Israel Election |

Religious Zionism Climbs Polls if Led by Kahanist Itamar Ben-Gvir

The far-right party would gain three seats in the upcoming Israeli election if headed by Ben-Gvir compared to ten under party leader Bezalel Smotrich ■ Poll finds Meretz would have better chances under retired leader Zehava Galon

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Haaretz
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Lawmaker Itamar Ben-Gvir is removed from the plenum for disrupting proceedings, before the vote on a bill to dissolve the Knesset session last month
Lawmaker Itamar Ben-Gvir is removed from the plenum for disrupting proceedings, before the vote on a bill to dissolve the Knesset session last monthCredit: Ariel Schalit /AP
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Haaretz

If Religious Zionism was led by Kahanist MK Itamar Ben-Gvir, known for his provocative visits to Sheikh Jarrah and the Temple Mount, the party would climb to 13 projected Knesset seats, adding three whole seats to earlier predictions, an early election poll found.

According to a Channel 13 News poll published Sunday night, the party would gain three seats if headed by Ben-Gvir compared to just ten under current party chairman Bezalel Smotrich's leadership. Of the three new Knesset spots, two would be snagged from the Likud, and one from the newly-merged Kahol Lavan-New Hope list.

The poll also projects Meretz to win five Knesset seats in the upcoming election with former leader Zehava Galon as chairwoman, and only four seats if Deputy Economy Minister Yair Golan is elected to head the party. Currently, Golan is the only candidate who is vying for the party chairmanship.

Galon led Meretz for over six years, between 2012 and 2018, before taking a break from politics. She has yet to officially announce whether she's interested in joining her former party.

The poll further projects that opposition leader Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud would be the largest in the next Knesset, with 34 Knesset seats. Prime Minister Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid would be second-largest party with 22 seats.

The recently formed Kahol Lavan-New Hope alliance is forecast to get 12 seats, with ultra-Orthodox parties Shas and United Torah Judaism expected to get 8 and 7 seats, respectively.

According to the poll, the Joint List – an alliance of three Arab-majority political parties – Yisrael Beiteinu and Labor will garner six seats each. United Arab List is projected to receive 4 seats.

The Yamina party led by Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, former Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's successor, will fail to enter the Knesset.

    A full 703 people were surveyed – 603 Jews and 100 Non-Jews. In addition to their preferred party, participants were asked which of the top three candidates is a better fit for prime minister – Netanyahu, Lapid or Gantz.

    When facing Lapid, 45 percent said Netanyahu is a better fit, while only 32 percent said Lapid is more suitable for the job. When asked to choose between Netanyahu and Gantz, 46 of respondents backed Netanyahu, while only 29 percent supported Gantz for the role of prime minister.

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