The Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel is Our Home) party, led by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, has jumped in a poll by Globes despite – or because of – his recent criminal indictment.
If elections were held today, Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel Is Our Home) would receive 18 seats in the Knesset, three more than it now holds and two mandates away from Lieberman’s stated goal of 20. He previously has said that he will be the Prime Minister of Israel in the future.
Long and drawn-out investigations spanning 12 years finally resulted in an indictment last month against him. He faces charges of breach of public trust and misuse of public funds. He has denied any wrongdoing and has accused government officials of harassment.
The poll indicates that voters agree with him that he is the victim of injustice, although his clear-spoken views on the Muslim world in general and on the Palestinian Authority in particular also may be the reason for the party’s increase in popularity.
The Smith Institute survey reveals that any future government will not be able to from a coalition majority without Yisrael Beiteinu.
According to the poll, Kadima would win only 26 seats today, three less than its current total, while the Likud would gain two seats and become the largest party with 29 mandates.
The National Union, chaired by Yaakov (Ketzaleh) Katz, would win five seats, an increase of one, while the Jewish Home party would remain with three Knesset Members. Meretz would gain one seat (to four). The Arab parties combined would retain their strength of 10 Knesset seats. Shas and United Torah Judaism would stay the same at 11 and 5 MKs respectively. Labor would win eight seats if elections were held today.
The survey did not take into account the possibility of new party headed by left-wing telvision personality Yair Lapid or the return of former Shas chairman Aryeh Deri to election politics.