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      Poll Shows Right and Left Tied

      Panels Poll hard to reconcile with two other polls which showed nationalists gaining considerably.
      By Gil Ronen
      First Publish: 1/23/2014, 4:33 PM

      Knesset plenum.
      Knesset plenum.
      Israel news photo: Flash 90

      The latest in a string of polls of the strength of Israel's political parties shows the left-wing and Arab bloc tied with the nationalist and religious bloc, 60-60. The poll's result is markedly different from those of two previous polls published this week, which showed nationalists gaining considerable strength compared to the current Knesset, in which the nationalist-religious bloc has a razor-thin majority of 61 MKs.

      The current Coalition does not reflect the traditional right-left split: Yesh Atid and Hatnua are generally seen as leftist parties, and they are inside the Coalition, while the hareidi parties, which are usually part of nationalist coalitions, are not in this one.

      The Panels Institute poll was broadcast by Knesset Channel 99 on Thursday. The breakdown of the projected number of Knesset seats per party, were elections held today, are as follows, with the parties' current strength in brackets:

      34 [31] Likud Beitenu

      17 [15] Labor

      14 [19] Yesh Atid

      12 [12] Bayit Yehudi

      10 [06] Meretz

      08 [11] Shas

      06 [07] Yahadut Hatorah/UTJ

      06 [06] Hatnua

      04 [04] Hadash

      04 [04] Ra’am-Ta’al

      03 [03] Balad

      02 [02] Kadima

      Blocs:
      60 [61] Right-Religious

      60 [59] Center-Left-Arab

      Political analyst Jeremy Saltan said the poll's results were “hard to explain,” seeing as “the 60-60 tie is even out of the margin of error of the previous two polls.”

      A GeoCartography poll of 500 Israelis conducted for Radio 103 FM gave the nationalist-religious bloc 72 Knesset seats, up from the current 61, while the center-left-Arab bloc was down to 48 from 59.

      The same poll predicted that the nationalist-religious bloc would garner no less than 76 seats, if Likud and Yisrael Beytenu were to run separately.

      A poll ordered by Channel 1's news debate show Politika gave the traditional coalition of nationalists and hareidim 67 seats, up from the current 61.