum since electing Naftali Bennet as its leader. Bennet, former chief of staff for Netanyahu, has launched a successful viral campaign urging Israel to annex Area C, consisting of 60 percent of the occupied West Bank.
The gap between the blocs remains very stable, and Netanyahu’s right-Orthodox bloc leads the center-left one 65-54 in our poll average. So there is no movement of voters in or from Netanyahu’s bloc, but within his coalition there is a clear trend towards the right, which could explain some of the recent extreme statements made by government officials, and Netanyahu’s announcements of new housing projects in the West Bank.
This graph shows the support for Likud vs. the support for the National Religious Party and Otzma Le’Israel since the unification of Likud with Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beitenu. There are ups and downs for both parties, but the general trend is clear.
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