Poll Gives National Camp New Year’s Strength

The latest poll shows the national camp with the continuing slid majority it has enjoyed the past three years. Kadima needs a prayer.<br/>

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Tzvi Ben Gedalyahu,

Katzelah and Hershkowitz at Ulpana neighborho
Katzelah and Hershkowitz at Ulpana neighborho
Israel news photo: Efrat Tzachor

The latest Knesset election poll shows the national camp with the continuing solid majority it has enjoyed the past thre and a half years, while Kadima needs a lot of prayers to keep it from drifting into oblivion.

A Smith survey carried out for Voice of Israel government radio on Friday shows that if elections were held today, the Likud, headed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, would win one more seat and have 28 representatives in the Knesset.

The Likud would have a clear lead to a coalition of 67 Knesset Members in the next government, which ends no later than next October.

Labor, led by Shelly Yechimovich, would be the second most popular party, with 19 mandates, six more than it won under the leadership of Defense Minister Ehud Barak. He quit the part earlier last year to from his own Independent party, which would win three mandates, one above the required minimum.

Labor leader Yechimovich would be left with Opposition partners from Yair Lapid’s new Future party, which was awarded 11 Knesset seats in the poll, five from the disintegrating Kadima party, and four from the left-wing Meretz party.

Barak theoretically could be thrown into the Opposition if the other probable coalition partners line up against his policies, which have been against a large Jewish presence in Judea and Samaria, if at all. He has been viewed as the major obstacle to allowing more building for Jews in Judea and Samaria, and has refused permission to allow Jews to move in some buildings they own, such as in Hevron.

Yisrael Beytenu would retain its 15 seats, Shas would win 10 seats, a loss of one, and the Yehadut HaTorah hareidi religious party would gain one Knesset Member and hold seat seats in the Knesset.

The biggest question mark for the next government is the future of the Jewish Home and National Union parties, which are to run a combined slate in the next elections.

The Jewish Home is part of the current coalition while the National Union refused to join the government because of its failure to state a clear pro-nationalist policy.

The poll shows their combined strength would give them eight mandates, one more than in the current Knesset.

The Arab parties would retain 11 seats, according to the poll.