Israel Election: Polls Show Gantz Maintaining Edge Over Netanyahu

New polls from Channels 12 and 13 show Moshe Feiglin continuing to rise, Kahlon's Kulanu missing the electoral threshold and the right-wing bloc gaining ground

Benny Gantz, February 28, 2019.
Tomer Appelbaum

New polls released Sunday evening show the right-wing bloc gaining ground, despite the center-left's attempts to revive the submarine affair scandal against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The polls, from Channel 12 and Channel 13, both show Likud holding 28 seats, and Benny Gantz's Kahol Lavan remaining steady at 31 and 32 seats, respectively.  

For the first time, the Channel 12 poll shows Moshe Kahlon's Kulanu party did not garner enough votes to enter Knesset. And for the first time since January, in the same poll, Orli Levi-Abekasis's Gesher party cleared the electoral threshold, gaining the minimum four seats. In the other poll, Gesher does not pass the electoral threshold.

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The Channel 13 poll shows that Moshe Feiglin's Zehut party is continuing on its upward trend, having gained a seat since the last poll, released Wednesday. While Channel 12 shows that it remains at four seats, Channel 13 projects that it'll win six, showing its right-wing libertarianism – its platform touts legal marijuana and annexing the West Bank – is finding an audience.

When asked which of the candidates they want as prime minister, 39 percent of those polled responded Benjamin Netanyahu while 34 percent preferred Gantz. Nineteen percent said neither, and nine percent said they don't know. Regardless of their opinions, 60 percent of respondents think Benjamin Netanyahu will form the next government while 20 percent think it will be Benny Gantz and Yair Lapid in rotation, which is Kahol Lavan's plan.

In the submarine affair, in which Netanyahu signed off on selling advanced German submarines to Egypt (ThyssenKrupp, the shipbuilder, acquired a company in which Netanyahu holds shares) 27 percent of those polled believe Netanyahu was acting in the country's best interests alone. Meanwhile, 42 percent believe that he also seeking personal gain.

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Meanwhile, 50 percent of respondents believe that it is unlikely that Netanyahu did not consult the then-chief of staff and defense minister, both members of the Kahol Lavan slate, about the sale to Egypt, as the two claim. 22 percent said it is likely he didn't consult them, and the rest don't know.

Both polls give the Israel Labor Party 10 seats, forming the third-largest party. Both also show Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked's Hayamin Hehadash losing a seat, now at five.

According to Channel 12's poll, the center-left and right-wing blocs both hold 46 seats, the Haredi parties 13, Arab parties 11, and Gesher has four.