Poll Shows Netanyahu Thriving Despite Migrant ‘Zig Zag’

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (Marc Israel Sellem/Pool)

A new poll shows that Binyamin Netanyahu has retained his electoral appeal with likely voters, despite what the media has termed the Prime Minister’s “zig zag” on a deal to resettle illegal African migrants. According to the poll taken by the Fuchs organization on behalf of Channel Ten, the Likud would get 32 seats in a new Knesset if elections were held now.

The poll comes after Netanyahu proposed on Monday – and then hours later rescinded – a deal that he said had been worked out with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees that would have had Israel give residence permits to some 16,000 African migrants, while another 23,000 would be resettled in Western countries. After much criticism by members of this government, Netanyahu rescinded the deal, although opposition groups accused the Prime Minister of “grandstanding,” and insisting that there had not been any deal with European countries to accept any migrants.

Several ministers, including Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon and Education Minister Naftali Bennett slammed the deal when it was announced, but neither seems to have benefited from the situation. The poll has Bennett’s Jewish Home coming in with ten seats, and Kahlon’s Kulanu with seven seats – slightly more than both have in the Knesset now, but within range of other recent polls showing the parties strengthening slightly.

Among opposition parties, Yesh Atid continues to lead, and would get 21 seats in a new Knesset, according to the poll. The third largest party would be the United Arab List, which would come in with 12 seats. Zionist Camp/Labor continues to weaken, and according to the poll the party would attain just 12 seats.

Most notable in the poll is a sharp weakening of United Torah Judaism, which would get just five seats – fewer than it has in the Knesset now, and far fewer than the seven to ten other recent polls have shown the party attaining in new elections. In the new poll, Shas manages to squeeze into the Knesset with four seats, the minimum required for parliamentary representation; other recent polls have shown the part failing to make it past the electoral threshold.