Netanyahu Charges to the Front in First Polls for Snap Election
The doom and gloom stories about the demise of Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu following his inability to form a coalition government after the April 9 election made a sudden reversal with the release of the first polls that assess chances of success in the September 17 re-vote. While many expected to see a further erosion of support for the incumbent, the survey instead raises the projected Netanyahu yield to 37 seats while the leading opposition group, Blue and White, falls to 33 seats. The Panels Public poll published by the daily Maariv shows additional turmoil in the ranks of the opposition as the venerable Labor Party, once arguably the nation’s most significant, disappears from the election altogether as it plummets beneath the threshold for inclusion in the next parliament. The New Right party, a challenger to Netanyahu on his own conservative turf, stands to lose big unless Ayelet Shaked, the former justice minister, remains aligned with former education minister Naftali Bennett rather than returning to Netanyahu’s Likud Party as she has said she might do. If she returns to Likud, the poll says, she brings a bonanza of a 41-seat total with her. And part of the “gift” of a new election will be Netanyahu’s ability to form a government without nemesis Avigdor Liberman and party, whose refusal to close a deal with Likud caused the re-vote.