Could the left finally defeat Bibi? Not a chance, Israelis say

Ahead of elections, Israelis say they prefer right-wing government, predict Israeli right will prevail in April vote.

David Rosenberg,

Naftali Bennett and Binyamin Netnayahu at 2018 Bible Quiz
Naftali Bennett and Binyamin Netnayahu at 2018 Bible Quiz
Shlomi Cohen/FLASH90

With new elections scheduled in less than three months, Knesset polls show the ruling Likud party likely to again emerge as the largest faction in the 120-member legislature, giving it the clearest path to form a ruling coalition.

While the emergence of new parties which have yet to clearly define themselves on the left-right spectrum, including former Yisrael Beytenu MK Orly Levy’s Gesher faction, and former IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz’s Hosen Yisrael (Israel Resilience Party), have reduced the right-wing bloc’s lead in polls, a majority of Israelis say they back the formation of a center-right or right-wing government after the April elections.

According to the poll, conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute’s Guttman Center in conjunction with Tel Aviv University, a plurality of Israeli Jews (37.2%) hope that a right-wing government is established following the elections to the 21st Knesset. Just over a third (35.6%) hope the new government will be center-right, for a total of 72.8% backing a coalition on the right side of the political spectrum.

By comparison, just 3% of Jews hope the government will be left-wing, while a further 16.8% hope for a center-left government, giving a total of less than 20% who back a coalition on the left side of the spectrum.

Israeli Arabs were more likely to back a left-wing government, with 50% supporting such a coalition, compared to 16% in favor of a center-left government, 5% in favor of a center-right one, a 16% backing a rightist coalition.

Israelis – both Arabs and Jews – expect the new government to be either right-wing or center right. A total of 42.4% of Jews and 57.4% of Arabs say they next government will be right-wing, compared to 43.6% of Jews and 10.8% of Arabs who believe it will be center-right. Only 0.8% of Jews and 12.6% of Arabs think the new coalition will be left-wing, with a further 3.6% of Jews and 6.3% of Arabs saying the next government will likely be center-left.