NU head Ketzaleh
NU head KetzalehIsrael News photo

The latest poll from Channel 2, conducted as the IDF's Cast Lead operation continues in Gaza, shows the Labor party gaining significantly. The party, which was recently slated to receive fewer than 10 seats, is now in third place with 15 seats. Labor is led by Defense Minister Ehud Barak.

Labor's gains appeared to be at the expense of parties further left on the political spectrum. The combined Meretz-new leftist party, which was expected to gain two seats for a total of seven, is now expected to receive only five seats, the same number it currently enjoys. The Meimad-Greens coalition is not on the political map at all.

Likud is still in the lead over Kadima, but enjoys only a small margin with 31 expected seats to Kadima's 28. Those surveyed gave Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel is Our Home) 13 seats, the same number it received in previous polls.

The hareidi-religious Shas and United Torah Judaism (UTJ) parties both lost seats in the poll, with Shas at nine seats and UTJ at four. The parties currently have 12 and six seats respectively.

NU Already at Four

The newly-created National Union party rose in the poll to four seats, putting it over the minimum number of mandates needed to enter Knesset. No other new party is expected to receive more than three seats at this time. NU party leader Yaakov "Ketzaleh" Katz said that another, not yet published poll, has given the party five seats.

NU Campaign Chairman Aryeh Eldad said, "After an initial period of confusion in which the polling institutes and the voters were not yet aware of the creation of the new united National Union list, we now see that the party rising in popularity."

Some political analysts say the NU could reach 10-15 seats in the next Knesset. Surveys conducted on behalf of the Jewish National Front, one of the founding groups in the NU, show that a high percentage of Israelis support the party once they read its platform. Twenty-five percent of those describing themselves as religious or traditional said they will vote for the party after they read its platform, pollsters found.

The Channel two poll was conducted by the Panels polling institute.

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