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One Month to Go: Netanyahu Rebounds while Newcomer Stumbles

As is often the case when Israel goes to the polls, a new face forms a party and the newbie polls strong right up until election day. Then, as stark reality overtakes the pomp and pageantry of the election process — albeit seriously truncated by comparison to American traditions – Israelis shift into survival mode and in the private moment during which the voter drops his/her ballot into the box, health and wealth become the overriding factors. For a decade, that has meant Binyamin Netanyahu for enough Israelis to propel him to a decade of terms as prime minister. Although this year began as horse race as the new kid on the block – former army chief-of-staff Benny Gantz – rose through the polls while the nation joked that his early success was because he refused to comment on anything. Predictably, the market correction began when Harpo spoke. But staying with the analogy, as the race to form a government passes the three-quarter poll – one month to go — Netanyahu appears to be making his move, showing his first significant upward bump while Gantz – now running his stable with 3 former army chiefs-of-staffs in the first four position and a marginal also-ran as not only the fourth but the other half of a power share deal for half the term. To many of the voters we’ve spoken to, dividing the prime minister’s term could be the undoing of the new “Blue-and-White” party’s success. Perhaps most significant is that Netanyahu is moving toward the appearance of being able to form a coalition. Asked who will get the nod to do so, the poll commissioned by the daily Yediot Aharonot shows Netanyahu with a 53% to 27% lead over Gantz.