A new public opinion sampling indicates that Israel’s center-left may have found a viable candidate to unseat Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in the next elections: Former IDF chief of staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz.
A Panels Research poll conducted for the Knesset showed that if Gantz run at the head of the Zionist Camp list today instead of the incumbent chairman Avi Gabbay, he would get more than double the number of votes. It projects Gabbay to win 11; Gantz 24.
An Israeli law which requires a “cooling off period” for former generals who want to enter politics might prevent Gantz from running, if elections are held before next February; although some interpret the law differently, allowing him run even now.
The poll was entirely speculative, however, since Gantz has yet to indicate a political preference. In fact, it was reported over the weekend that Netanyahu’s wife Sara has been lobbying the prime minister to recruit Gantz for the Likud party.
The poll found that if elections were held now, Likud would win 29 seats, Yesh Atid 19, Jewish Home and the Arab Joint List 12 each, the Zionist Camp 11, United Torah Judaism 8, Meretz and Kulanu 7 each, Yisrael Beytenu 6, Shas 5. A new party led by former Yisrael Beytenu MK Orly Levy-Abecassis was seen getting 4 seats, compared to a recent poll which showed her winning 8.