Israel Election Poll: Kahanist Party Rejected From Right-wing Merger Makes It Into Knesset

Left-wing slate loses some power and no bloc has a solid majority in March 2 vote, according to two public opinion polls

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Otzma Yehudit Chairman Itamar Ben-Gvir, January 15, 2020.
Otzma Yehudit Chairman Itamar Ben-Gvir, January 15, 2020. Credit: Emil Salman

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud party is seen lagging slightly behind Benny Gantz's Kahol Lavan in two public opinion polls published Thursday ahead of Israel's March 2 election.

According to Channel 13 News poll, Kahanist party Otzma Yehudit passes the 3.25-percent electoral threshold and gets four seats. The Channel 12 News poll puts support for Otzma Yehudit at 2.1 percent.

In the previous election on September 17, the Kahanist party failed to enter the Knesset.

Hours before the deadline to register final rosters on Thursday, right-wing leader Rafi Peretz dismantled a short-lived alliance with Otzma Yehudit to join a broad the right-wing Yamina slate led by right-wing leader Naftali Bennett .

Gantz's Kahol Lavan leads in both polls with 34 out of 120 seats, while Likud is projected 31-32 seats.

The Joint List, an alliance of four Israeli Arab parties remains the third biggest slate with 13-14 seats, while Left-wing slate Labor-Gesher-Meretz, which announced its merger on Monday, is expected to receive eight to nine seats.

Right-wing union Yamina is projected seven seats according to Channel 13 poll, and 10 according to Channel 12, which leaves the far-right Kahanists out of the Israeli parliament.

In both polls, Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu maintains a similar level of support to what it has now, with eight seats, and could once again be kingmaker and decide the leader of which political bloc would secure the backing of enough lawmakers to become prime minister after the coming election.

Ultra-Orthodox party Shas is predicted 6-8 seats, while the United Torah Judaism is expected to earn seven seats in both polls.

Both main blocs are still predicted less than a solid 61-seat majority, required to form a government.

Asked which candidate is best fit to serve as prime minister, both polls put support for Netanyahu at 40 percent, with Gantz only slightly behind with 36-38 percent.

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