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      Poll Predicts Bayit Yehudi Will be Third Largest Party

      If elections were held today, Naftali Bennett's party will win 12 seats and be the Knesset's third largest party, finds Channel 2 poll.
      By Elad Benari
      First Publish: 12/19/2012, 1:12 AM

      Naftali Bennett
      Naftali Bennett
      Israel news photo: Flash 90

      If elections were held today, the Bayit Yehudi (Jewish Home) party will be the third largest party in the Knesset, a Channel 2 News poll released Tuesday evening finds.

      According to the poll, which was conducted by Dr. Mina Tzemach, the Jewish Home gains strength at the expense of the Likud Beytenu, and the nationalist bloc maintains its strength despite Tzipi Livni having joined the race as the head of a new party.

      The poll found that the Likud Beytenu will be the largest party with 35 seats, followed by Labor with 19. The Jewish Home will achieve 12 seats and will be followed by Shas with 11. Tzipi Livni's party, Hatenua, will achieve 10 seats and Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid (Future) receives nine. Meretz maintains its current number of three seats, while Rabbi Haim Amsallem's Am Shalem and Otzma LeYisrael, headed by Aryeh Eldad and Michael Ben-Ari, will only achieve two seats. Shaul Mofaz's Kadima is not on the list at all.

      Naftali Bennett, who heads the Jewish Home, has been steadily gaining strength in the polls, at the expense of the Likud Beytenu and Shas, which has decided to launch a campaign directly attacking Bennett and his party.

      Netanyahu is reportedly concerned about Bennett's strength as well. A source in the government hinted last week that Netanyahu's recent decisions to expand Jewish construction in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem were meant to take away votes from Bennett and were not a response to the Palestinian Authority's unilateral move at the United Nations.

      Tuesday's poll also found that Bennett has managed to breathe new life into the party and that most of its voters are below the age of 40, with many even below the age of 30.

      The poll also found that about a third of the Bayit Yehudi's voters are secular or traditional Israelis. In the past, most of the party's voters were religious Jews.