A new poll finds that if former Minister Moshe Kahlon were to run for the Knesset as the head of a new party, he would win 10 Knesset seats but not at the expense of his old party, the Likud.
The poll was published Tuesday evening on Channel 10, hours after Kahlon stated that he would be re-entering politics after a hiatus.
According to the poll, if Kahlon forms a new party, the Likud-Beytenu would win 33 seats, Labor would win 14 seats, the Jewish Home would receive 13 seats and Yesh Atid would drop to 12 seats. Meretz would win 8 seats, and the hareidi Shas and United Torah Judaism parties would each win 7 seats. Tzipi Livni’s Hatnua would win 4 seats.
If Likud and Yisrael Beytenu run separately in the next election, the poll found, the Likud led by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu would win 28 seats. Labor would win 14 seats and the Jewish Home would win 13. In this scenario, Yesh Atid would receive 11 seats and Kahlon’s party would receive 11 as well. Here too, Meretz would have 8 seats, Shas and United Torah Judaism would each win 7 and Hatnua would win 4 seats. Yisrael Beytenu, running separately from the Likud, would achieve 5 seats.
The poll thus indicates that a new party formed by Kahlon would take seats mostly from Shas and Yesh Atid and the Likud would remain largely unharmed.
In an interview with Yediot Aharonot published Tuesday, Kahlon said he would return to politics, but not to the Likud, which he said had been taken over by “extreme rightists”.
"I decided to return to politics, but I don't know in what framework," he said. "I have great difficulties returning to the Likud of today."
"The question is: what is Likud?" added Kahlon. "My Likud was really Menachem Begin's Likud, represented through a number of social principles: reducing the class gap, revitalizing [run-down] neighborhoods, educational and social rehabilitation."
"This was a pragmatic Likud, that knew how to make peace when it had to," he continued. "Likud was social sensitivity, Likud was compassion, Likud was caring for the weak. But this Likud no longer exists."
Kahlon, one of the most popular ministers in the last government, announced surprisingly before the last election that he was leaving politics.