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Nosediving Netanyahu Numbers Seem to Nix Notion of New Vote

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s political fate is getting murkier by the day, as new polls released on Sunday evening show the longest-tenured leader in Israel’s history losing ground fast. In what has been an unrelenting trend for the past six coronavirus-laden months, Netanyahu’s Likud party dropped in the latest survey and is now forecasted to garner only 27 seats in parliament if elections were held today – down from the 36 it currently occupies, and the 40 shown in polls held in April. Perhaps more concerning for the prime minister, his arch-rival and personal nemesis, Naftali Bennett, head of the right-wing Yamina party, is projected as netting a whopping 24 seats, a meteoric rise from the six his party currently holds. These numbers pose an impossible predicament for Netanyahu because the embattled prime minister, currently standing trial for alleged corruption, must soon decide whether to dissolve his unity coalition and head to elections. The choice is an unhappy marriage with coalition partner Benny Gantz of the centrist Blue and White party, to whom he is scheduled to hand over the prime ministerial reins in another year, or new voting, in which another Likud victory is evidently anything but assured.