Netanyahu, Benny Gantz at cabinet meeting Sunday, June 7th
Netanyahu, Benny Gantz at cabinet meeting Sunday, June 7thReuters

A new poll shows Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s Likud party opening up a massive lead over its rivals – even as Israelis remain strongly divided on the prime minister’s plan to apply Israeli sovereignty to parts of Judea and Samaria.

The poll was conducted by the Smith Research polling firm, headed by veteran pollster Rafi Smith, and was published by The Jerusalem Post Tuesday night.

According to the Smith poll, if new elections were held today, the Likud would win a decisive victory with 41 seats, a gain of five seats over the 36 it won this March.

The second largest party in the current Knesset, the Blue and White faction of alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz, would fall from 16 seats to just 10 if new elections were held today.

The Yesh Atid-Telem alliance, by comparison, would remain stable at 15 seats, the same number it currently holds.

The Derech Eretz party, which ran with Blue and White, Yesh Atid, and Telem in the previous three elections, would fail to pass the 3.25% electoral threshold.

Combined, the four factions which ran jointly under the Blue and White list in the last three elections won 33 seats in the March 2020 election – but would receive just 25 seats total if new elections were held today. That’s a drop of three seats compared to the previous Smith poll, released in late April.

The Joint Arab List, which won 15 seats in March, would gain a single seat, rising to 16 seats, the same number the party was projected to win in the April poll by Smith.

Among the haredi factions, Shas would retain its nine seats, while United Torah Judaism would remain stable with seven seats. The previous poll showed Shas with ten seats and UTJ seven.

The rightist Yamina party, which won six seats in March, would win eight seats if new elections were held today, an increase of one seat compared to the results of the April poll.

The far-left Meretz party would win six seats if new elections were held today, doubling its strength.

The center-left Gesher faction, the rightist Otzma Yehudit, and the left-wing Labor party would all fail to cross the electoral threshold, the poll found.

The survey also found that Israelis are divided over Prime Minister Netanyahu’s plan to apply Israeli sovereignty over parts of Judea and Samaria after July 1st.

Twenty-seven percent of all respondents – or 38% of respondents with an opinion on the matter – backed immediately applying sovereignty. A further 21% of respondents – and 30% of those with an opinion – say Israel should apply sovereignty at a later date, while 23% of all respondents – and 32% of those with an opinion – said Israel should not apply sovereignty at all.