Blue and White leader Benny Gantz’s lead over Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in the polls has evaporated in recent days, as his public image has taken one hit after another.
After Gantz maintained a modest lead for months, the position have reversed, and at least according to one poll released on Thursday night, Netanyahu’s Likud-led right-wing bloc was slowly approaching the 61 mandates needed to form a government.
According to Direct Polls, the right had 59 mandates and Likud would beat Blue and White 35 seats to 33 if elections were hold now.
Netanyahu greeted the news with a tweet: “Two more mandates and we remove Israel from the political quagmire.”
The picture was not quite as bright in two other polls, though. A Kantar poll conducted for KAN News gave Netanyahu’s bloc 58 mandates, with Likud ahead just 35 to 34.
A Panels Research’s poll for The Jerusalem Post found the two main parties tied at 34 each, and the right-wing bloc with 57 seats.
The latter poll predicted 13 seats for Joint List, 9 each for Shas and Labor-Gesher-Meretz, 7 each for Yamina, United Torah Judaism and Yisrael Beytenu.
Gantz was confronted with a criminal probe of his former company “Fifth Dimension” this week, though the former IDF chief was not named as a suspect in corrupt contracting with Israel police for a computer system. In a series of interviews, he has spoken hesitantly and made errors, which he has admitted, and Likud has seized upon the weak performance as indicative of a candidate not ready for national office.
Then, on Thursday night (after the latest polls were conducted), Channel 12 ran a recording in which a top political adviser to Blue and White can be heard derogating Gantz’s ability.
Blue and White dismissed the recording as “lies” engineered by the Likud.