Binyamin Netanyahu in Knesset with Moshe Kahlon, Yisrael Katz, and Gilad Erdan
Binyamin Netanyahu in Knesset with Moshe Kahlon, Yisrael Katz, and Gilad Erdan REUTERS

The Likud would win a plurality in the next Knesset if new elections were held today, a new poll shows, but would have serious difficulty forming the next government without the support of former Defense Minister Avidgor Liberman’s secular rightist Yisrael Beytenu party.

According to the poll, conducted by the Smith polling agency Thursday and published by Maariv and 103FM Radio Friday, if new elections were held today, the Likud would widen its lead over its rival, the center-left Blue and White party, with 33 seats for the Likud, compared to 30 for Blue and White

In the April 9th elections, both parties won 35 seats apiece. In the previous Smith poll, published last week, the Likud received 32 seats, compared to 30 for Blue and White.

As in last week’s poll, however, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu lacks a clear path to a 61-seat majority government without Liberman’s support.

Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu party refused to join a Netanyahu-led government following the April elections unless Netanyahu vowed to pass a haredi draft bill pushed by Yisrael Beytenu – a condition Netanyahu’s haredi allies refused to accept.

While the right-wing – religious bloc would win a clear majority of 66 seats in the 120-member Knesset if new elections were held today, eight of those seats would go to Yisrael Beytenu, leaving Netanyahu with just 58 seats for his likely coalition partners.

Netanyahu could turn to the Blue and White party to form a unity government, though the Blue and White rejected such an arrangement following the previous election.

The renewed alliance of Arab parties, the Joint List, would win 10 seats, the same number the Arab factions won on two separate lists in the April election, and down one from the previous Smith poll.

The far-left Meretz faction gained one seat in Friday’s poll, rising from four seats in the April election and the previous smith poll to five seats, while Labor fell from six in the previous election (and last week’s Smith poll) to five mandates.

Former Prime Minister Ehud Barak’s Democratic Israel party remained steady at four seats.

The haredi parties lost a net total of one seat, with the Shas party holding steady at eight mandates, the same number it won in April, and United Torah Judaism slipping by one seat, from eight to seven.

The United Right party lost two seats after the Otzma Yehudit faction bolted, leaving the United Right with four mandates in the new poll, compared to six in last week’s. The joint ticket won five mandates in April.

Former Education Minister Naftali Bennett’s New Right, by contrast, gained two seats, rising from four in the previous poll to six mandates. The party did not enter the 21st Knesset.

Otzma Yehudit and Zehut both failed to cross the electoral threshold in the poll.