Report: Netanyahu Concerned Over Continued Gantz Strength in Polls

Benny Gantz delivers his first political speech at the party campaign launch in Tel Aviv, Tuesday. (Reuters/Amir Cohen)

Operating on the assumption that Benny Gantz may pose a real threat to his re-election, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will limit his visits abroad in the weeks before the election, Maariv reported Friday. A new poll published Friday shows that if elections were held today, the Likud would get 31 seats – but Benny Gantz’s Resilience Party and Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid would together get 32. The two parties have not united and according to recent reports, they are not likely to, at least so far.

With that, Netanyahu’s travel schedule for February is apparently booked. Netanyahu is likely to visit the Munich Security Conference, to be held in Poland, and where the main topic of discussion will be Iran – but he may precede that with a trip to India.

The Jerusalem Post quoted “informed sources” as saying that Netanyahu would visit India for a one-day trip on February 11. The Prime Minister’s Office would not confirm that visit, the report said, but did confirm the Poland trip. Meanwhile, reports Friday in local media said that Netanyahu would visit Morocco in February as well, reiterating reports about that trip from last week. Neither Israel nor Morocco have confirmed that visit.

The Maariv poll has United Torah Judaism coming in with 7 seats, the New Right, along with Labor and Ta’al with 6. Meretz, the United Arab List, Kulanu, and Yisrael Beytenu would get 5 each. Shas, Jewish Home, and Gesher would get 4. Missing the electoral threshold are Otzma Yehudit, Zehut (led by Moshe Feiglin), Yachad (led by Eli Yishai), Aleh Yarok, Hatnu’a (led by Tzipi Livni), and Magen (led by Gal Hirsch). According to pollsters, Gantz, who alone would get 20 seats, is getting his electoral strength from Labor (which has “donated” 8 seats to Gantz), Yesh Atid (4 seats) the Likud (2 seats), and Kulanu (1 seat).