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Knesset polls: The Israeli Right has the upper hand

Financial paper Globes: Avigdor Lieberman’s party getting stronger; reaches 18 Knesset seats

Though we are still far from elections, two polls were published last week in the Israel media. According to both, if elections were held today, the Right-Orthodox block would have remained in power, possibly even getting stronger.

In Globes‘ poll from Sunday, Avigdor Lieberman’s party, Israel Beitenu, goes up to 18 seats of the Knesset’s 120 (it has 14 currently) and the Likud reaches 29 seats (27 now). Kadima would have dropped from 28 to 26 seats and Labor to 8. Labor has won 13 seats in the last elections, but since split to two parties – Atzmaut, under Ehud Barak (5 seats) and Labor (8 seats). According to all recent polls Atzmaut, Barak’s new party, will be left out of the next Knesset.

Altogether, the right rises to 72 seats, while the center-left block drops to 48.

Yedioth Ahronoth’s poll, which was published last Friday, checked what would be the result for Labor under several potential leaders (following Barak’s departure, Labor will soon conduct new premieres). Amram Mitzna, who announced his candidacy this week, has the best result – 17 seats – but even together with Kadima’s 25 seats in this poll, the rightwing and Orthodox parties hold a majority of 62 seats. When Labor is under other leaders the Right is even stronger. Avigdor Lieberman polls 16 seats.

According to the same poll, a majority of the public (48 against 41) thinks that Israel should recognize an independent Palestinian state, while keeping the so-called “settlements blocks”; and a clear majority (53 percent) believes that Netanyahu should present his own peace plan in his visit to Washington this month, and include in it “significant concessions”.

Yedioth’s poll was conducted before the Palestinian reconciliation was announced, so these figures could have changed significantly since. Yet one could still draw two conclusions, which are at odd with the messages coming out of the PM’s office: First, Netanyahu’s coalition is stable, and if he calls new elections, he is likely to win them; second, the PM has a mandate from the public to make concessions – and it is his own choice not to do so.

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    1. RichardNYC

      More proof that Israel Beitenu has been mis-characterized as a far-right party vis a vis the settlements

      Reply to Comment
    2. Danny

      This is good news. The more right wing Israel becomes, the easier it will be to sanction it. At least with Likud and Lieberman, there is no masquarade like with Kadima pretending to be a party of peace. The more right wing Israel is, the less maneuvering space it has. Notice that there have been no major wars under Netanyahu’s reign, and probably won’t be in the future either. He’s so tied up, he can barely move. Let’s hope that continues.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Noam W

      A few more variables… When Labor will have elected a leader, they will likely go up in strength a little because there will be a figure-head.

      If and when the left manages to create a party between Labor and Khadash that may shake things up a couple of mandates one way or the other.

      When Barak joins Netanyahu as a section (Hativa) of the Likud, that will strengthen the Likud somewhat.

      But all of these are little ripples compared the breaker that will be the September declaration, or lack of declaration.

      Reply to Comment
    4. aristeides

      I wonder how many US Jewish organizations would continue their blind support for Israel under an Avigdor Lieberman government.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Y.

      Two notes:

      A) The Left’s situation is actually much worse. Noam’s figures include the Arab parties, which will not sit in a coalition with the Zionist-Left parties. Thus, the Right has an even bigger lead.

      B) The political questions in Yedioth’s poll aren’t useful, both because they are tilted (e.g. the recognition question allows Israel to retain the blocks – which will not be included in any would-be UN res. – while promising a conflict with the UN if not recognized, which is ridiculous by itself) and too general (e.g. the concessions question – these types of questions poll decently in the abstract but fail badly when it comes to specifics).

      Reply to Comment
    6. It sounds like there is electoral work to do, and potential to accomplish something substantive.

      Reply to Comment
    7. richard Allen

      @Noam W–Isn’t Meretz already theoretically that party?
      @ Danny–Many people thought the same as you did; Tzipi would say all the correct things that the rest of the world wanted to hear, but would actually do nothing, whereas Bibi would be so appalling that the rest of the world would HAVE to force him into compliance, but it hasn’t happened as yet.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Rika Chaval

      Danny, your “the-worse-the-better” cynism is utterly childish. And history has shown that it doesn’t work. The worse is never better, it is always worse.

      Reply to Comment