Likud Led by Far-right Naftali Bennett Would Win Israeli Elections, Poll Says

Survey by the Ma'ariv daily finds Likud would win 29 seats in the 120-member Knesset and defeat Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid; 57 percent believe suspicions against Netanyahu justified.

Naftali Bennett addresses the Knesset, December 7, 2016.
Naftali Bennett addresses the Knesset, December 7, 2016. Olivier Fitoussi

If Naftali Bennett ran as head of the right-wing Likud, the party would win 29 seats in a parliamentary vote and defeat centrist Yair Lapid, who other polls have recently shown would defeat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu if a new election were to be held.

The Maariv survey found 57 percent of Israelis believe the suspicions of corruption against Netanyahu are justified, while 28 percent believe the opposite. Fifty-six percent believe that holding a snap election would not be a good idea, while 27 percent feel it would be the right step.

In response to the question as to who should succeed Netanyahu, 21 percent said they support Lapid, 12 percent said Bennett, the current education minister and head of the Habayit Hayeudhi party, seven percent said Gideon Sa'ar, a former interior minister of Likud, and six percent, Moshe Ya'alon, a former defense minister.

Eighteen percent expressed a preference for Sa'ar to head the Likud while Ya'alon and Public Security Minister Gideon Erdan won 10 percent support apiece. Among Likud supporters, Erdan came out ahead with Sa'ar in second place.

The results when asked what if party leaders remained the same were similar to other recent polls. Lapid would win with 26 seats, while the Likud would win only 23.

If former Israel Defense Forces chief Gaby Ashkenazi were to head the Zionist Union, the party would win 15 seats. Were Ya'alon to join ranks with Lapid, the party would win 30 seats, while if Ashkenazi were to join Lapid the party would win only one additional seat, or 27 mandates.

As head of an independent party, Ya'alon would win eight seats, the survey shows.