For the first time in the current election campaign, a poll shows Binyamin Netanyahu’s rightwing coalition reaching 60 Knesset seats – and it’s due to four seats contributed by the Otzma Yehudit party, which for the first time passes the electoral threshold.
The poll, by the Knesset Channel, has the Likud and the Blue and White party neck-in-neck with 31 seats. But Netanyahu can count on more direct Knesset support than Blue and White leader Benny Gantz. On the right side of the political constellation, the Yemina party gets 10 seats in the poll, along with eight for United Torah Judaism and seven for Shas. With four seats from Otzma, Netanyahu could put together a coalition of 60 MKs.
On the left side of the plenum, Gantz can count on five seats each from the Democratic Camp and Labor, giving him a total of 41 MKs to support a prime ministerial bid. Yisrael Beytenu would get nine seats and the United Arab List would get 10, and while Gantz could probably count on them to vote against a government formed by Netanyahu, neither would support an alternative government Gantz would form if it included either chareidi parties, the Likud or the leftist parties.
Polls in recent days have shown a rise in support for Otzma Yehudit, a trend that became noticeable after Moshe Feiglin announced last week that his Zehut party was dropping out of the election. The pressure has been on Otzma head Itamar Ben-Gvir to do the same, but he has refused to do so, saying in an interview Wednesday that he would be the one that would put the right over the top and enable Netanyahu to form a government.
Just hours before the Knesset Channel unveiled its poll, Yemina head Ayelet Shaked told Yisrael Hayom that if Otzma did not drop out, Netanyahu would lose out on valuable Knesset seats, giving Gantz an opportunity to form a government. “This is a scenario that keeps repeating itself,” Shaked said. “If Otzma runs, there will not be a rightwing government. They have been doing this for a while, claiming they can pass the electoral threshold, but they end up wasting between 30,000 and 100,000 votes. Even Chabad has called on its supporters not to vote for any party that cannot definitely pass the threshold,” she added.