Anti-Netanyahu Bloc Grows but Gantz Is Losing Steam, Election Poll Shows

Channel 13 poll shows Gideon Sa'ar's party keeping its second place position, but Gantz's Kahol Lavan slipping towards the electoral threshold

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Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz in the Knesset, September 12, 2020.
Alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister Benny Gantz in the Knesset, September 12, 2020.Credit: Dani Shem Tov / Knesset Spokesperson's Office

As Israeli lawmakers' deadline to pass a state budget nears and the Knesset stands on the brink of dissolution, a Channel 13 News poll released Sunday shows that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party would retain its marked lead if election were held today, while Defense Minister Benny Gantz's Kahol Lavan would barely pass the electoral threshold.

The bloc that has pledged not to join a Netanyahu government would stand at 64 out of 120 Knesset seats. The opposing bloc, composed of Likud, Shas, United Torah Judaism and Yamina, would garner just 56, which is not enough to form a government.   

The poll shows Likud maintaining its lead with 28 seats, consistent with, if not slightly higher than other recent polls, the day after Netanyahu got his coronavirus vaccine on-camera.

Close behind is his rival Gideon Sa'ar's New Hope party, with 19 seats, three fewer than it had garnered in a Channel 12 poll last week. Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid garnered 16 seats.

Other parties' results were consistent with previous surveys, but Kahol Lavan, which has been receiving six seats in recent weeks' polls, has slipped to just five. A party requires four seats to enter Knesset. Labor, Gesher and Habayit Hayehudi did not get enough seats to cross this threshold.

Earlier Sunday, in an attempt to stave off elections, Gantz agreed to curb Justice Minister Avi Nissenkorn's powers. In return, Gantz hopes to cement the rotation agreement for the premiership with Netanyahu is upheld.

According to the deal, Nissenkorn, a lawmaker from Benny Gantz's Kahol Lavan party, would lose his powers as Justice Minister in exchange for revoking the law stating that the Knesset would automatically dissolve if a 2020 state budget is not passed by the December 23 deadline.  

The law states that if the Knesset doesn't pass a state budget by Tuesday, Israel will head for another round of elections, the fourth in two years.