Election Poll Shows Likud Flagging if Headed by Netanyahu Rival for Party Leadership

But with Netanyahu remaining at the top of the party, Likud is only one seat behind Gantz’s Kahol Lavan, Channel 12 News survey says

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Gideon Sa'ar at a meeting at the Likud branch in Hod Hasharon, November 25, 2019.
Gideon Sa'ar at a meeting at the Likud branch in Hod Hasharon, November 25, 2019.Credit: Meged Gozani

Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party headed by upstart Gideon Sa’ar would win only 26 of the Knesset’s 120 seats in a general election, Channel 12 News said in a poll published Tuesday.

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In this scenario, Benny Gantz’s centrist Kahol Lavan would capture 35 seats, two more than its current standing in the Knesset. Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked’s far-right party Hayamin Hehadash would win nine seats, up six from its current three.

With Netanyahu at the helm of the party, Likud would win 33 seats and Kahol Lavan 34, according to the poll, while support for most of the other parties would be little changed.

The pollsters also asked about the respondents’ preference for prime minister. When asked to choose between Gantz and Sa’ar, 40 percent chose Gantz and 23 percent Sa’ar. With Gantz versus Netanyahu, 39 percent chose Gantz but 40 percent Netanyahu.

Right-wing voters were also asked whether they agreed with Sa’ar’s claim that Netanyahu will be unable to form a government after his indictment. Forty-one percent agreed and 40 percent disagreed.

Earlier Tuesday, Sa’ar, a former interior minister, said that if he were in Netanyahu’s position, he would have resigned after his two failed attempts to form a government following this year’s two Knesset elections.

Last week, Attorney General Avichai Mendelblit announced that Netanyahu would be indicted for bribery, fraud and breach of trust in the three corruption cases against him. On Monday, Mendelblit said there were no legal grounds to force the resignation or a leave of absence by Netanyahu as prime minister.