Party Headed by Ex-military Chief Gantz Would Be Second Largest, Poll Shows

In addition, 58 percent are not happy with Netanyahu's performance as defense minister

File photo: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and then-IDF Chief Benny Gantz in 2011.
Nir Kafri

Fifty-eight percent of Israelis are not pleased with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s performance as defense minister, according to a poll showing that a party led by former army chief Benny Gantz would be the second largest after a new election.     

Also, 60 percent of Israelis are not happy with Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon’s performance, according to the poll released Sunday by the Israel Television News Company.

According to the survey, a party headed by Gantz would take 16 Knesset seats in a general election, up from 15 seats in the news company’s poll last month.

The new poll assessed two scenarios: one with Gantz running as the head of an independent party, and one with him running with Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid.

If Gantz ran independently, Likud would take 28 seats – one seat less than in the November poll.

In this scenario, Yesh Atid would win 13 seats – down from 18 in November – and the Joint List of Arab parties would get 12 seats. Losing one seat each were Zionist Union at 10 seats and Habayit Hayehudi at nine.

According to the poll, United Torah Judaism would win nine seats while Kahlon’s Kulanu would drop to five from eight. Yisrael Beiteinu would win six seats, Meretz would drop to four from six, and Shas and a party headed by Orli Levi-Abekasis would each win five.

If Gantz joined Yesh Atid, Likud would take 29 seats, Gantz and Lapid 26, Joint List 12, Zionist Union 10 and Habayit Hayehudi nine. United Torah Judaism would win seven seats and Kulanu five. Yisrael Beiteinu would win seven seats and Meretz five, with a Levi-Abekasis party and Shas also each receiving five.

A party needs 3.25 percent of the vote – equivalent to about four seats – to make it into the Knesset.  

Earlier this month, the Israel Television News Company reported that Gantz would run independently rather than be the No. 2 candidate in an existing party’s ticket.  His new party reportedly already has a name.

Avigdor Lieberman resigned as defense minister last month over what he considered Israel’s lenient policy against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
In a poll taken before his resignation, 69 percent of respondents expressed dissatisfaction with his performance.