A new poll shows that if elections were held now, the Likud would remain the largest party in the Knesset – but its coalition partner Shas would not make it into the new Knesset. The poll released by Channel Ten shows the chareidi party missing the elections threshold, with enough votes only for three Knesset seats – where a minimum of four are required. The Yachad faction, led by former Shas head Eli Yishai, would also miss the threshold, attaining enough votes for only two seats.
The loss of Shas weakens the right-wing coalition slightly. The Likud would come in with 26 seats, far ahead of Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid, which would get 21 seats. Jewish Home strengthens slightly, getting 10 seats in the next Knesset (it currently has eight), and Yisrael Beytenu would once again attain six seats, as in the current Knesset.
Kulanu, the party of Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, falls to seven seats. On the left, Zionist Camp moves up to 20 seats, while Meretz would attain seven. The United Arab List would get 12, for a total of 39 seats. United Torah Judaism would get six seats, making it the only chareidi party in the Knesset – unless Shas and Yachad were to join forces.
Channel Two last week quoted sources in Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s office that he was planning to propose a rollback of the election threshold, the minimum number of votes a party must have to attain representation in the Knesset. Today, a party needs at least 3.25 percent of all votes cast for that to happen – roughly equivalent to two seats. Netanyahu is said to support rolling the threshold back to 2 percent, the level that it was at before 2014, when Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman pushed through the change. Liberman said in response that there was “no way that the threshold will be changed,” while a Shas source also rejected the idea, saying the party was “not interested in favors from the prime minister. Shas is growing on its own and does not need help from Netanyahu.”