Public Polls Prove Political Preferences Trump Paltry Pandemic Performance
Two of Israel’s leading news channels on Tuesday published separate public opinion polls, as the country seems destined for another general election in the coming months, the fourth such cycle in two years. While the numbers vary slightly, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s right-wing Likud party remains ahead, just under or at 30 parliamentary seats out of 120. Netanyahu’s presumed future coalition partner, the right-wing Yamina party, is next in line, receiving over 20 seats in the polls. Despite ideological similarities, Yamina is currently straddling the opposition benches, as its leader, Naftali Bennett, has become Netanyahu’s sworn enemy thanks to personal animosity between the two. Netanyahu’s current coalition partner, Benny Gantz’s centrist Blue and White, which in recent elections repeatedly received over 30 seats, would garner just 10 if elections were held today. Opposition leader Yair Lapid’s center-left Yesh Atid party, which split from Blue and White after the latter joined forces with Netanyahu, garnered around 20 parliamentary seats in Tuesday’s polls. All in all, despite widespread disapproval of his handling of the coronavirus, Netanyahu seems to be in a fairly comfortable position to form his fifth consecutive coalition government if and when he chooses to head to elections. The decision is entirely up to him.