A strategic union between the Labor Party and Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai’s party, The Israelis, led by Labor’s leader Merav Michaeli, would receive seven seats if elections were held today, according to a new opinion poll presented on Channel 12 News on Sunday night.
If they run separately, Labor, which has slowly gained support since Michaeli won the leadership primary on January 24, would receive five seats, and Huldai’s The Israelis would not pass the 3.25 percent electoral threshold.
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On Sunday, Huldai urged all the parties left of center to unite in order to maximize their leverage in the March 23 election. “The risk of a split by parties that could fall below the electoral threshold is huge and we must not take [that risk],” Huldai said. Earlier, his number 2, former justice minister and organized labor stalwart Avi Nissenkorn, announced he had pulled out of the race.
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Current opposition leader Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid and Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party both picked up a seat on the last Channel 12 News poll, garnering 17 and 30 seats respectively – although Yesh Atid would lose that extra seat if Labor and The Israelis were to run together. The other party that would suffer from a such a union would be Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu, who would drop to six seats from seven.
The pollsters also attempted to assess the consequences of the United Arab List’s exit from the Joint List of predominantly Arab parties. In such a situation, the United Arab List would not pass the threshold, while the rest of the alliance would end up with nine seats – one less than if they ran together, but a sharp drop form their current 15 seats in the Knesset.
According to the poll, parties supporting Netanyahu would get 46 seats in the Knesset, while a bloc opposing Netanyahu would get a slim majority of one, mustering 61 seats out of the Knesset’s 120. The remaining 13 seats would go to Yamina, led by Naftali Bennett, whose position regarding a Netanyahu-led government is not clear.