Poll Shows Nationalists with Whopping 76 Seats
A second poll in 24 hours shows nationalism surging in Israel, with center-right and right-wing parties gaining considerably if Knesset elections were held today.
The surge would be especially strong if Likud and Yisrael Beytenu run separately, instead of in the merged list they ran in for the current Knesset.
A GeoCartography poll of 500 Israelis conducted for Radio 103 FM gave the following results (the parties' present strength is in brackets):
40  Likud Beytenu
12  Labor
12  Shas
11  Bayit Yehudi
10  Meretz
09  Yesh Atid
06  Yahadut Hatorah/UTJ
03  Hatnua
03  Kadima
03  Am Shalem (headed by Rabbi Haim Amsallem)
11  Hadash, Ra’am-Ta’al and Balad
When broken up into blocs, the nationalist-religious block has 72, up from the current 61, and the Center-Left-Arab bloc is down to 48 from 59.
The poll also checked the results that would be obtained if Likud and Yisrael Beytenu were to run separately. The results were as follows:
39  Likud
16  Yisrael Beytenu
11  Labor
10  Shas
10  Yesh Atid
08  Meretz
07  Bayit Yehudi
04  Yahadut Hatorah/UTJ
02  Hatnua
02  Kadima
00  Am Shalem
11  Hadash, Ra’am-Ta’al and Balad
In this scenario, the nationalist -religious bloc is up to a whopping 76 seats, and the center-Arab bloc is down to just 44.
According to another poll, sponsored by Channel 1's news debate show Politika, if elections were held today, the nationalist bloc (without hareidim) would gain strength from 43 to 50 Knesset seats, and would include the nationalist Otzma Leyisrael party, which failed to enter the current, 19th Knesset.
The poll gives the traditional coalition of nationalists and hareidim 67 seats, up from the current 61.
Likud-Beytenu would receive 34 seats, up from the current 31, while the Jewish Home would edge up by one, from 12 to 13. Most notably, Otzma Leyisrael, headed by former MKs Michael Ben-Ari and Aryeh Eldad, would receive three seats - a significant improvement over their last performance in which they narrowly missed the minimum threshold.
The party has campaigned hard on the issue of tackling illegal immigration and championing the rights of working-class Israelis in southern Tel Aviv - an issue which has hit headlines in recent weeks both as a result of violent crimes committed by infiltrators, as well as the high-profile demonstrations coordinated by left-wing groups.
As for the Left: Labor gets 16, up 1 from its current strength. Secularist Yesh Atid - the surprise success of the last elections - slides from 19 to 13. Far-left Meretz climbs from 6 to 7 and Tzipi Livni's Hatnua loses two seats, with 4 instead of its current 6.
The poll shows that Ashkenazic-hareidi party, Yahadut Hatorah (UTJ), would remain at its current strength of 7 were elections to be held today, and the Sephardic-hareidi Shas party would receive 10, one less than today.
Political analyst Jeremy Saltan told Arutz Sheva Wednesday that the polls show that Israelis are shifting to the right.
"The 'Right-Religious' block received 67 seats in the Channel 1 poll yesterday and 72 seats in the 103 FM poll this morning. In a scenario poll where Likud and Yisrael Beytenu ran separately the block would increase from 72 to 76 seats. A Likud-Yisrael Beytenu-Bayit Yehudi coalition of 62 seats is possible, according to the scenario poll.
"The clear loser of this trend is the “Center-Left” block, particularly Labor’s Yitzhak Herzog and Yesh Atid’s Yair Lapid, who both consider themselves candidates for prime minister," he noted.
As for the reason behind the sudden shift to the right:
"One possible analysis is that the nationalist politicians, particularly Likud’s Defense Minister Ya’alon, have responded very strongly against the American pressure on the diplomatic negotiations," Saltan suggested. "In a Panels poll from last week Israeli voters were asked: 'Do you think Secretary Kerry is operating in the right direction in regards to the diplomatic negotiations?' 53% answered 'the wrong direction,' and only 27% answered that he was operating in the right direction."