Gantz, Netanyahu at a Tie in Poll Asking Israelis Who Is Best Fit for PM Ahead of Election

Kahol Lavan remains largest party, newly-merged Labor-Gesher projected to get nine Knesset seats in Channel 12 News election poll

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Kahol Lavan leader Benny Gantz.
Marc Israel-Salem, Olivier Fitoussi

Israelis view Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and rival Benny Gantz, the leader of Kahol Lavan, as equally fit for the premiership, a poll released Monday by Israel's Channel 12 News indicates.

The poll shows that Kahol Lavan is remaining the largest party. It is projected to garner 34 seats, one down from the previous survey conducted earlier this month. The prime minister's Likud party dropped from 33 to 31 Knesset seats, broadening the gap between the two main parties as Netanyahu begins his fight for immunity in three criminal cases. 

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The Joint List of Arab parties remains the third largest party at 13 seats, unchanged since the previous poll.  After Labor-Gesher and Meretz announced their alliance on Monday, their joint slate gained a projected nine seats, the same number the two parties would have received separately, but taking them both from the brink of the electoral threshold to form the fourth largest party.

The ultra-Orthodox parties remained relatively stable, with Shas winning a projected eight seats and United Torah Judaism seven. Kingmaker Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu won a projected seven seats, down one from previous polls.  

Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked's Hayamin Hehadash, who announced they would not join a broad right-wing ticket on Monday, received six seats, down from eight. The Union of Right-Wing Parties, which as of now is composed of Rabbi Rafi Peretz's Habayit Hayehudi and the Kahanist Otzma Yehudit party, gained five seats in the poll after having not passed the electoral threshold in the previous survey.

According to the poll, if Hayamin Hehadash and the Union of Right-Wing Parties had decided to run together, they would have won 10 seats – one less than they would have now that they split.

The poll, which was conducted Monday, questioned 505 Israelis over the age of 18 from across Israeli society. It was conducted through the online iPanel panel and via telephone by Midgam. It has a margin of error of 4.4 percent.