Exit Polls Show Netanyahu with Path to Power Through Yamina

YERUSHALAYIM -
The scene at Shas headquarters in Yerushalayim on election night, Tuesday. (Noam Revkin Fenton/Flash90)
Religious Zionist party supporters celebrate the headquarters in Modi’in, as the exit polls surpassed all expectations. (Sraya Diamant/Flash90)

Minutes after the polls closed, network projections roughly confirmed the polling of recent weeks, putting Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu‏‏’s Likud party in the lead with prospects of a narrow coalition.

Kan news gave Likud 31 Knesset seats and Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party 18, consistent with polls of the past few days.

Shas was projected to win 9 seats, Joint Arab List was down to 8, United Torah Judaism, Yamina, Blue and White, Labor 7, Religious Zionism and Yisrael Beytenu all getting 7. New Hope and finished Meretz both finished with 6.

The Likud looked able to form a 61-MK majority, as the right-religious bloc held, but only if Naftali Bennett’s Yamina will join.

Bennett, now steps into the role of kingmaker. But at this early juncture he would not say what he intends.

Yamina party leader Naftali Bennett. (Reuters/Ammar Awad/File Photo)

“I shall do only what is good for the State of Israel,” he said on Tuesday night after the exit polls were announced.

Last week, Bennett signed a pledge not to sit in a government in which Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid is the prime minister. But this would not necessarily foreclose his options, if Lapid would agree to a rotational premiership with Bennett. Lapid has declined to explicitly say he was running for prime minister, insisting that his main concern is removing Netanyahu, regardless of who leads the replacement coalition.

There were surprises among the small parties. Bezalel Smotrich’s Religious Zionism, which had been thought to be in danger of crashing below the threshold, came up with 7 seats, almost doubling expectations. Netanyahu’s decision to encourage right-wing voters to vote for Smotrich, saying it was as good as a vote for Likud, apparently helped. The party headquarters was a scene of delirious dancing and cheering.

Blue and White, another candidate for oblivion throughout the campaign, regularly polling at 4-5 seats, took 7. Meretz, which also was reportedly in danger of wipeout, had 7.

Labor, which recently chose MK Merav Michaeli as chair, performed better than expected, not only clearing the threshold, but increasing its seats in the Knesset.

Ra’am leader Mansour Abbas on election night, as his breakaway party failed to pass the electoral threshold, according to the exit polls. (Flash90)

The JAL spinoff, Ra’am did not clear the threshold to enter the Knesset. Overall, fears of a meltdown in the Arab sector were confirmed, as the parties plummeted from 15 to 8 MKs.

Channel 12 and Channel 13’s exit polls were much the same.

Channel 11 exit poll predicts:

Likud 31
Yesh Atid 18
Shas 9
UTJ 7
Yamina 7
New Hope 6
RZ 7
Yisrael Beiteinu 7
Labor 7
B&W 7
Meretz 6
Joint List 8
Ra’am 0
Netanyahu bloc = 61 majority

Channel 12 exit poll predicts:

Likud 31
Yesh Atid 18
Shas 9
UTJ 6
Yamina 8
New Hope 6
RZ 7
Yisrael Beiteinu 6
Labor 7
B&W 7
Meretz 6
Joint List 9
Ra’am 0

Likud will have a 61 seats coalition.

News 13/Camil Fuchs exit poll predicts:
Likud 33
Yesh Atid 16
Shas 8
UTJ 7
Yamina 7
New Hope 5
RZ 6
Yisrael Beiteinu 8
Labor 7
B&W 8
Meretz 7
Joint List 8
Ra’am 0

Likud will have a 61 seats coalition.

Once again, it must be stressed, however, that these results are unofficial, and that the final outcome may be significantly different.


Updated Tuesday, March 23, 2021 at 4:56 pm .

Updated Tuesday, March 23, 2021 at 5:29 pm .