A poll taken just after the dramatic announcement that two leading Israeli opposition parties will merge for the country’s upcoming elections shows the new Blue and White list running well ahead of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling Likud.
According to the poll, commissioned by Israeli news outlet Hadashot, the merger of former Israeli general Benny Gantz’s Israel Resilience party and the Yesh Atid party of Yair Lapid would produce 36 seats in the next Knesset if elections were held today. Likud would come in second at 30 seats.
Running well behind are the Labor party with eight seats, the Haredi party Yahadut HaTorah at seven, the right-wing New Right party with six, and religious Sephardi party Shas receiving five.
Particularly hard-hit are the so-called “satellite” parties, with Meretz on the left, Yisrael Beiteinu on the secular right, Kulanu in the center, and the religious right Jewish Home all receiving only four seats apiece.
In terms of the various blocs that might form a government, Netanyahu and his rivals are running neck and neck. The center-left bloc and center-right bloc would both receive 48 seats. The Haredi and Arab blocs would win 12 each.
Regarding who is more suited to be prime minister, 37 percent said Netanyahu. Gantz and Lapid have announced a rotation agreement in which Gantz would serve as prime minister until the end of 2021, after which Lapid would assume the office — such an arrangement came in one point below Netanyahu at 36 percent.