An election poll released on Sunday, January 31, indicates that the Islamist United Arab List (Ra’am – formerly part of the Joint List) is not expected to win enough votes (3.25% of all valid ballots cast) to make it into the Knesset if it runs alone as is currently planned. All electoral slates must be finalized by this coming Thursday night, February 4.
The Channel 12 poll showed results similar to other recent surveys, with far-right Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party and opposition chief Yair Lapid’s Yesh Atid strengthening slightly over Gideon Sa’ar’s New Hope and Naftali Bennett’s Yamina. If the elections were held on the day the poll was conducted, the Likud and its longtime ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) allies would have only 46 seats, far short of the 61 needed to form a majority. With right-wing Yamina the bloc would still far short with 59 seats. It is unlikely that any other party would join a coalition led by Netanyahu. Any hypothetical anti-Netanyahu coalition would need to overcome significant ideological differences between the parties to amass 61 seats; for example, reconciling factions like the right-wing New Hope and the Zionist-left Meretz.
The Channel 12 poll predicted that the Likud would win 30 seats in the 120-member Knesset; Yesh Atid 17; New Hope 14; Yamina 13; Joint List 10 (without the renegade Ra’am faction); Shas 8; United Torah Judaism 8; Avigdor Liberman’s Yisrael Beytenu 7; Labor 5; Meretz 4; and Blue & White 4. Ra’am was not predicted to make it into the Knesset alone.
Elections for the Knesset — the fourth in two years — will be held on March 23. They were called last month after the power-sharing government of Likud and Blue & White failed to agree on a budget for 2020 by the December 23 deadline.