As Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu waited along with the rest of the country to see if Yair Lapid would manage to form a government hours before his mandate expires on Wednesday, a poll was published showing that nearly half of the Likud party backs the proposal for Netanyahu to step aside and allow another Likud leader take over the chairmanship.
The poll, aired by Army Radio, which said it had been commissioned by an unidentified “political figure,” found that 47.3 percent of Likud members would support it, as it could enable New Hope and other MKs to join a Likud-led right-wing coalition, because their objection to serving under Netanyahu would be removed.
A plurality of 48.9%, responded that Likud should go to the opposition rather than have Netanyahu replaced, even temporarily. The rest had no opinion.
Regarding the question of the PM’s successor, former Yerushalayim mayor Nir Barkat led with 45.3% in his favor.
Finance Minister Yisrael Katz, a senior Likud politician who has indicated that he wants the job, got the support of just 13.3%, according to the poll.
Health Minister Yuli Edelstein, who said he intends to challenge Netanyahu for the Likud leadership if the party goes into the opposition, got just 5.9%.
The poll, conducted by Direct Polls, sampled 505 Likud members and has a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points.
However, the report was vehemently rejected by Deputy Health Minister Yoav Kisch of Likud, who told Army Radio that Netanyahu continues to have overwhelming backing from his party.
“This lie that was ordered by a political figure is revolting,” Kisch said, though he did not know who was behind it.
He noted that Netanyahu had convincingly won Likud primaries in 2019 when he defeated a challenge from former Likud minister Gideon Saar, who then left Likud in 2020 to start the New Hope party.