Poll: Netanyahu’s Coronavirus Leadership Jumps Likud Support

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu at a press conference about the coronavirus, Wednesday. (Flash90)

Elections for the 23rd Knesset were held just two weeks ago and MKs were sworn in Monday – but the near-impossibility of either Binyamin Netanyahu or Benny Gantz establishing a solid, sustainable coalition, as well as the wide gulf between Likud and Blue and White, apparently precluding a unity government, has gotten many Israelis thinking about a new round of elections. And if new elections are held, the Likud will be a clear winner, according to two new polls.

The polls, conducted by the Direct Plus organization, show Blue and White shrinking by four seats, to 30 – with all those seats moving to the Likud, which would get 39 seats. The United Arab List would again get 16 seats, while Shas and United Torah Judaism would get 8 apiece. Labor-Meretz would retain its 7 seats, and Yamina its 6. Yisrael Beytenu would fall to 6 seats.

Under those circumstances, Netanyahu could easily form a government with 61 MKs – but that would only be after a fourth round of elections, which would take place in September, days before Rosh Hashanah.

Analysts said that two factors – the major efforts by Gantz to recruit the United Arab List to form a government, and the leadership displayed by Netanyahu in the wake of the coronavirus crisis – have left major impressions on the electorate, who on the one hand are angry at Gantz for lying about not including the List in efforts to topple Netanyahu, and on the other are impressed with the firm efforts of Netanyahu and the government to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

On Monday, President Reuven Rivlin asked Benny Gantz to attempt to form a government, and in a round of phone calls to right-wing parties, Gantz was told that members of the right-wing bloc were not interested.

Kan News reported that MKs of the Likud, UTJ, Shas and Yemina all agreed that they would not meet with Gantz at all. In a phone call, Defense Minister Naftali Bennett told Gantz Monday that there was nothing to talk about with Blue and White “as long as the party continues to dance around the idea of forming a government with supporters of terror,” while Shas head Rabbi Aryeh Deri told Gantz that the proper thing in the wake of the coronavirus crisis would be for him to join a unity government led by Netanyahu.