As Israel Heads to Fourth Election in Two Years, Poll Predicts Political Deadlock

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Election campaign posters in the southern city of Rahat, on Wednesday.
Election campaign posters in the southern city of Rahat, on Wednesday.Credit: Eliyahu Hershkovitz

Less than two weeks before Israelis vote in their fourth election in two years, a poll released Wednesday shows no clear path to Knesset majority for either major bloc. Four parties are teetering on the verge of the 3.25-percent electoral threshold, and any one of them that eventually end up out of the Israeli parliament after March 23 could tip the balance.

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According to the Channel 12 News poll, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party remains Israel's biggest, with 28 out of 120 Knesset seats. Together with the other parties who vowed to back him from prime minister, the Netanyahu-led bloc would have 47 seats.

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The bloc of parties who vowed to replace Netanyahu would have, according to the poll, 60 seats, with the biggest party being Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid, with 19.

Right-wing party Yamina, led by Naftali Bennett, has made some gains and is now predicted to be the Knesset's third-biggest, with 13 seats, overtaking Gideon Sa'ar's New Hope.

While Sa'ar, who quit Likud ahead of the election campaign to form his new party, said he wouldn't join a Netanyahu-led government, Bennett has stayed mum on his prospects of teaming up with Netanyahu after the election.

Three parties are predicted only four Knesset seats – the smallest number for a parliamentary faction. These are Benny Gantz's Kahol Lavan, left-wing Meretz and far-right Religious Zionism.

The poll shows the United Arab List, which split from the Arab-majority Joint List, dropping just below the 3.25-percent electoral threshold.

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