Friday, October 28, 2011

Poll Shows Nationalist / Religious Bloc with 70 Knesset Seats

Gil Ronen

Three polls in 24 hours show Likud has received a serious boost, most likely from the Shalit deal with Hamas.

A poll carried out by the Smith Institute for Globes gives Likud 33, while Labor chalks up 20 and Kadima gets 17. According to the poll, the nationalist / religious bloc, including the haredi parties, has 70 seats, five more than at present.

A Panels poll for the Knesset Channel also gave Likud 33 Knesset seats, with Labor in the number two spot garnering 25. Kadima and Yisrael Beiteinu both received 14 seats and Shas got 7.

The Panels / Knesset Channel poll in September gave Likud 28, Labor 25, Kadima 16, Yisrael Beitenu 15 and Shas 9. Taken side by side, the two Knesset Channel polls show Likud jumped up by 5 seats in the course of a month, at the expense of all of the other top parties except Labor. On Wednesday a Channel 2 / Sarid Institute poll showed Likud gaining 10 seats compared to its current 27 if elections were held today, and Kadima losing 11 seats. According to the poll, Likud would have 37 seats, and Kadima would have only 17, putting it in third place after Labor, which would receive 22 seats.

Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's Yisrael Beiteinu party was projected to receive 15 seats, the same number it currently holds.

Kadima appears to be losing steam as the leading opposition party and Labor appears to be taking its place, going back to the time when LIkud and Labor were the largest parties. While Kadima refused to join the Netanyahu coalition, Labor's attitude may be different. Labor leader Shelly Yechimovich is seen by some as a centrist, while others suspect her of harboring far-left views that she conceals for political purposes.

Yechimovich grew up in a radical communist household, has admitted to knowing some of Karl Marx's writings by heart and to voting for the communist party in the general elections on at least one occasion.

Interestingly, Israel's three Jewish leftist parties will soon be headed by women. Meretz's Zehava Galon is expected to become its chairperson, joining Kadima's Tzipi Livni and Labor's Yechimovich as female party leaders.

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