A new poll of Israeli voters suggests that despite a series of investigations against the Prime Minister and First Lady, Binyamin Netanyahu would easily secure another term as premier if elections were held today.
The survey, conducted by pollster Rafi Smith on behalf of Israel Radio, shows Netanyahu’s Likud party defeating its closest competitor, former Finance Minister Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party by a 4-mandate margin, 26 to 22.
That’s a marked improvement for the Likud, which in late January was trailing Yesh Atid by four seats.
Education Minister Naftali Bennett’s Jewish Home party, which currently holds 8 seats, would become the third largest party in the Knesset with 13 if elections were held today.
Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu inches up from the six it won in 2015 to seven, while Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu drops from 10 to 7.
Among the two haredi parties, Shas remains stable at seven mandates, while United Torah Judaism rises slightly, from six to seven.
Opposition Leader Isaac Herzog’s Zionist Union – a joint list of Labor and Tzipi Livni’s Hatnua – loses half of its mandates, plummeting from 24 to just 12 seats.
The far-left Meretz party gains a mandate, rising from 5 to 6, while the Arab Joint List maintains its 13 mandates.
The Yahad party, a joint list including former Interior Minister Eli Yishai and Hevron activist Baruch Marzel, was included in the poll but failed to pass the 3.25% minimum electoral threshold.
According to the survey, Netanyahu's present coalition with retain its current electoral strength of 67 of the Knesset's 120 seats, enabling the formation of a new government, while effectively blocking an alternative government by Lapid.
The Smith poll also surveyed voters with former Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon’s new party included in the list. Moshe Feiglin's newly announced Zehut party was not included.
When included in the poll, Yaalon’s as of yet unnamed faction won six seats, but would do little to change the overall outcome of elections, with Netanyahu’s Likud widening its margin over Yesh Atid by one mandate.
In this scenario, Likud lost a single seat to Yaalon’s party, slipping from 26 to 25. Yesh Atid fell by two to 20 seats, while the Zionist Union lost one seat, dropping to 11.
The Joint List remained stable with 13, as did the Jewish Home.
Moshe Kahlon’s Kulanu party lost one seat, falling to six, while Yisrael Beytenu held on to its seven mandates. Shas and United Torah Judaism remained unchanged.
The Meretz party in this scenario won only five seats, rather than six without Yaalon included in the poll.