With Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu riding high in the polls – the most recent polls from last week show that a Netanyahu-led Likud would get as many as 34 seats in a new Knesset if elections were held now – elections seem to be a long way off, at least this week. But if elections were to be held soon and Zionist Camp emerged as a kingmaker, the party should not count on his support to form a coalition, Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon said.
In an interview with Channel 20, Kahlon said that to his knowledge, Zionist Camp chairperson Avi Gabay “is a radical leftist, very extreme. I find it hard to believe that, as a member of the national camp, that Kulanu could sit in the same coalition as Gabay. I think that sums it up,” Kahlon said.
Oddly perhaps, Gabay had been a member of Kahlon’s Kulanu before moving on to Zionist Camp – and he had been recruited personally by Kahlon. The Finance Minister said that at the time, he had no idea how leftist Gabay really was. “We had had some discussions and it turned out that he has some specific views. That is legitimate, I don’t consider ‘leftist’ a dirty word.” But Kulanu would not be able to work with someone of such leftist views, Kahlon said in the interview.
Not that Gabay is likely to form any government. A poll published recently by the Smith organization showed that Zionist Camp would get only 11 seats in a new Knesset. The poll also shows United Torah Judaism with six seats, and Shas with five. Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu would get seven seats, while Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu would get eight. Meretz would get six seats, while a party led by ex-Yisrael Beytenu MK Orly Levy-Abukasis would get five. In those elections, the poll showed, the Likud, led by Netanyahu, would get 34 seats – four more than it has in the current Knesset.
In addition, the poll showed that the Yair Lapid-led Yesh Atid party would get 17 seats – six to seven fewer than it had been polling recently. Jewish Home, meanwhile, would get 9 – with earlier polls showing the party getting as many as 15 seats in new elections.