Israeli Public Sours on Bibi After Gaza

Netanyahu Faces Volatile Electorate as Vote Looms in January

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By Nathan Jeffay

Published November 30, 2012, issue of December 07, 2012.
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As the military operation appears to have inoculated Likud and Yisrael Beiteinu against challenges from the left, the right-wing makeup of Likud’s newly elected list seems to have staved off any attempts by hard-line right-wing parties to poach potential supporters.

Jewish Home, a religious party to Likud’s right, headed by Netanyahu’s onetime chief of staff Naftali Bennett, was polling nine or more seats shortly before the Likud primary. In a Dialog poll, published by Haaretz on November 28, the new, more rightist Likud had stolen some of Jewish Home’s thunder, leaving it with eight seats.

The poll, the first since Defense Minister Ehud Barak announced his retirement and former Kadima chairwoman Tzipi Livni announced her return to politics and the formation of a new party, indicated that these developments wouldn’t affect Likud-Beiteinu’s electoral performance.

This is because Livni’s gains are within the so-called center-left bloc. Her new party, The Movement, polled at seven seats, which came at the expense of Kadima, Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid party and Labor. For example, Kadima, the largest Knesset party after the last election, was projected to receive just two seats. Likewise, voters who were previously backing Barak’s Independence Party, which now looks set to fold, appeared to transfer their support within the center-left bloc, providing small gains to each of the center-left parties.

With Labor coming in at 18, Yesh Atid at eight, The Movement at seven and Kadima at two, the center-left bloc looks set to win only 35 seats. Further left, Meretz is projected to win six seats, and the predominantly Arab parties 11. Netanyahu’s Likud-Beiteinu alliance is, according to Dialog, set to win 39 seats, and overall the right-religious bloc is set to win 69.

Contact Nathan Jeffay at jeffay@forward.com


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