Poll: Party Led by Ariel, Yishai Would Do Well

A “Torah-oriented” Religious Zionist list led by MKs Uri Ariel and Eli Yishai would do quite well in upcoming election, poll predicts.

Yaakov Levi ,

Bennett and Ariel with MK Ayelet Shaked
Bennett and Ariel with MK Ayelet Shaked
Flash 90

A “Torah-oriented” Religious Zionist list led by MKs Uri Ariel and Eli Yishai would do quite well in the upcoming election, a poll released Thursday said.

The poll, by veteran Israeli pollsters Minna Tzemach and Rafi Smith, shows an alliance of the two garnering seven seats in the Match 2015 election.

The past week has been full of talk about the possibility that such a party would be formed.

Housing Minister Ariel, number two on the Jewish Home list, is head of the National Union/Tekuma party, and has complained to party leader Naftali Bennett that his wing of the party, which represents the “Hardali” vote (the term is a combination of 'hareidi' and 'Religious Zionist') is underrepresented in the party.

Adding to National Union/Tekuma's disappointment with Bennett's leadership was an announcement earlier this week that Jewish Home was embarking on an aggressive campaign to recruit new members - not necessarily from the Religious Zionist community.

Bennett is polling quite well among voters who consider themselves traditional and even secular, and Ariel is said to fear that National Uniom/Tekuma's influence will be watered down even further.

Yishai has a similar problem, but from a political, not a religious, perspective.

Yishai, former chairman of Shas - who was replaced several years ago by order of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef when former Shas leader Aryeh Deri returned to the political scene – has always been among the politically most right-wing members of Shas.

Sources close to Yishai have slammed Deri for his left-leaning political views. As a result, there has been much talk - and pressure, apparently - on Shas's rabbinical leadership to remove Yishai from the Shas list altogether.

Ariel and Yishai met last week, and as a result Bennett reportedly canceled a meeting he had with Ariel. The two met a day later in an attempt to shore up their relationship, and another meeting is set for next Sunday.

The poll shows Labor emerging as the largest Knesset faction, with 21 seats. The Likud is right behind with 20, while Jewish Home would, with 17 seats, be the apparent kingmaker. Yisrael Beytenu and Yesh Atid would get just ten seats each.



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